Now that the clocks have gone back and the temperatures have dropped we could all do with making our homes feel a little cosier. Who better to learn from than Danes who have made ‘cosy’ part of their culture and self-identity? They actually have a word to describe it – ‘hygge’.
Pronounced “heurgha” it’s a lifestyle concept that roughly means a feeling of comfort and contentment and taking pleasure from soothing things. It’s often connected to the idea that the Danes are the happiest people in the world, and that it’s ‘hygge’ that provides the secret to their success.
The concept is largely based around the idea of making everyday things and experiences special, such as having coffee with friends or enjoying a piece of cake. Taking pleasure and comfort in your environment plays a big part too. The comfort of the spaces that we inhabit has a huge impact on our wellbeing. Lighting, for example, has a big part to play in how a space makes us feel. Bright overhead lights are not very restful or cosy! Ambient lighting like table and floor lamps are much more Hygge.
When lighting your room, aim to have a number of different light sources. This will allow you to control the atmosphere in the room, meaning you can create the perfect environment any time of the day. To fully embrace the concept of hygge make sure you introduce some candles. In Denmark even the streets and shopping malls are lit with candles and the result is a very tranquil atmosphere – a far cry from the shopping malls here which can at times be an assault on the senses.
Colour also plays a big part in creating the atmosphere of a room. Choose warm earthy shades such as camels, and soft sandy tones to create a calm and cosy environment. Introducing accessories in bright and cheerful colours is a great way to keep the winter blues at bay. Throws and cushions are the perfect winter accessory and will ensure neutral sofas or arm chairs are inviting and perfect for snuggling up in on a cold winter evening – very Hygge.
This kind of decorating, just like dressing for winter, is all about layering, which is a fantastic way to give any room in your home a whole new look. Adding large rugs to hard flooring like timber and tiles will add warmth and texture underfoot. Make an existing rug even cosier by layering a thinner, smaller rug on top of it.
Hygge isn’t about spending a lot of money or starting from scratch. The philosophy is much more about appreciating what we have and taking pleasure from it. Give your bedroom a quick style update and prepare it for the season by layering in textured bedding, throws, and pillows. A luxurious cashmere throw and soft velvet bed pillows will turn your bedroom into a cosy refuge on harsh winter nights. Dim your lighting and add a few candles and you will have created the perfect hygge environment.