Hygge, pronounced “hoo-gah” is a Danish word that has no literal translation in the English language but according to the Oxford Dictionary can be defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being” — and what better time to explore the idea of hygge than when cozied up under a blanket waiting for this ‘bomb cyclone’ to pass?
The term originates from a Norwegian word meaning wellbeing and has been adapted as a cultural idea and way of life. Hygge as a way of life is what helps the Danes to focus on the simple pleasures of coziness and togetherness, especially through the cold and dark winter months. Denmark’s long winters often consist of days with up to seventeen hours of darkness, but this concept of warmth, happiness, and focusing on the sheer joy of sharing a cozy atmosphere and environment with one another is what makes Denmark, along with other Scandinavian countries, amongst the happiest countries on earth!
The idea of hygge is to be as relaxed and feel as comfortable as possible; whether that feeling is due to the comfort of your physical environment, or if it’s the comfort of enjoying a dinner with family or curling up with a good book.
Hygge creates a positive energy within the home despite whatever might be happening outside the window. Incorporating hygge into the home is creating a warm and friendly atmosphere that is comfortable and that people do not want to quickly leave, but rather soak in and enjoy and share with each other. Here are a few of our favorite ways to adopt a hygge lifestyle into your home and increase your spirits while facing the raw cold of winter:
Add candles. Hygge emphasizes dim, softer lighting to promote a cozy and relaxing environment, so turn off those overhead lights and set the ambiance instead with your favorite candles.
Light a fire. I can’t think of a more perfect hygge setting than sipping on tea or cocoa while snuggled up on a comfy couch or chair under an oversized blanket in front of a fireplace.
Load up on the pillows. Surrounding yourself with throw pillows helps to create a comfortable environment that otherwise may come across as cold or stiff.
Add textures. Textured pillows, throw blankets, and rugs are a great way to promote a cozy atmosphere. Sweater-knits and faux furs are materials people want to interact with and wrap around themselves; an invitation to get comfortable and cozy.
Color palette. We recently attended Sherwin William’s ColorMix Forecast 2018 where hygge was a major influence for the coming year’s color predictions. Falling under the category of Sincerity, hygge also focuses on the idea of decluttering and that less is more; also that flaws are treasured and to embrace the old and imperfect. These ideals are expressed in hushed tones of sand colors, complex grays and neutrals, and botanicals.
As a mindset and way of life that is practiced to make people happier, in particular through the winter months, hygge encourages to spread warmth wherever the term touches–especially those being buried in snow and blasted with wind as we are today 🙂
So go light a candle, grab your favorite cozy throw and hunker down–while you may not appreciate this storm, try to appreciate and focus on the simpler things!