Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word that denotes a specific sensation of cosiness and comfort stemming out of convenience and feelings of wellness. In literal translation, it means something like ‘to give courage, comfort and joy’. Now when etymology of the word is out of the way, we can say that hygge as a concept and as a cultural category is at the very centre of what gives unique warmth and inviting cosiness to the Scandinavian homes even (and especially) during cold Scandinavian winters.
In other words, hygge is the goal, but also the driving force behind the unique approach to interior design that is so common throughout Scandinavia, but especially in Denmark. It aims to provide you comfort and cosiness in the long winters and make your home seem warm and inviting, but also practical, open and tidy.
So, how can this be achieved?
Start with neutral colours
Colours are the building blocks of design. They establish the tone of the space as a whole and connect different elements into a whole larger than the sum of its parts. Hygge spaces bring this idea to the forefront by relying on an unimposing and sophisticated neutral colour palette. With comfort in the forefront, neutral tones are absolutely essential as they allow the eye to rest. So, softer neutrals such as soft greys, rich creams or icy blues might be ideal. Black and dark brown shades create too much of a contrast which grabs attention, so these are not so fitting as the softer shades.
Comfort is our #1 priority
At the heart of this interior design style popular across Denmark and Norway is a unique approach to life that embraces positivity and enjoyment in the everyday. In other words, it elevates life’s simple pleasures and creates through poetry of things as simple as curling up under a blanket and watching the snow fall. With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that hygge homes are all about giving a sense of comfort and cosiness to the space that will make the rooms feel inviting and warm. On the road to achieving this, you might encounter things such as plush furniture, overstuffed chairs and a rich plethora of various textiles (with rugs, woven wall hangings, pillows and blankets being the most central points). Feel free to layer these elements richly to create an additional layer of depth, complexity and interest. At the same time, don’t lose your nerves about keeping it tidy – hygge embraces imperfections as a part of life and doesn’t judge you. Enjoy that hot chocolate, relax, it is all fine!
Soft light is the way to go
We’re back to one of the 101s of design – lighting scheme makes or breaks the room, it has a profound effect on how a certain space feels. Just compare the bright and stark white glow of your office lights with the playful and warm light of candles in the dim room. Needless to say, the latter is what we are going for with hygge style. So, soft lighting rules supreme here! While every room should have some ambient lighting, of course, this is of secondary concern when you try to channel your inner Scandinavian. Your primary focus will be on soft accent lighting which should be complemented with bright ambient lights when necessary.
Add just a touch of minimalism
The concept of hygge has a very complex attitude towards materiality. It doesn’t forces asceticism onto you and certainly allows you to have enough material pleasures at hand to feel comfortable. After all, what are all those comfortable and comfy blankets for? But, at the same time, you should not go too far with this and should definitely stick to the essentials, being guided by the principle that less is more.
Best way to accomplish this is to start designing your home from scratch. Remove all the items and start with a blank canvas, moving the things in piece by piece. Try to think which elements add some value to the overall design and which ones create clutter. If you are unsure about a specific piece, just leave it out. Remember, less is more!