Creating the perfect atmosphere is crucial for hygge. The right lighting, the right decorations, and the right level of comfort can make a huge difference in your home for everyone. This post looks at how you create a big impact with just a few small steps.
We already know just how important the correct lighting in any room is for relaxation and creating a suitable mood. It changes the way we feel and act and can have a calming effect on both children and adults alike. Candles are a fundamental part of hygge. They look beautiful and have a warm light which instantly relaxes and soothes. Danish houses are jam-packed with candles of all kinds of different shapes and sizes and colors. Walking through the streets at night presents you with a beautiful glow emanating peacefully from the inside of the houses you pass.
You may want to be choosy in your selection of candles for your children. Candles made from beeswax are generally preferred as they create less soot and do not emit the same chemicals as paraffin candles. Allow your children to have a choice in the candle and where it goes. You can, under your supervision, allow them to light them at night as the dark creeps in. This is a great routine to get into and one which they will love. It signifies to all that the time for relaxation and being together is imminent.
The right lighting
The choice of lighting is almost as important as using candles for the right creator of mood and sense of companionship. Different shades of illumination can change the mood vastly. I tend to use a cool, white light when working as it keeps me alert and at my most productive. When I want to relax, however, I use a much warmer, more yellow light which instills a feeling of relaxation. I then avoid bright lights from overhead and use table lamps or free-standing lamps scattered around the room.
Lighting is one area where technology can make a big difference and it is certainly one your children will enjoy using. Various smart lighting solutions exist which can cast thousands of different colors through a simple voice command. They can also come on automatically when they sense movement or at pre-determined times to create the perfect atmosphere from the morning to late at night.
Your children will enjoy interacting with them and establishing their light patterns when they want. You can use the different shades of white to make the perfect atmosphere at different times. The initial setup for these can be expensive, however, they are highly energy-efficient and last a long time. Over time you will save money from removing older, less-efficient bulbs and switching to LED lights.
An open fire
If you have an open fire already, you will be aware of how beautiful it is, making a room attractive and inviting. Not only does it provide warmth, but it becomes a focal point for the room and a source of great joy as it dances and crackles. There are all kinds of variations of fires for living rooms now from the standard open fires to stoves that burn different materials. Some are more economic than others or suited to décor, but if you are thinking about renovations or re-doing parts of your home, then a fire in the main living room will prove a wonderful addition.
Reserve a little location somewhere at home that can be used exclusively for reading. Add some cushions and throws around to make it comfortable. Add favorite books or other reading material nearby. Ensure it has access to natural light or is beautifully illuminated by candles or low lights. Creating a specific place where people can retreat to read and be at peace quietly to reflect is a great way to relieve anxiety or stress. It lets you relax at the moment. Encourage your children to spend just a few minutes away from it all with a favorite book. Bring them a hot chocolate as refreshment for the final, perfect touch.
It’s hard, if not impossible, to create a true hygge experience with everyone staring at a cell phone or tablet in their little world. At some point during the day or evening, you must insist on a technology-free period or space. You might say, for example, that no-one should have an electronic device at the kitchen table during mealtime. It will not take long before bans are understood and eventually come to be appreciated by all involved. Have a little box outside the room into which everyone, adults included, can place their device. Turn it off or at least into silent mode so it can offer no further distractions. If it is not visible, it will be less tempting to get up and use or check it for any alerts.
At this point, make sure you have something fun, humorous, and interesting to do to replace the devices. Otherwise, you may get little else but resentment which will certainly spoil the mood. A conversation, story, game, or activity will easily replace whatever the device was showing and mean much more to your children.
There will be times when your children may choose not quite to follow your instructions to the letter and contravene the rules. If they find it hard to follow these instructions of their own accord, then you can add rules to the router in your house that will prevent access to particular devices or at particular times.
You can also add parental software to computers and all mobile devices that will only allow them to be used for a certain amount of time each day or within hours that you can choose. It is best to make family time so attractive that no-body wishes to be away from it at all, but if all else fails, then simply ensure there is no way that devices can be used at all.
A key part of hygge is feeling comfortable and relaxed in your own home. There is now a great variety of clothing that fits the hygge description ranging from cotton to the softest cashmere pullover. Get yourself and the kids a thick pair of woolen socks and combine with slippers if inside or a lovely warm coat if braving the elements. Adding various layers will both increase warmth on a cold day, but also enable you and your children to set your unique style. A long, thick scarf is another essential, allowing you to add a splash of bright color to the more traditional black clothes you will see everywhere in Denmark.
If staying inside, I have rarely seen my children so excited when pajama day is announced. There does seem to be a special thrill to remaining in flannel pajamas, slippers, and dressing gowns all day and indulging in true hygge comfort activities. Perhaps it’s not one you want to repeat too often as getting outside and exercising to return to a warm and inviting house is particularly hygge as well, but it can occasionally make a fun treat.
One of the things that can prevent me from relaxing is a home where things do not have their place. I then struggle to find what I need and dislike the general feeling of untidiness. Children are not generally renowned for being overly neat, however, they do appreciate knowing where things are so they can reach toys easily. Making them tidy up after themselves is important not just for them, but also for you. The last thing you want is to create a little idyll of relaxation only to find yourself hopping around in agony having stepped on the corner of a piece of errant Lego (I have done this too many times).
Having too many possessions or toys that are no longer enjoyed makes clutter inevitable. I go through the various toy collections they have established regularly just to check the toys are still being used. If not, I will pack them up and donate them to a charity if they are still intact and working. The rest of the toys can then be placed on a shelf or in a cupboard where that can become their permanent storage place.
This will make it easier to find but also much easier to clean up at the end of the day. Your children will not have to spend time wondering where everything goes or just shoving it all under the bed and hoping for the best the next day. Passing on longer loved items is a great way to clear the decks and establish what is being used and what is needless clutter.
This task can seem quite daunting at first when you consider the piles of toys or books or general items that have accumulated over a few months. Bear in mind, however, you don’t have to do everything in one go. Take a single cupboard or a chest of drawers or a small book collection. Remove everything and work out together if it’s still needed or wanted. Once done, move on and return over the following days to tackle the next location. The job doesn’t have to be painful and it doesn’t need to be done all in one day.
You can apply the same techniques to your bedroom and general living spaces as well. Removing unwanted possessions or useless kitchen equipment that sits in a corner gathering dust is a great way to clear both your home and your mind, freeing yourself to relax a little earlier in the day.