What the Heck is Hygge?

hygge home decor, interior design

Trends in interior design come and go. With those trends, words that sound made-up (hello, hygge – pronounced ‘hoo-ga’) also tend to pop up. So, what the heck is it?!?

According to Google’s online dictionary: Hygge is, “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).”

Okay, so that was a lot of big words. What I pulled from that was that hygge is:

  1. A characteristic of Danish culture
  2. Coziness, comfort, and enjoyable (convivial)
  3. A feeling of contentment

Based on that definition, hygge is more than just a decor trend. It seems to me that it is a way of life – and a good one at that!

How do you hygge?

Now that we know what hygge is, at least by definition, how can you apply it to your interior design and home decor? You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that you’re probably already incorporating hygge into your style without even knowing it.

It seems like the most important decor element to hyggeify (I made that word up) your home is candles. In fact, according to Meik Wiking (The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living), 85% of Danes will tell you the item they most associate with hygge would be candles. They reportedly burn a whopping 13lbs. of candle wax per year per capita! Y’all, I love filling my hope with the scent of yummy candles, but I don’t think I’ve ever burned that many.

You don’t have to burn scented candles if you don’t like them. It’s not about the smell, it’s about the ambiance. If you think about it, it makes sense though. Turning off harsh overhead lighting and filling your space with the warm glow of candlelight definitely creates a cozy atmosphere.

hygge home decor, interior design

Related to the cozy allure of candlelight, a major interior design element of hygge is the use of fireplaces in your space. Imagine lighting a fire on a cold winter day and curling up next to it with a good book. That’s one of the most content, enjoyable activities and atmospheres that I can think of.

Fireplaces are not just for solo hyggeing (made that word up too!) though. Warmth and togetherness is important to a hygge lifestyle. For Danes, having a cozy and welcoming home means gathering around the fireplace with friends and family to spend time together.

hygge home decor, interior design

Now, imagine you have candles lit around your living room giving off a warm glow, a fire is roaring in the fireplace giving off another layer of light and warmth, and then you cover up with a cozy blanket! What?!? Seriously, how has all of America not embraced this hygge lifestyle yet? I feel more relaxed just writing about it!

This element of hygge home decor can be a chunky knit blanket, weighted blanket, heated throw, or anything else that is soft to wrap around yourself. Even when not in use, having cozy blankets on your sofa, armchair, or blanket ladder help to soften the appearance of your space.

hygge home decor, interior design

I know I focused on uses in the living room in all of my examples so far, but you can use these decor elements all over your home. Danes burn candles in literally every room of their homes. Blankets are a cozy addition to most rooms in your home (probably not the kitchen or bathroom – haha!). And, what is better than a master bedroom, office, or basement entertainment space that also boasts a warm and cozy fireplace? Nothing, I say!

My final hygge interior design tip is to keep your color scheme neutral. I prefer a neutral foundation with small pops of color for my personal home, so this one isn’t too hard for me. But, I’ve had clients who LOVE color – bold, bright color everywhere – which is beautiful too. Unfortunately, that’s not very hygge. Color can be very distracting. Keeping a neutral color palette creates a streamlined feel throughout your space. I’d also recommend lots of warm wood tones. They help your home feel warm and closer to nature.

hygge home decor, interior design

Now you know how to hygge. So, grab a book on a rainy day, some hot cocoa on a snowy day, or build a bonfire on a summer night and get cozy!


hygge home decor, interior design

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