Hygge, the Danish recipe for happiness

In Denmark the winters are long and cold, the days are short (the sun sets at 4pm) and the tax rate is one of the highest in the world. However, the Danish have for several years been number one in the world’s happiest countries. Their recipe for happiness? « Hygge » (pronounced « hoo-ga »), a concept that encourages people to enjoy a moment of sharing surrounded by friends, savouring a good meal with their family, and advocating the virtues of warm and cosy comfort at home.

The Hygge spirit in decoration

For the past few years, this unpronounceable name for this Nordic way of life has been in the spotlight, although it is not very different from the « cocooning » that many of us experience.
To fight against the greyness of winter, the Danish prefer evenings at home, and attach particular importance to their « Home Sweet Home ».
Here are a few tips to bring a touch of Hygge to your decor.

Subdued lighting

To create a warm atmosphere favourable to cocooning, everything starts with well-controlled lighting. Indirect lighting and darker shades are preferred to reduce the intensity of light. Be careful to choose your bulbs according to the desired colour (opt rather for warm white).

There’s nothing like candles to create a cosy atmosphere: block candles of different heights will look lovely when accumulated on a coffee table, as a table runner or a centrepiece. Otherwise, you can choose floating candles, candleholders, or small tealights that you place in pretty candle jars to set the mood.

© Søstrene Grene 

Light garlands are also a good idea to bring a soft light to your decor. Run them around a mirror, along a shelf, or arrange them in a large vase.

Natural and raw materials

Wood, widely used in Scandinavian design, is an ideal material for your furniture. It is a natural and living material that will warm the atmosphere for sure. Don’t hesitate to mix blond species such as oak and darker ones such as walnut.
Wicker furniture, or decorative details in cane will also fit perfectly with the Hygge style.

Wraparound plaids

Plaids can be casually thrown on the sofa, waiting for you to wrap yourself in them. Choose them in XXL knits, or woven with fluffy, foamy or curly wools that make you want to snuggle in.

« Teddy » fabric, Saint-Frison Textiles, in curly wool

Lots of cushions

The accumulation of cushions is a great decorative classic, and immediately creates a cosy and warm atmosphere. Arrange them on your sofa, armchairs, or on the floor and feel free to mix them, your decor will be all the more successful! But be careful to keep a common denominator : a material, a colour or a pattern, to avoid cacophony.

cittadesign.com – Photo : Simon Wilson

A soft rug

Think about the comfort of your feet! Choose knotted carpets made of natural materials such as wool.

Neutral, powdery or muted colours

Neutral tones such as white, grey, beige, are of course recommended to form the basis of a cocooning atmosphere. You can punctuate your decoration with pastel colours : blush pink, nude, ice blue, almond green… or muted shades such as terracotta, petrol blue, bottle green to add more character.

The Hygge in real life

For Meik Wiking, author of The Book of Hygge, « Hygge is a comforting atmosphere, a warm and privileged moment at the end of the day that consists in enjoying those we love by spending time with them, with that feeling of feeling at home, safe and secure. »

So prefer to have an aperitif with friends at home, rather than at the neighbourhood terrace. Relax with a good bath, read a book, enjoy a cup of tea or hot chocolate. Listen to a good vinyl instead of scrolling on your smartphone. Give yourself a few hours to slow down, disconnect and relax, and enjoy simple pleasures. Beyond its aesthetic application, hygge is truly an art of living accessible to all.

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