“Home is where the heart is,” is a saying valued by most when they think of their ideal dwelling for their family, friends, and guests, but because of the hustle and bustle of the quick-paced lifestyle popular in the United States, sometimes our living spaces become places for eating and sleeping, while socializing with others happens when you’re out and about. It’s easy to come home and relax after a long day at work, but in recent years the American home has become a place of temporary refuge instead of a place to gather with the ones you hold dear.
The small Scandinavian country of Denmark is frequently named the happiest place in the world, but what’s their secret to staying so content? Some might say the answer lies in the Norwegian word “hygge” [HUE-gah]: the feeling or mood that comes with enjoying life’s simple pleasures, loosely translated as “coziness” and also described as the joy that comes from spending time with the ones you love in a warm atmosphere. The Danes have welcomed the word “hygge” into their culture due to long winter months with up to 17 hours of darkness per day and cold temperatures that encourage people to stay indoors.
The idea of hygge is to relax and to feel as comfortable as possible while letting your worries slip away. Hygge is an attitude, a feeling, an occasion, or a sense of belonging that can’t specifically be translated to English, but according to Danish translator ToveMaren Stakkestad, “Hygge was never meant to be translated—it was meant to be felt.”
So how can incorporate hygge into our homes? Many Scandinavian design trends are currently being adopted into American culture and hygge is being embraced as inspiration for not only interior decorating, but also a new lifestyle choice. The Front Door loves hygge, so here are some tips on how to live cozy like a Dane!
Hygge in the Dining Room
Create a place to gather.
In Denmark, mealtime might go on for hours! Part of experiencing hygge includes dining with close family and friends and carrying on conversation without worrying about the time. Celebrate the good times and share a home-cooked meal, drink, and forget about other places to be. The best company is already at your table.
To create a welcoming dining space, add a long table with room for all your guests like the simple wooden Montego Dining Table and include Scandinavian-inspired wooden folding chairs like the Wegner Accent Chairs to allow your visitors to sit comfortably.
Keep your room toasty.
If the weather outside is frightful, warm up your space with a fireplace! Electric fireplaces are naturally cozy and give your home a hearth, making them perfect for long winter months. In our hygge dining room, the Jakalyn Fireplace keeps the room feeling warm and glass Seeded Hurricanes with candles inside also provide additional flickering glow for even more toasty ambiance.
Use a soft, neutral palette.
When designing a room with hygge in mind, a warm, neutral palette is best so as not to exhaust the eyes with overly bright colors. Lighter hues of gray, beige, terra cotta, tan, orange, and copper look sweet and snuggly by the fireside and introduce a comfortable and warm aesthetic. Soft pastels in pale yellow, pink, or baby blue can also add a hint of color that’s subtle and not overbearing.
Scandinavian designers love a clean, clutter-free space, so make sure you stay organized. Part of hygge culture is to feel stress-free, so maintain those messes with the proper storage solutions.
In the dining room, a movable cart with drawer and basket storage like the Tuscan Retreat 4 Drawer and 2 Basket Table will allow you to have the essentials close by while other baskets like the Hatteras Low Storage Basket are perfect for holding items you might need such as blankets and reading materials.
Live in the natural world.
If the cold is keeping you inside, stay one with nature and allow reminders of outdoors to make their way into your space. Hygge is firmly rooted to nature, so animal motifs as well as wooden furniture and accessories are popular in Danish households. The Deer in the Mist Canvas features a magical nature scene while the Teak Root Bowl provides an organic centerpiece on the dining table. To incorporate Danish fishing culture, the Weathered Fish is also a nice accent for the mantel.
Hygge in the Living Room
Nothing says hygge like a warm and snuggly atmosphere! Texture is an important component of interior design in Denmark since the purpose of staying indoors is to keep the temperature toastier than the freezing air outside. It’s hard to feel hygge if you’re cold or are uncomfortable, so make sure you have lots of cozy material at hand such as chunky knit cushions, woolen rugs, velvet curtains, and faux fur throws. Comfy couches like the Ventura Sofa are ideal as soft seating for your guests and chairs like the Denmark Sling Chair that offer lumbar support ensure that you can lay back and relax.
And don’t forget about pillows and throws! Fluffy blankets and accent pillows are key to keeping your room warm. In our hygge living room, the Rattan Braided Trim Trunk is perfect for storing the Faux Fur Throw and Pillow, so that your guests have easy access to extra softness. Even your rug can look cuddly! The Emmie Kay Dove Persimmon Rug features a Scandinavian sweater motif that’s sweet and snuggly and also adds a pop of color with the Kantha Stitch Pillow to complement the gray and beige.
Create ambient lighting.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a cozy space. Candles are always dimly aglow in Danish homes when the sun sets in the afternoon, and they are certainly hyggeligt! Candles on the windowsill or on a shelf or table create the perfect ambiance in cozy scents like vanilla, spices or cocoa, so add candleholders like the Bastien Candleholders around your living space to keep them prominently on display.
Simple lamps are also great for ambient lighting. Exposed lightbulb lamps like the Bell Jar Table Lamp boast minimalistic Scandinavian design and ceramic lamps like the Charlotte Cream Jar Lamp are classic, cozy accents. Make sure you choose lamps for their purpose and not only their design. You want to choose low-wattage fixtures that stray away from being harsh and overly bright.
Indulge in the simple things.
Less is a whole lot more when it comes to Scandinavian design, and the culture of hygge is all about enjoying the little things in life. To live hyggeligt, indulge in the things that naturally bring you happiness and work to incorporate them into your home. You don’t need to have much in your room in order to achieve hygge, so skip the embellishment and distracting accessories and stick to the basics.
Simple wooden furniture such as the Chevron Cabinet and Pacific Heights II Coffee Table are streamlined and multi-functional for all your activities spent at home, while the Branch Forest Nesting Tables are small, easily movable surface spaces that enable you to create various atmospheres.
Make your space your own.
Part of living hyggeligt also includes making memories with the ones you love! Your home should feel lived in and include reminders of the times when you have felt joy and contentment. Bookshelves like the Del Norte Bookcase are great for keeping knick-knacks, books, and other personal items on display for all your guests to enjoy. Picture frames like the Vintage Wash Frame and simplistic home accents like the Fog Vases are also great for filling shelf space and helping blend the room together.
Spend time lingering.
Last but not least, live hyggeligt by LINGERING. Stick around to enjoy the company of friends and family, or curl up and read a book by the fireplace. The hygge culture wants us to slow down, unwind, and live in the moment. Your home is where the heart is, so make sure you spend some time enjoying it.