Hygge (pronounced somewhere between hoo-gah and hue-gah) – a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture). When it comes to living comfortably in new, sometimes modernist interiors of a new development—the Danish have found the secret: in softening the sharp edges with rich textiles, warm details and casual meals with friends. Studies have even shown how these ways of living can decrease everyday stress and increase focus. Want to capture this homey, yet high-design vibe in your own new residence? We’ve got seven easy-to-implement hygge design tips guaranteed to make your space feel instantly more cozy and relaxed.
1. Mood lighting is a must.
Trade the harshness of standard overhead LEDs for warm, welcoming accent lighting throughout the space. Think flickering fireplaces, incandescent lamplight, strategically-placed candles—anything that casts a cozy glow will instantly evoke the feeling of being at home.
2. Make some personal space.
The Danes believe in the power of hyggekrog, a space set aside in the home to create a cozy reading nook. Books arranged on shelves, oversized seating, super-soft pillows and blankets and large cups of pour over coffee are all key elements in this design feature… and something not too difficult to reproduce.
3. Take the edge off.
Speaking of super-soft, Scandinavians won’t settle into a space without plenty of textiles on hand. From gauzy, floor-length curtains to embroidered blankets, a truly hygge space is filled with a balance of hard, industrial surfaces and soft, handmade edges. So pile on the pillows. Really, go for it.
4. Let it grow.
Air-cleansing, leafy green plants are a pillar of Danish design—adding a pop of color and life to any corner of the home. Plants in general promote a sense of well-being and harmony, and they find a happy home in the bright, light-filled spaces Scandinavians are known for.
5. Simplify the space.
Ditch any clutter, because this design movement is all about clean lines and minimalism. Simple, well-made, useful objects often find a home in hygge spaces, but stacks and piles have no place here. Make sure accessories are impactful, but not overdone. (Hello, KonMari on Netflix).
6. Create an at-home escape.
This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to the excellence of Danish at-home spa rituals. Most homes have a dry sauna and/or steam shower, providing a much-needed break from brutal Scandinavian winters. Soft textiles, essential oils, adjustable heat and warm light can make any bathroom a luxurious corner to retreat to for some “me” time.
7. Keep it comfortable.
Use smart home tech for ambient light settings, low-fi sound, optimal air and temperature. Under hygge philosophy, relaxation and comfort are king. So why not let the tech do the hard work?