Not sure if you have come across the word 'hygge' yet. Funnily enough, it has been a bit of a buzzword in the last few years, even though hygge itself is very much the opposite. Hygge is a Danish word and describes a certain mood of being at peace with the world, feeling at home, and feeling safe. Something that we all so desperately need and crave in these times.
Several books have been written about the concept of hygge and how to achieve it. You can find a link to our favourite one in our TOP 9 Lockdown Reads Home & Interior blog post.
Today, we want to give you an understanding and few tips on how to bring hygge to your home. How to move away from feeling trapped in our houses and minds to experiencing comfort and certainty from within.
Feeling calm and at peace is crucial to our physical and mental wellbeing, so it is essential to let go and relax at least once each day. Light the candles, grow some veggies or flowers, sit back with a comforting drink and a home-cooked goodie. Lose yourself in a good book or listen to your favourite music that reminds you of happy moments. Go for a walk as the sun rises, open your windows to let in the fresh air. Break of a few branches of fragrant gum leaves to invite in nature. There are many options to bring hygge to your home and here are our tips:
One of the most essential things when creating and living hygge in your home is to create a comforting atmosphere. This includes
- soothing colour pallets (both bright or moody),
- dimmed light (use candles for their flickering light and smell, or a few lamps with dimmed warm white light), and
- soft and natural textures (e.g. wooden furniture, knitted blankets, throw cushions, and soft rugs).
While hygge is predominately an indoor thing, it demands the inclusion of nature!
- Add a vase with rustic greenery or berries (think gum leaf branches from a park),
- include items made from wood or rattan,
- layer multiple cushions and blankets with different textures on the couch, and
- light candles (and, if you have and it's not summer, the fireplace).
What you want is a feeling of cosiness, protection, comfort, and calm. A moment that fits a hug much better than a reality TV show, and a glass of hot chocolate more than an icy cold beer.
Rust Ottomans, Rugs & Cushions
A big part of the hygge feel (after the candles!) is food. Not any food or drinks, for that matter, but those that are comforting, homemade and sugary! Chocolate, cakes and pastry are a hygge staple. Is there anything better than the smell and taste of freshly baked cinnamon scrolls (check out this recipe) or a good, old marble cake (this recipe is GF and can be made vegan)? Throw in a delicious hot chocolate made from scratch (please don't use a store-bought powder; once you make this recipe, you'll know why), your favourite tea, or if you need something more substantial, try a Danish Glogg (mulled wine).
But, of course, it's not all about sugar! It's about comfort and slowing down, and this can also be achieved with some comforting classics and homemade bread and preserves. Think sourdough bread (yes, it seems daunting but once you get the hang of it is soooo satisfying, quick and easy), stews, saucy pies or just spaghetti and meatballs. Ideally, you'd make it all yourself from scratch because it adds that additional bit of love, presence and time slowing aspect to it, which you and your family will taste and treasure.
Serve it all on wooden boards or ceramic plates with a handmade look & feel to them. Dim the light, set the table, pour the water in a jug and the red wine in a decanter and you've got it!
Brown Shell Cushion
3. SLOW IT RIGHT DOWN
Now, to feel more hygge yourself, make sure you wear something comfy. Not daggy and practical, but something that makes you feel relaxed and cosy. In Winter add comfy socks, a large scarf wrapped and chunky knitted jumpers.
Once you are dressed for the mood, it is time to dim the lights and slow down. Put on music that makes your heart feel all warm and fuzzy, grab a novel (not a business of self-help book, this is the time to let go and not progress) or watch your most favourite movie for the tenth time. You could also look through an old photo album with the children, reminiscing old times. Or grab a diary and begin to journal. Whatever it is, make sure you are not trying to tick boxes but to enjoy the here and now.
4. PRESENCE, TOGETHERNESS & SHELTER
The last and possibly most important aspect of hygge (besides candles!) is being present and feeling safe. It is about not wanting or needing to be anywhere else. It is about sensing that you are protected and enjoying the togetherness with the ones you love (and that should include yourself!). If you think back to 2020 and our first lockdown, remember that feeling of coming together? Of slowing down? Of cooking and eating beautiful meals together as a family? Do you remember those walks we did together with the kids, teaching them about nature and telling them that we would be safe? That's hygge! Not the anxiety, loss and troubles that these last 18 months also have brought.
Other countries (predominately where winter is cold, long and dark) have invented words for feelings similar to hygge. The Netherlands, for example, our founder Annemarie's home country, call it GEZELLIGHEID. Gezellingheid expresses an atmosphere that includes history and vintage pieces, being together with others while losing track of time when engaging in meaningful conversations. It still involves candles and delicious sugary food, but it has a slightly more social component.
Canadians' word for the feeling of hygge is HOMINESS. Here it is about shutting out the outside world. It incorporates the tenderness of feeling part of a community, a desire for heartfelt authenticity and warmth.
Our marketing manager, Nanna, is from Germany. Germans call it GEMÜTLICHKEIT, which again has similarities to hygge but focuses more on a certain feeling within a social setting. Gemütlichkeit is being together with others, immersed in the moment while time seems to fade. It's those days and nights you never want to end, and that will become a memory forever treasured.
Mustard Checker Rug
Mustard Checker Rug from $599
5. HYGGE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
As you can see, hygge is centered around cosy, wintery evenings at home, something that might never make sense in parts of Australia. However, as it is more about a feeling than a setting, here are some ideas how to experience hygge during those warmer months and longer days:
- go hiking with the family or spend sunset at the beach. Pack a homemade picnic (without plastic wrappings) and a large picnic blanket to celebrate making it to the top. Why not also pack some old-fashioned lemonade or sparkling in mini glass bottles? And don't forget those homemade choc chip cookies.
- make a bonfire in the garden (outside of fire season of course) and cook sausages, stick bread and marshmallows over it. Just imagine sitting all around the crackling fire while singing 'Kumbaya'.
- go camping or glamping.
- Put your phone down more often and play board games with the children.
- Plan a movie night outdoors with lots of bean bags, blankets and throw your favourite movie with a short-throw projector (these things have become quite affordable in the meantime) onto a large bedsheet.
- grow your own veggies at home or join a community garden. It is so satisfying when you see those little shoots coming out of the ground and even better when you get to pick and cook the food you've grown.
- do a bike tour with the whole family. Again, make sure you pack a yummy picnic and some sunscreen. The combination of exercise, being out in nature, getting some vitamin D and spending time together will be something the kids will treasure and pass on.