HOLE UP WITH HYGGE: THE DANISH CONCEPT OF COZINESS
The nights are drawing in on a world which seems to get busier and more hectic every day and the need to sit back, relax, and enjoy the small things in life has never been more prevalent. Political uncertainty always incites the most significant cultural movements just like the Danish concept of coziness, ‘hygge’. Pronounced ‘hoo-guh’, this lifestyle trend of the Danes emphasizes all things cozy and insouciant. Think warm-and-fuzzy, delicious-and-hearty, mulled-and-aromatic. A national manifesto, nay, an obsession expressed in the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures involving candlelight, fires, cashmere, coffee, mulled wine, cake, wellbeing, and the company of friends.
The Danes have established themselves as lovers of calm and in turn, consistently top the polls as the happiest people on earth. The age-old concept is currently experiencing a global renaissance, with the world declaring hygge the next, new, best way to live. In the past year, at least six books about hygge were published in the United States alone, with more to come this year.
Helen Russell, a British journalist, author of “The Year of Living Danishly” defines the term as “taking pleasure in the presence of gentle, soothing things,” like cashmere or brewed coffee. Louisa Thomsen Brits, the author of “The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection”, calls it a “quality of presence and togetherness; an experience of satisfaction rather than a pursuit of happiness, about being, not having.” Tina Seidenfaden Busck, founder of Copenhagen design studio, concurs: “Hygge is intangible – a feeling, an atmosphere. You can feel it when it’s there, but it’s very difficult to stage.”
“Hygge is intangible – a feeling, an atmosphere. You can feel it when it’s there, but it’s very difficult to stage.”
In terms of outfitting your home with ‘hyggelig’ decor, Busck recommends turning to all types of lamps, as lighting is the easiest way of creating a Hyggelig atmosphere in a given space. Thick rugs and heavily upholstered pieces can instantly add a hygge charm to your dwellings. Hygge is not so much about a specific interior style more than it is the feeling you get when you walk into a room.
Hygge is not so much about a specific interior style more than it is the feeling you get when you walk into a room. Warm lighting, natural materials and Danish furnishings are very hygge, even in this contemporary dining and living room by Studio MK27. Photo by Magnus Mardin.
Appreciating the small joys in life at all times, hygge followers have tapped into a source of happiness which the rest of the world can greatly benefit from in an ever-evolving technological society. As soothing as a basket of freshly baked rolls, and borne on a raft of lifestyle books,’ hygge’ is headed for your living rooms now. Discover here as Thehouseofthings breaks down its favourite ways to apply the Nordic lifestyle for you.
To give your space that serene hygge feeling, focus first on bringing in adequate light. Or simply curl up next to sleek lighting artifacts that effuse warmth and comfort, elevated into unique works of art by gifted local artisans.
Enjoy unwinding with perfumed soy candles and aroma diffusers that make flickering delights over any meal or gathering. Because Denmark has brutally long and dark winters, non-natural light is key to incorporating hygge. It’s estimated that Danes go through an average of 13 pounds of candle wax per person in one year.
Food and drink always taste better when enjoyed with others. Adhering to this old adage, Hygge encompasses all five senses, including that of taste. Indulge in comfort food and the company of good friends, with accompaniments like warm artisanal cheeses, baked rolls with dips, or sweet delicacies, literally served on a platter!
As Ezarow Design demonstrates in this dining room, you can never have enough fuzzy blankets in a ‘hyggelig’ dining room. Photo by Yves Garneau
Sip to their health, and yours with crafted pieces of drinkware that make your infusions even more luscious. Warming beverages such as tea, coffee, ‘glogg’ (Scandinavian mulled wine) and hearty liquor will help you achieve the ultimate hygge moment.
Complement your settings with lusciously soft textures that breathe ‘Hyggelig’ - Pieces that are snug, soft, cozy, and radiate comfort. A balance to achieve this is brought about by playing with materials that are a study in textures, think chunky knits, soft throws, and woollen rugs. Combined with a roaring fire or soft candlelight, there’s no setting more hygge.