Turn your home into a heart-warming living space that evokes hygge, the Danish art of cosy living, with these six easy-to-follow tips
In a world still dealing with a health crisis, you might find it challenging to create an environment that’s focused on peace and calm, on warmth and cosiness, on connection with family and friends. Little did you know, you might have already been practising hygge (pronounced “hyoo-guh"”), or the Danish concept of living with a sense of comfort, cosiness and peace. Have you been finding joy in drinking a warm cup of coffee or reading a good book? Do you look forward to curling up under the sheets or waking up to the sweet smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls on weekends? Or maybe you’re just unaware but you have gradually conditioned yourself to take it slow. That’s hygge.
Hygge conjures a cornucopia of meanings. For Poul Madsen, co-founder and CEO of Danish furniture label Normann Copenhagen, it means cultivating a specific cosy atmosphere. “Moments that I truly cultivate the Danish concept of hygge are when I spend time with my family or friends in the comfort of my home. To me, it means cosiness, warmth and relaxation. Whether it be a dinner party with friends, a quiet evening in front of the television with my wife and daughter or a slow morning with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, hygge is something that I, like most Danes, incorporate into my everyday life in different ways,” he shares.
To Marleen Uyecio, creative director of Kuysen (the exclusive distributor of home brands Zanotta and Muuto, among many others, in the Philippines), hygge means “to be in a space where I can be totally relaxed and comfortable [and where] I can spend hours of my time with my surroundings alone or with my family”.
Stephanie Coyiuto Tay, managing director of Casa Bella Home and Living agrees, adding, “Nothing feels more hygge than moments spent with the ones who matter the most, in spaces with furniture pieces that cultivate an atmosphere that emits warmth.”
American home furnishing brand Pottery Barn expresses the hygge lifestyle through not only creating a cosy atmosphere to enjoy with friends and family but also by making the home healthier and more meaningful with high quality, non-toxic and fair-trade pieces.
Ferdie Ong, CEO of Living Innovations, the company which brought the Italian furniture label Minotti to the country, defines hygge as “appreciating the simple pleasures in life”. Simply put, embracing the hygge lifestyle can bring us connection and comfort in our everyday lives.
In an article titled Benefits of the Cozy Wellness Trend Hygge, mental health expert Jodi Clarke describes hygge as “creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people”. A hygge-focused lifestyle is believed to elicit happiness. In fact, the 2021 World Happiness Report reveals that Denmark, where hygge is widely practised, remains to be home to some of the happiest people on earth.
Additionally, hygge brings other emotional, physical and social benefits. A cosy living space, for example, helps us feel less anxious and promotes a sense of emotional well-being and safety. When we feel safe and calm, our body responds accordingly; we feel more relaxed, which results in improved sleep, less stress hormone spikes and for some, a reduced need for unhealthy coping behaviours like alcohol and smoking.
Having these benefits in mind, we list down some tips on how you can incorporate hygge into your home.
1. Add cosy furniture and soft furnishings
Choose furniture pieces that encourage people to gather around and have a good conversation. “For the living room, a comfy sofa like the Pianoalto by Zanotta that can be configured depending on users’ preferences,” says Uyecio. This cosy modular sofa stuffed with goose feathers can be a perfect venue for conversations with your loved ones in the living room. “For a more personal space, find a corner window facing the garden and add a small Haworth desk by Muuto for hobbies and crafts, or an armchair with footrest like the Maggiolina by Zanotta,” she adds. Madsen, on the other hand, suggests adding soft cushions and throws to your interiors like Normann Copehagen’s Papa cosy throw blankets and NEW Snooze additions dreamy bed linen.
2. Play with lighting
Danish lighting brand Louis Poulsen encourages creating a hygge-like atmosphere in the home by bringing back the warm, soothing glow and balmy temperatures of Scandinavian summers into an indoor setting. Creating a home environment so warm and welcoming washes away all the stresses of the day. To achieve this, illuminate the home with soft and gentle lighting from candles and well-made lamps that disperse light seamlessly. Light is scarce in Denmark, that’s why great lighting is essential in Danish households.
3. Add natural touches
Wood elements as well as indoor plants help in creating a calming environment. “Adding materials that carry the elements of the natural world always introduces a certain organic vibe to your space. For example, the Kangaroo chair, an hommage à Pierre Jeanneret for Cassina. Simple in its form, it was created with unpretentious materials, with a beautiful teak finish. It prevails in its timelessness and invites you to sit, as an old friend would do. The Gogan Sofa by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso is known for its ability to appear light despite its heavy shape. It was inspired by pebbles smoothened by water over time, a more obvious nod at nature and its beauty. Now imagine these pieces housed underneath the H Pavilion by Kettal. The natural wooden beams of this modular oasis allow light and air to flow freely through, while still allowing space for shelter as you watch the day shift to night. These happy bursts of nature in design encourages the rawness of a home and reflects the comfort one feels in the stillness of a house, surrounded by the outside forces,” says Tay.
4. Choose decor that brings back good memories
Try to use accessories that have a special meaning such as pictures of family and loved ones or souvenirs from travels. You can place photo albums on the coffee table with pictures of experiences that you’ve shared with others. The concept of hygge is about warmth and connection, so use pieces to draw people in and create conversation.
5. Make spaces that encourage activities
Hygge is about building relationships and connecting with one another. Create a nook where your family can comfortably watch a movie or a corner where you can invite neighbours to have a soothing cup of cappuccino. Allocate a space where you can be at peace to read your favourite book. “In the bathroom, a tub is perfect for spa-like relaxation. Let’s not forget the garden with some Paola Lenti shades, a Talenti daybed or even a hammock,” says Uyecio, whose company also distributes bathroom fixtures from brands Duravit and Kaldewei.
Incorporating these ideas into your living environment may offer you a relaxing space that promote a sense of calm and happiness—one that is inviting to others and beneficial to your well-being.
6. Play with colours
Choosing the right colours for the living space is essential for setting a cosy stage at home. Neutral colours, particularly whites, soft whites, blushes and soft browns, help calm the mind. Hygge is about soft, soothing and comfortable; neutral colours are believed to lessen anxiety and evoke relaxation.