This time of year, we love creating warm, inviting spaces in our homes as a relaxing retreat from the colder temperatures and harsh weather conditions. You may have heard the term “hygge” to describe these cozy interiors, but you also may have wondered what it is exactly, how to achieve it — or more importantly, how to even pronounce it.
We’re answering all those questions today, to help you hygge-ify your home this winter!
WHAT IS HYGGE?
Pronounced “hue-gah,” hygge is a Danish concept defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”
The concept has been an integral part of Danish culture for decades and has just recently become in vogue for other countries, including the United States. It’s less of a “design trend,” and more of an all-inclusive way of life that focuses on slowing down, unplugging, experiencing nature and appreciating the simple joys of life.
The lifestyle that hygge evokes has played an integral role in Danish culture since the early 1800s, when it first appeared in written language. It is derived from a Norwegian word for “well-being.”
Denmark has consistently topped The World Happiness Report, ranking high in all six areas of life satisfaction, including income, healthy life expectancy, social support, freedom, trust and generosity. So it’s worth taking a few notes from the Danes!
There are several ways you can incorporate this cozy idea into your home, with a few simple additions and minor changes. This will create an environment that promotes coziness, relaxation, serenity and an overall sense of well-being for you, your family and your guests.
WAYS TO ADD HYGGE TO YOUR HOME
Keep it Simple
Hygge is centered on simplicity — and removing the clutter so your mind feels at ease. Spend some time decluttering your home, starting with the most-used spaces so you can see results quicker and enjoy your most lived-in spaces to the fullest. Then, make your way to those pesky drawers, cabinets and closets to remove anything that you are no longer using or doesn’t provide value anymore. Once you clear away the excess, you’ll have room for the things that matter most to you — and some of the cozy, soft, “hygge” items we’re talking about!
Add Soft Textures
Add plenty of cozy throw blankets, pillows, rugs and other plush textures to your living spaces and bedrooms — to keep you warm during the winter but also promote relaxation, rest and comfort. If you’re looking for some new additions to your home, Bryar Wolf in Bend has a variety of decorative blankets, throws and pillows for an extra cozy and luxurious touch.
Light a Wood-Burning Fire
There’s nothing quite like the warm, comforting glow — and the steady crackling — of a wood-burning fire. If you have a fireplace, utilize it to the fullest this winter! This will give your home a quintessential cabin-esque feel — and will even heat up your living spaces on those cold, gloomy days. Now, enjoy your fireplace by curling up in a chair nearby with a cup of hot tea and a book!
If you don’t have a fireplace, candles are the next best thing! For a local hygge-approved candle company, we can’t think of anything better than Wildwood Candle Co., which is dedicated to the Wildwood Trail and surrounding trails in Portland’s Forest Park. Not only do Wildwood Candles have wood wicks to create that iconic crackling sound while burning, but they are thoughtfully named after trails connected to Wildwood Trail. Plus, the company donates 5% of profits to the Forest Park Conservancy to help promote the park’s ecological health. Getting outside is a quintessential element of hygge, so you’ll bring the outside in with these earthy, woodsy candles — and maybe be inspired to go for a hike!
Create a Cozy Nook
Whether it’s an actual built-in nook or a more open space with a cozy armchair and a table (for your candle and cup of tea, of course!), create your very own “hyggekrog” — or cozy nook — if you can. This is the perfect place to read, journal, listen to music, sip on a hot drink, or meditate. Nooks are made all the better with a window looking outside, so you can take in views of nature while you’re staying nice and warm inside.
Incorporate Natural Materials
Hygge homes often include a variety of textures and materials found in nature, including leather, wood, jute, fur, rattan and bamboo. Plus, these materials create a natural, neutral color scheme that is easy on the eye. Here in the Pacific Northwest, it is easy to “bring the outdoors in” by incorporating some elements from our geography — or simply adding large floor-to-ceiling windows that frame our wooded scenery.
Display What Makes You Happy
Decluttering is just one step of the hygge-ification process. You’ll want to take it a step further by reintroducing those sentimental items and other special pieces that make you happy. Consider it a curated display of your most-prized possessions, like a quilt your grandfather or a piece of furniture your dad made. And if you don’t have any family heirlooms, head to a vintage or antique shop to find something truly one-of-a-kind. Some of the best antique stores in Portland include Lounge Lizard, Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, and Monticello Antique Marketplace.
Keep the Light Warm
Eliminate harsh, ultra-bright light as much as possible throughout your home. You can do this by swapping out switches for dimmers, replacing bulbs with mild wattage alternatives, or adding floor lamps and table lamps to complement (and ultimately, replace) overhead lights. Warm, unobtrusive lighting helps create a cozy environment; not to mention, it makes it easier to unwind at the end of the day.
How Do You Hygge?
Let us know how you like to hygge-ify your home! The options are endless.