Here is a fact: According to the 2016 happiness report, Denmark has been declared the happiest, most contented country on earth. Being married to a Dane myself, I think I know why.
It is what I call the “hygge factor”. It is the philosophy or the mind set of doing absolutely everything in life in a hygge way. Unfortunately, there isn’t a single word to explain what hygge or hyggelig is but here is what the dictionary says:
hygge [n.] [hoo-ga]
A complete absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.
For me the perfect hygge is Sunday morning breakfast with family: pancakes are sizzling, my favourite jam and the smell of cinnamon, feeling of cashmere socks and cosiness of my linen robe, the smell of the beautiful flowers and my favourite candles flickering gently on the table, the radio is on in the background and the giggles of my daughter and chatting goes on until late in the morning.
Hygge is feeling cosy, but in every sense: for body, mind and soul. Who wouldn’t be happy?
Given that 90% of the hygge feeling happens at home, here is 5 ways to create instant hygge. But don’t forget, hygge is not only about the furniture. What makes it so special is the good company of family and friends and relaxed, stress free life style that it comes with it.
- Create a hygge corner
This can be anywhere at home but it has to be snug and comfy. Somewhere you can relax, read your book and have a cup of tea, perhaps by the window where you can see the leaves falling from the trees outside or squirrels playing or simply people passing by.
Checklist: A comfy chair, a table lamp, a cozy blanket, a sheep skin rug, a scented candle, a plant.
Did you know that an average Dane (including my husband) lights one candle at least 5 times a week? That means putting the candles on almost every night while you are watching TV, at breakfast table or while having your bath. There is nothing more relaxing and soothing than a few flickering candles in the room.
Checklist: Tea lights (lots of them), dinner candles, one big scented candle (I love the St Eval’s Rosemary and Bay)
- Bring nature inside
This seems a bit strange but Danes love to bring nature inside their homes. Flowers and spring blossoms in the spring, washed out beach wood, shells and stones from the beach trip in the summer, leaves, twigs, nuts and all kinds of woody stuff in autumn. Last year, we collected pine cones from a forest trip at Christmas time and displayed them in glass jars with some fairy lights at home. Nu er det hyggeligt (Now, that's cozy!)
Checklist: Leaves, stones, twigs, branches, flowers, cones, chestnuts.
Who wouldn’t like the feeling of a nice warm and soft blanket to snuggle up with on the sofa. Stack of different blankets, maybe a wool or a cotton one, also a sheepskin on the chairs or as a rug on the floor to create different textures, just warms up the room instantly without changing the temperatures.
Checklist: A warm wool blanket, a cotton blanket/ throw, a sheep skin or faux fur throw.
The room has to be lit just enough to see around but without any single light overpowering the others. The institutional establishment look is a no-no in a hygge concept. Denmark is famous for their lamp designs, so if you can afford it, it is definitely worth investing in a beautiful Danish lamp.
Checklist: A lamp shade, a floor lamp, fairy lights, dimmable lights.