Hygge focuses on the warmth of familiarity, which even the most beautiful landscape can’t compete with compared to home. You could be in the same small village you grew up in your whole life, in a small apartment in a big new city, a dorm room, a cabin in the woods, a townhouse in the suburbs – it doesn’t matter. Your home is your space, the space you spend time with loved ones, and the place you can make into your tranquil solitary getaway. Hygge isn’t about living in the perfect place or the most beautiful landscape, it’s about valuing your space by taking care of it, by arranging what you have to make it a comforting place to melt into.
Life is far away placed is often romanticized in photos, films and all over the internet
Many people live in all kinds of places that seem strange to an outsider. The freezing tundra of the arctic, sleepy small towns, and many more. Why doesn’t everyone move to a big city or the Oceanside? Well, aside from the many socio-economic and practical reasons, it’s partly because it’s home. There’s nothing quite like walking down a familiar street in your home town, grabbing lunch in an old favorite spot, spending the afternoon shopping for flowers with your mom, cooking with your dad, or any other activity you did with family or friends growing up.
Colors, themes, and artwork
Make it your own, if you like colors, use lots of colors! If you prefer earth tones, black and white style, or only like a pop of color here and there, then go ahead and theme your room(s) that way. Make your home warm and cozy in a way that you like. The one thing to remember is to decorate based on what will give you that warm feeling of bliss, and not what will make you seem edgy or cool to other people. When you think of people entering your home, focus on how space will make them feel welcome or happy, and not how they’ll feel about you.
One way to incorporate it into your space at home is through artwork, or themes. Some people find a connection to nature peaceful, so if you have a few rooms in your home, you could theme one as the garden room, ocean room, and/or sunroom. For example, instead of your home office, you could have a garden room; paint it a pastel green, and keep a small plant in it. You can also keep flower clippings in a vase on your desk. The candles in that room can be scented with rain or floral, and you could incorporate a photo or painting of a flower, a garden, or a forest. Instead of a cold, metal desk, you could have a desk made of bamboo. It doesn’t have to be too drastic, and you could even just start by painting, decluttering, and getting a potted plant. The key is to focus on how space makes you feel; if it makes you feel happy and cozy, it’s hygge. If you tried to make it feel edgy or modern or something that was more to impress the people around you, it probably won’t feel very hygge.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but before you get your cozy blankets and candles and repaint your living space, it’s time to donate, sell, and throw away some of your stuff. Maybe just a little, maybe a lot. It all depends on your situation. There are whole books out there dedicated to decluttering the stuff that can provide you with way more detail, but essentially, to cultivate a space that makes you feel free, calm, and happy, you’ll probably need to get rid of some of your stuff.
A lot of us hold on to old things; old things we may refurbish one day, old clothes we may fit into one day, things our future children may want. Take inventory of things you have that you haven’t used in a while. Is it possible someone out there may make better use of it than you can? Is it time to accept you’ll never be the same size you were in high school and let go of those jeans? Or, promise yourself that you’ll buy new jeans if you’re ever a size 2 again? Things are just tools, utility items. If a piece of clothing doesn’t fit anymore, you don’t need it. If it’s been three years and you still haven’t repainted that wardrobe that sits empty in your living room, and you aren’t taking steps to reincorporate your furniture refurbishing hobby into your life (or the idea of doing the work puts you off and has led to this procrastination), sell it.
I’m not saying you should get rid of everything you need and replace it with better things. Nothing will weigh your psyche down more than the debt that would burden you with, and that won’t make you feel warm or cozy at all. Additionally, if you are trying to reclaim some comfort through hygge, throwing out sentimental items could just make you feel worse. Don’t be hard on yourself, just note that one of the easiest ways to liven up your space is to get rid of things you don’t need, and find a new appreciation for your favorite things.
Decorate with cozy in mind
When we decorate, we have lots of different things we might focus on. We might look for a certain vibe; like chic or edgy or modern. If you’re looking to create a hygge oasis in your space, then our first suggestion is to forget all of those things. Stop thinking about what people will think when they walk into your house and start thinking about how they’ll feel. If you want your home to feel cozy, warm, inviting, and peaceful, focus on colors, textures, and images that make you feel those things. While high fashion décor may seem envied by all, making people jealous of your house ultimately won’t make them feel like coming back, it won’t make them like you more and it certainly won’t help you build an authentic relationship (and ultimately authentic experiences) with them. Focusing on making your space feel comfortable and welcoming, on the other hand, will help you build those meaningful ties that make our hygge moments with friends and family so enjoyable.
Make your Scandinavian spa:
Have you ever been to a Scandinavian spa? You don’t have to go all the way to Europe to find one; the style is replicated all over the world, especially in countries with colder climates. They feature hot and cold pools that you can access outdoors any time of the year, and many also incorporate exfoliating treatments, salt baths, and aromatherapy into their repertoire. Scandinavian spas are a part of the hygge tradition; their allure comes from the coziness of the spa contrasted with the cold of winter. The aesthetic is a Scandinavian spa tends to be simple, yet elegant and embraces natural elements with decorative stones, gentle water fountains, candles, and wood.
A great way to incorporate hygge into your space is by making your spa-like oasis. Start by tidying up and putting away all your toiletries so you can fill your space with some hygge essentials. Wood is big in the spa aesthetic, so you can look for decorative wood crates or bamboo storage baskets to keep your toiletries tucked away while adding a stylish Nordic twist.
Next, invest in some fluffy towels. For Towels, white is a great choice because it reinforces that clean feeling. A cream color can work too if you prefer a warmer touch. Some people like a bit of mix and matching, so choosing a nice red with black and white towels could look good too, depending on what makes you happy. The most important thing about your towels, ultimately, is symmetry. Roll them into cylinders and stack them in neat pyramids or squares on your shelf, with the short, flat edge facing outwards. Stack them all the same, and, if you have chosen a few different colors, organize them so they are spaced evenly.
For wall colors, something muted or neutral will help you achieve that chalet or spa feeling. If you like colors, you could also try a cool pastel-like blue or lilac for a more calming effect. Another thing you can do is incorporate unpainted wood onto one of the walls. Wainscoting or barn doors are a great way to incorporate wood into your space. Just make sure you take proper care of it because wood can get moldy easily in humid spaces if it isn’t installed properly.
Keep your space simple and clean, but add a few smooth decorative stones along the edge of your tub where there is space, and of course, light lots of candles! A line of tea lights along any edge adds an instant hygge flare. If you’re having a bath, add an essential oil like lavender or eucalyptus. Keep a dried version of aromatic flower-like honeysuckle in a decorative jar, and sprinkle some into your bath for added effect. Play some relaxing music. Adjust based on what you like to listen to, but there are hours of spa music available on YouTube, iTunes, and many other places.
The last thing to keep in mind is ritual. Keep your spa space clean and ready for you to connect to it with a moment of hygge whenever you need it. Enjoy your Saturdays or add a nice moment to your tough Mondays with a bath and your favorite tea or a glass of wine. Treat your morning shower as your time to find some Zen and prepare for the day. Wind down after your trips to the gym with a mini trip to the spa in your own home. It only takes an extra minute to light candles and plays some music, plus, the only thing you need to have your hygge moment is to be present in appreciating the warmth of the water, the cleansing feeling of the soap, and the peace. We all carve time out of our day to make sure we’re clean, so it’s the perfect way to start your hygge practice.
I can’t emphasize enough that hygge is not about consumer goods. With its growing popularity, a lot of advertisements for home décor and soft blankets have been masquerading as blog posts on how to hygge, and it can be easy to focus too much on perfecting your material world. Don’t get caught up in this mental trap. There will always be a blanket that looks softer than yours, loungewear that looks more chic and comfortable, and candles that smell nicer. Advertisements are designed to make their products look better than real life, and your world will never look the same as a perfectly polished and altered photograph, even if you were to buy all the same things in that photo and arrange them in the same way.
Curate your space with a few items that make you feel cozy, but don’t get caught up in thinking that if you buy the perfect items and make your space perfect, you will then achieve that beautiful hygge peace. You won’t. Curating your space is a small part of hygge and much less important than changing your mindset. It takes some effort but it is well worth it. Rise to the challenge!
All that being said, we can’t just live in space, and there are a few material things we can use to help us hygge our space. To help maintain some perspective on leveraging a few comfort items to augment your hygge experience, we’ll borrow from minimalism. This seems counter-intuitive, but minimalists tend to place more value on what they own because they don’t own as much as the average Westerner. Instead of owning 25 shirts they sort of like, they’ll have 5 they like, for example. So, as far as the hygge trinkets go, make sure that when you do purchase or save an item that it serves a purpose or brings you joy. And remember – all of the world’s beautiful things will never fit inside your home. So instead, just hold onto what fits your space and what you need.