7 steps to your Hygge Home

Updated: Apr 7

Hygge is ideal for the colder months of the year when we seek indoor and sure, I've written bits and pieces about hygge in this blog before. But it just dawned on me that I haven't done a whole blog dedicated to hygge decor and on how to create a home that caters for hygge. I am fixing that now because hygge is an essential concept for Nordic living and the whole Scandinavian design tradition, where we spend a lot of time in our homes when the weather makes us want to stay indoors. (Looking for tips to Summer hygge: See this post )

First of all: What is hygge? The direct translation of this word is coziness, although the English word doesn't have quite the same connotations. The word hygge is actually connected to the English word 'hug'. So you can see hygge as a feeling and a mood of contentment and togetherness. Hygge is about the small, warm moments where time stands still and we enjoy ourselves – with others.

The Little Book of Hygge, Cover
The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking took the world by storm

When I think about how the concept of hygge originated, I'm convinced it comes from our ancestors meeting peacefully around the fireplace, enjoying quiet conversations in the warmth of the fire.

Danes use the word hygge all the time. It has almost become a national symbol, a part of our self-understanding, which Danes use when describing who they are and what they are about.

Hygge is authentic; it can't be simulated, and it can't be rushed. But a way to lead hygge on is to ensure the setting is in place. We all know the almost stereotypical ikons of hygge: the candles, the socks, the lattés with the foam hearts, and the fireplaces. But let's go beyond that: how to make an atmosphere that can enhance your hygge through your home décor and interior design at a more general level.

So how could you shape it? How do you create a home that oozes hygge? Here's my guide to create hygge in your interior the Danish way:

1. An inviting seating

The starting point of creating hygge at home is that you need to have a good level of comfort in your seating so that everyone can lounge comfortably, whether on a soft sofa or in a good armchair. If you aim to create hygge, you should consider the seating areas in your home to be small "meeting places" where you enjoy staying. I recently arranged a small nook by the window in my kitchen. My husband and I now drink our morning coffee here and engage in what often turns out to be the day's most creative conversations. I used an old white painted table and two chairs, and it's not particularly stylish. But it has the hygge!

Kitchen hygge nook
My Hygge nook in the kitchen

2. Furnish for hygge

For your living room, choose a few large pieces of furniture rather than many small ones. It creates wholeness. It's popular to decorate with furniture, where all items possess the same expression in style, color, design. However, try to work with contrasts also. For instance, combining soft shapes with straight lines will add a more personal touch to the interior. In addition, make sure to allow some space between furniture and wall. Although this doesn't sound intuitive, your room will seem larger this way. It's all about perception.

3. Organize in clusters

Group your items in clusters to create balance and calm in your home decor - from pieces of furniture to pictures on the wall. When I found out to group my plants and wall decor and not let my fear of bare walls take over, I realized the balance it creates in a room. It caters to much more hygge to group everything in clusters. For example, gather green plants in a group, preferably in different heights, hang the pictures in one or two groups on the wall – you can place them all within one virtual frame. Put smaller decor objects on the shelf together in small compositions (again, think in various heights) with a bit of space in between.

Nordic interior book
Nordic Interior Book gives you more ideas on how to decorate for hygge in your home

In the book Nordic Interior Book by Piia Kalliomäki and Paulina Salonen you will find many examples of organiszing in clusters.

4. Soft textiles are a must for hygge

The materials we use are super important for the sensory impressions when entering a room. And if anything invites to hygge, it is soft materials and texture.

Therefore, hygge is almost inseparably linked to plaids and quilts. Plaids are not only cozy because they are warm. They also soften up the decor, add tactility and make your space more welcoming. A sofa can seem naked and cold without a plaid over the armrest. A dining room chair will radiate hygge when a sheepskin is placed on it. The soft materials will even soften the acoustics of a room, which is also crucial for hygge- you want the ability to have good conversations.

5. Colors for hygge

Colors create ambiance in your home, and if you plan to paint walls and ceilings, make sure to paint with a swatch that you test in the room you plan to paint. Colors behave differently when meeting the light of the room. Whatever color palette you fall in love with, it's important to implement it fully to the base of the room; color of walls and ceiling, and the textiles you will use in the room. Matte finishes on the walls create a condensed atmosphere in the room, which is calmer, warmer and softer. And as you probably know, white walls are a Scandinavian favorite.

You can read more about the nordic living style in this blog here

Hygge colors outdoors
The Nordic color scheme of muted colors calmingly resembles nature.

6.Tell a story

A hygge home reflects and tells a story about the people living there. Memories and objects from a particular time or place help create an inviting and relaxing environment, so use them in your decor instead of hiding them away. That is not to say that you should have stuff everywhere on the shelves. Clutter dismantles hygge.

It also creates an atmosphere of hygge if you can see that someone is actually living in your home: Your guests will feel more at home if there is a relaxed atmosphere when they visit you. So the book you are reading is allowed to lie around (and don't forget the tabletop books).

Nordic Interior Book, cover
Coffee tables books are an excellent way to tell a story about yourself

7. The light sets the mood

Light is a mood creator. Poul Henningsen, a famous Danish mid-century designer, regarded the home's lighting as the noblest and most difficult of all interior design tasks. He created the iconic PH lamp with the exact purpose of facilitating a balanced light.

The iconic glass lamp form Poul Henningsen solves the difficult task of lighting

It certainly is an art to make electric light seem cozy and natural. The main rule is to combine cold and warm lights, and you can, for example, work with LED light in combination with a warm incandescent bulb to create different lighting options for different situations. Dimmable lamps are a good solution when aiming for hygge, and luckily you can find LED-based lamps with a lovely warm hue nowadays. I have a beautiful one over my dining table. The location of lights and lamps is everything, and it works well to have lighting in both floor and reading height and in the ceiling.

Octo pendant with LED sets the ambiance for a hygge evening

Make clever use of spots - it doesn't create hygge to light up an entire room. It would help you to think more about what you want to light up. If one wall is lit, it may shed light on the rest of the room, and then you may not need to light the others. Hygge requires as much shade as light!- and the nuances make your home so much more interesting.

I have described above some of the main steps in decorating for hygge in your home, but I promise: I will be coming back to the candles, the socks, the snacks, the drinks, the games, and the fireplaces. Norlii is very much about these things; Norlii is also a hygge box, offering hygge decor and showing how to create hygge with style.

Sources and further reading:

-The Litte Book of Hygge

-The Year of Hygge, the Danish Obsession with Getting Cozy

https://www.newyorker.com › Culture › Denmark

-Nordic Interior Book, Piia Kalliomäki and Pauliina Salonen (you can find it in our store here).

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Read more about Scandinavian interior design and lifestyle in our other blog posts here

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