According to the World Happiness Report, three small countries are among the top ten happiest: Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. Could Scandinavia’s high levels of contentedness be attributed to their fondness for all things cozy? Many Hygge converts seem to think so!
Learn all about Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) and how to incorporate the “art of enjoying the good things in life with the good people around you” into your heart and home.
What is Hygge?
To best understand Hygge, you should get your definition straight from the source. VisitDenmark explains Hygge well, saying, “the warm glow of candlelight is hygge. Cozying up with a loved one for a movie — that’s hygge, too. And there’s nothing more hygge than sitting around with friends and family, discussing the big and small things in life.”
Hygge is an appreciation for simplicity and comfort that extends beyond interior design. Danish people practice Hygge regularly, often using it to describe a pleasant dinner, a simple day at the beach, or an enjoyable interaction with a stranger.
Where does “Hygge” come from?
The word Hygge comes from “hugga,” a sixteenth-century Norse term meaning “to console” or “to comfort.” Interestingly, the English word “hug” has similar origins.
Coziness likely became entrenched in Nordic cultures as a way to not only cope but rather look forward to the region’s incredibly dark and long winters. As more people look to Scandinavian culture for inspiration on living simpler, happier lives, it’s not surprising that “Hygge” has become an “unofficial” term in American English, too!
How can I incorporate “Hygge” into my life?
Remember, though Hygge is often used to describe cozy interiors, you can incorporate it into various areas of your life — both in and outside of the home! Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Making your home more Hygge
1. If you don’t love or need it, don’t keep it.
Though cluttercore is currently all the rage on Instagram, excess and Hygge don’t mix well. As Hygge is all about appreciating the simpler things in life, consider adopting a “less is more” decor approach.
Rather than bringing new items into your home, start by removing items you don’t need — think: junk mail, old magazines, and old craft supplies. If you can’t bring yourself to part with your things, consider hiding your clutter inside of a Scandinavian-inspired chest of drawers.
2. Turn up the coziness.
No matter the season, Hygge always has a place in your home. You can start by creating a boho Scandanavian bedroom, and then get your hygge on by sinking into eye-catching and comfortable chairs at the end of a fall day. During winter months, create warmth and comfort with chunky knit blankets in Scandanavian colors, fluffy pillows, a modern table lamp, and delicate fairy lights. In warmer seasons, incorporate beachy art and break out natural textiles like 100% cotton coverlets, wicker baskets, and macrame plant hangers.
3. Give your space a touch of greenery.
A hygge home brings natural elements indoors. In addition to natural wood decor, incorporate plants — like this fiddle leaf tree — into every room of your home. Add in no-maintenance greenery, like this faux living plant wall, for an extra touch of whimsy and a pop of greenery!
4. Incorporate Scandinavian design principles and furnishings.
From dining chairs to bedroom sets, Nordic-inspired interior design prioritizes clean lines and functionality over maximalist adornment — making it the perfect fit for your hygge home. Consider steering clear from glam or ornate furnishings in favor of Modern Scandinavian furniture, which is stylish, simple, and SO hygge.
5. Add candles.
Nothing says “welcome home,” like walking into a space filled with inviting scents and warm, glimmering candlelight. Use fragrant candles to create a comforting home environment, and opt for scents that “play well” with the season. If traditional candles are a no-go, incorporate flameless candles or fairy lights to create a warm glow. (Bonus hygge points for wood-wick candles!)
Here are some of CORT’s seasonal candle recommendations,
- lemongrass in the spring
- cedarwood and bergamot in the summer
- spiced chai in the fall
- douglas fir for winter
If traditional candles are a no-go, incorporate flameless candles or fairy lights to create a warm glow.
Living a more hygge lifestyle.
1. Embrace the seasons.
Although hygge began as a way to celebrate the Nordic region’s long and dark winters, it can be enjoyed anywhere at any time. Yes, Hygge has a place in your home, even if you’re in the heat of a southern summer, embracing the rainy seasons of the PNW, or taking in the northeast’s vibrant fall foliage!
The key to hygge lies in embracing the current season and its activities, regardless of the temperature outside.
To live a hygge lifestyle during the summer, avoid spending July hiding in the cool comfort of your home’s A/C. Instead, take in the season with an early morning hike, a refreshing midday swim, or even an evening of stargazing!
Embrace hygge this autumn by relishing in the colorful crunchy leaves, the cool breeze, and all things pumpkin-spiced. Slip into a soft, chunky knit sweater and sip on spiced cider around a bonfire.
Spend a hygge holiday season cozied up with loved ones, taking in the comfort of your home with a hot cup of homemade cocoa in hand. Don’t be afraid to bundle up and head outdoors to take advantage of fresh snowfall with either a merry walk or adrenaline-pumping ski trip. After you face the cold, head in for a relaxing night complete with pajama sets, fuzzy socks, and a roaring fire.
2. Spend quality time with loved ones.
You and your loved ones may spend a lot of time together, but is it quality time? If you’re unsure, try being more intentional with the activities you engage in with friends and family.
Carve out time to participate in joyful activities with the people you love — whether that’s walking your dog, catching up with grandma over a cup of coffee, or simply cozying up on the sofa with your partner.
Hygge doesn’t require you to plan the most exciting or novel activity, but rather to simply enjoy the time you spend in each other’s presence.
3. Adopt an abundance mindset.
Making the mental shift from, “what do I lack” to “what do I have” (scarcity to gratitude) can be a challenging but rewarding exercise.
Mindbodygreen offers a few suggestions on techniques to get you started, including:
A hygge lifestyle is easier to adopt and sustain when you enjoy life as it is — rather than stressing out over what it “should be.”
Home Sweet Hygge
Want to embrace hygge in your life? It can be difficult when you’re in the middle of a move. Listed as one of life’s biggest stressors, moving can knock your sense of well-being and contentment off of its axis. That’s where CORT Furniture Rental can help. With a wide inventory of Scandinavian-inspired furniture, CORT offers a flexible and convenient way to furnish your entire space. After you design your furniture rental subscription package, our team does the heavy lifting of moving in and setting up your furniture. That way you can get back to your hygge way of life! Visit us online or at your nearest furniture rental showroom to find out how CORT can help you live more with less!