Have you heard of hygge? The Danish term, hard to define but translating loosely to the concepts of coziness, comfort, and well-being, has taken the world by storm over the last several years.
Touted as a way those in Denmark and Norway make it through their long, cold, dark winters while keeping their happiness levels higher than much of the rest of the world, hygge offers those immersed in it a sense of calm, peace, joy, and presence.
And, lucky for those of us not living in a Scandinavian country, the concept is easy to recreate.
According to Meik Wiking's The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well, 71% of people experience hygge while at home, as opposed to while out and about. What better time to ensure you're experiencing such cozy vibes in your own abode than at the top of September, when the air is cooling down, the days are getting shorter, and hibernation mode is setting in?
If you're hoping to savour the sweetest version of the year's coldest months, take heed of the recommendations Wiking makes throughout his how-to book on infusing hygge into your home:
Bye Bye, Big Light
When it comes to curating a hygge environment, the importance of lighting cannot be stressed enough. To fully embrace cozy culture, you must bid adieu to the "big light." Overhead lighting, fun as some fixtures that project it may be, will almost always harsh a comfy vibe -- in a very literal way. The lighting that is built into most homes is, after all, harsh. At least relative to shaded lamps, anyway.
Instead of entering the living room and flicking on the light, consider taking a couple of moments to pull the switch on a few lamps, ideally placed at different heights around the space. The warmth that shaded lamps emanate are much more conducive to hygge feelings than the overhead option.
True cozy-devotees may even opt to completely swap out their overhead lighting for a softer, more moody option that's reminiscent of a lamp, as shown in the photo above.
Gather 'Round The Fire(place)
If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, now is the time to use it. First, the fireplace is yet another way to bring warm light into a space, which can work in conjunction with lamps to create the hygge vibes you seek. Second and, perhaps more importantly, a fireplace can serve as a place to gather.
The concept of hygge highlights the importance of togetherness and feeling connected to friends. After months of separation from loved ones, why not reconnect in a way that feels removed from the digital realm? Instead of snacking with chums over another Seinfeld rerun, it'd be ultimate-hygge behaviour to gather around the fireplace with warm drinks and cozy blankets, and fully engage in present, conversation with one another.
Many in the city may not have a fireplace to embrace this season and if that's you, don't fret. A few candles, placed in holders of various heights and set in the middle of a table, can produce similarly warming vibes.
"Things Made Out Of Wood" Are Good
Word-for-word, "things made out of wood" rests on Wiking's list of items that can make a home feel more hyggelig. The phrase is fairly ambiguous and so, we say, all the easier to embrace. Candle-holders, children's toys, knick knacks from your parents' house, or full-on pieces of furniture... when it comes to infusing more wood products into your homestead, anything goes.
Also emphasized in this section of the how-to manual is the importance of all things nature. Alongside wood, items that can help bring the natural world inside include seasonal blooms (think, even, twigs in a vase, or some red leaves and acorns as a centrepiece), or animal skins (fake is fine!) serving as rugs or chair-covers.
Being Well-Read is Welcome
Books aren't just for bookshelves. Seeing a stack of novels, works of non-fiction, or even niche textbooks serving as pieces of home decor evokes visions of cozy nights reading in bed, in front of the fire, or on the living room floor with the kids, their eager eyes widening as the story gets more enticing.
To easily and affordably up the ante on a room's Hygge-factor, place books in an open space such as side-by-side along a shelf, resting on a nightstand, or even standing tall beside the couch, serving as a makeshift side-table.
Food Sets The Hygge Mood
Good news, folks: Hygge gets a seat at the table. From what you're cooking to the dishes you're serving a meal in, the chillier seasons go hand-in-hand with a hyggelig kitchen. Think comforting, grounding, denser meals like casseroles, shepherd's pie, or pasta, and afternoon snacks that nod to the sweet tooth... crumble, pie, or crumble pie, perhaps?
Wiking emphasizes that vintage items have a sense of hygge too, so don't hesitate to bring out the old gravy boat or mismatched spoons for a meal with friends. Items from the past hold their own stories and memories and, in turn, bring with their use an air of comfort.
Feel It Out
"A hyggelig interior is not just about how things look, it as just as much about how things feel," Wiking says. And, even without the professional input, you probably know this to be true. Layers of fabric -- whether you're wearing them, sleeping under them, or couch-lounging on top of them, are the epitome of cozy comfort. They also totally capture the essence of fall.
This design tip might be one of the easiest to implement, because it simply welcomes you to empty your linen closet and dump its contents onto the couch. Okay... don't dump them, but drape and layer them in an aesthetically haphazard way. Once that's done, we have just one more set of instructions: light the fireplace, warm up some leftovers of that aforementioned crumble pie, grab one of the books waiting on the shelf, and settle into those blankets for a proper hygge evening.