For a country that experiences so little sunshine throughout the year, Denmark consistently ranks as one of the happiest nations in the world. This may be due in part to the country’s practice of hygge, which involves creating a cozy atmosphere that evokes feelings of safety, nostalgia, calmness, and togetherness. There are many different ingredients to the hygge stew, but transforming your home into a hygge paradise is actually relatively simple.
1) Add Natural Elements
The first step to making your home hygge is to add natural elements. This may start with adding plants or a wooden table but extends as far as adding twigs, stones, leaves, nuts, animal skins… anything that comes from nature. The idea is that adding elements of nature to your home will allow you to feel more connected with nature and the outdoors, even within your home. There is just something about the smell of wooden logs burning in a fireplace, the crackling of the logs echoing and warmth radiating around you, that completely captures the cozy sheltered feeling that is hygge.
2) Soft Lighting/Candles
Next step to making your home hygge: soft lighting. According to the Little Book of Hygge, “The closest you will ever come to seeing vampires burned by daylight is by inviting a group of Danes for a hygge dinner and then placing them under a 5,000K fluorescent light tube.” Hygge lighting involves strategically creating soothing pools of soft light throughout your home, as opposed to harsh fluorescent light. It’s a small touch but the lack of strain on the eyes ultimately makes your home feel more warm, soft, and inviting. This can be accomplished by either installing softer 1,800K lights in your home or by filling your home with candles. And with candles, you’re getting two birds with one stone since this also adds a natural element.
3) Create “The Nook”
A “nook” or “hyggekrog” is essentially an area of your home set aside where you can snuggle up with a blanket, book, and cup of tea. This could be a room to yourself or simply a corner chair by a window. It’s more about the ritual of setting aside a space for yourself that is meant to be purely relaxing and cozy. Find a particularly comfortable chair and some natural lighting and bring some elements of hygge into the space. Add a wooden table, perhaps a plant, a soft blanket draped over the chair, and your current read. All you need is your favorite warm beverage and now you have your perfect hygge corner.
4) Add Cozy Elements
To further cultivate that hygge feeling, add some cozy and comfortable elements to your home. That may mean adding a particularly comfortable chair or soft blankets draped over every piece of furniture. You can also add some fluffy cushions to your couch or find a soft sweater to wear. Light a fire in the fireplace, allowing the feeling of warmth to radiate around your home. Because hygge is about evoking all of the senses, you can even do this by smell. Put some baked goods in the oven or light your favorite scented candle or make your favorite tea and allow the smell to waft throughout your home. This will instantly transform your home with feelings of comfort and nostalgia.
5) Add Texture
In addition to evoking your sense of smell, hygge also evokes the sense of touch by encouraging people to add texture to their home. So instead of filling your home with items made of steel, glass, or plastic, fill your home with ceramics, wood, or fur. When choosing blankets or pillows for your home, choose some that are fuzzy, silky, velvety, wool, fleece, etc. Giving your home that sensory tactile effect will further add to that sheltered hygge feeling that makes the Danes the happiest country in Europe.