“I crave small, cosy places and amber-lit spaces. I swoon over the soul-fulfilling ambience of food and drinks, laughter and joy – shared with mindfully-present people I love. But I had no idea this deep-rooted affinity for authentic conversation – and cosiness of the soul – had a name. Hygge”
Take a leaf out of stylish Denmark’s book this chilly season, and embrace the glorious concept of hygge.
Pronounced ‘herguh’, the word doesn’t translate directly into English, but its meaning is concerned with all things calm and cosy. Happy living. Soothing things. Candlelight. Snuggling under sheepskin rugs in front of crackling log fires. Cashmere, plaid and buttery soft leather.
It can’t be a coincidence that the word resembles ‘hug’, but the Danes use this magic little word as an adjective, a verb, and a noun. Got it?
Your new fairisle poncho? That’s so hygge.
Keen to restyle your living room? Let’s hygge it.
A friend’s new cockapoo puppy? He is such a hygge.
One blissed-out Copenhagen resident explains:
“You hear hygge being talked about all the time… We talk about hygge things coming up that we’re looking forward to; we point out when something hygge is happening right now; then we like to talk about what a great ‘hyggelit’ (hygge-like) time we’ve had afterwards.”
Needless to say, we’re crazy for hygge living here. Need a little hygge in your life? Here’s how to get some.
Gorgeous Mood Lighting
Anyone else obsessed with good light? Not only is it flattering, but it sets the tone within a living space and makes a genuine difference to one’s mood. There’s nothing to rattle the nerves like panels of strip lighting, right? “Danes take hygge lighting and design very seriously,” explains Vivien Life, the British Ambassador in Denmark. Think trendy low-slung dining-room table lamps, jam jar lanterns, lots of candlelight, and tasteful room lamps.
“The rest of the world seems to be slowly waking up to what Danes have been wise to for generations – that having a relaxed time with friends and family, often with coffee, cake or beer, can be good for the soul.”
Hygge is about taking big pleasure in the little things, and embracing – hugging – life. Taking proper time to hang out with family and friends. Or revelling in the peace and quiet of some alone time with a book, the papers, or a good view. Doing little and experiencing a lot. “The most important contributor to our psychological wellbeing is the strength of our relationships,” says the director of the Action for Happiness organisation, “and hygge definitely tends to encourage more close and intimate time with loved ones.” So bake a cake and invite a neighbour round for a cup of tea and a nice chat. Luxuriate in that hot, bubble-filled tub. Jump on the sofa with your favorite person and indulge in a boxset marathon under a cozy blanket. Light a fire. Netflix. Chill. Life gets out of hand sometimes, so get hygge.
Our hygge wishlist? Dreamy-soft pajamas, a stack of blankets in the living room, a cashmere hot water bottle cover, a warming casserole on the stove, and good book to escape into. What does hygge mean to you?