The more we learn about Danish culture, the more we learn we could afford to discover a lot more about their stylish, civilized approach to life.
Between their health-driven diets, their peaceful political stances, and their mid-century design influences on furniture and architecture, the Danes have quietly curated quite an impressive lifestyle for themselves.
One of their best inventions, however, is the wholesome concept of Hygge. Hygge is an intrinsic part of the Danish way of life, falling somewhere between both the physical and spiritual cultivation of happiness and warmth. While channelling Hygge can be done through a number of different methods, one of the best ways to experience it is via interior design and lifestyle practices.
To learn more about Hygge and how you can include this restorative Danish concept throughout your home this winter, we’ve highlighted some of our favourite ways to Hygge-up your home in our guide below.
What Is Hygge?
Pronounced ‘hoo-gah,’ this traditional practice is deeply ingrained in the Danish culture and, in essence, fosters both a spiritual and physical atmosphere of warmth, coziness, and contentment — most commonly found within the body and home.
At its core, Hygge is about surrounding one and one’s space with simplistic things and activities that make one feel happy, serene, and at peace. Think; the warmth of a candlelit room, the affectionate hug of a thick blanket, or the feeling of contentment after a hearty meal — basically, any object or activity that gives you the warm ‘n fuzzies inside.
While Hygge can be practiced any time of the year, we find it’s most valuable during the winter months when facing the harsh elements outdoors can be both physically and emotionally draining. And, seeing as Denmark regularly faces much longer, darker, and often colder winters than we do in most of Canada, Hygge is one of the main practices Danes rely on to get them through the coldest seasons.
With that said, here are a few ways you can include the spirit of Hygge into your home this winter.
Capturing the essence of Hygge in your space will absolutely contribute to your home’s overall feeling of luxury, but what else defines the luxury home in today’s modern market? Get our informed opinions on The New State Of Luxury Real Estate In Toronto here.
1. Refocus Your Entryway
In winter especially, creating a Hygge-inspired atmosphere in your home hinges on juxtaposing the tough elements outdoors with the cozy, comforting ambience of your home’s interior. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being able to retire to your Hygge-filled home at the end of a long, difficult winter’s day.
That’s why our first recommendation is to refocus both the purpose and aesthetic of your entryway space. The idea here is to make your first interaction with your home (your entryway) as welcoming and serene as possible, which starts by removing mess and replacing it with calming features.
There’s nothing relaxing about entering your home to a pile of wet, slushy boots and a crowded coat rack. Our suggestion is to either hide those winter essentials away with smart and stylish storage solutions or remove them from your entryway completely once you’ve entered your home.
Then, use your entryway to create a more pleasing sensory experience for when you first enter your home. Rely on things like scented candles, dimmer switch lighting, and personally appealing artwork and furniture to help you feel more welcome when returning home.
Placing your favourite flowers and plants near your entryway is another fantastic way of making this part of your home feel more stimulating and personal to you. Read up on one of our favourite plants, the Fig Leaf Tree in our post, From Ficus To Fiddle — Leaf Fig Trees: The Plants Of A Generation here.
2. Decorate Your Fireplace
In North America, we’re quite familiar with the practice of cozying up near the fireplace in the winter months, especially if you’ve just recently come in from the cold. However, there are a few things you can do to your fireplace area to intensify that feeling of Hygge whilst enjoying the sights and sounds of a crackling fire nearby.
First, look to your mantelpiece. Use this space to feature thought-provoking decor pieces that feature warm natural materials like wood, leather, marble, or stone. These materials naturally help to emotionally ground you when you’re near them, contributing to the overall Hygge emotive.
Then, think about what’s around your fireplace. If you don’t already have one, acquire a tasteful firewood holder to stylishly display your logs — we find birch logs always look best. As for your fire pokers and iron tools, set those next to the logs to allow space on the other side of your fireplace for another artistic or decorative object, preferably again in a natural material like stained wood, stone, or perhaps a leather chair.
Lastly, hide or remove any screens or distracting technology like TVs, digital clocks, or anything with an eye-catching LED light. The entire atmosphere around your fireplace should complement the mesmeric flicker and glow of the fire, allowing you to momentarily (and therapeutically) lose track of time and thought.
As architecture and interior design enthusiasts, we’re always on top of the latest shifts and developments in the world of home decor. Learn more about the design trends we’re moving on from in our blog post “Is Your Home Decor Up To Date? 6 Trends To Leave In 2020” here.
3. Upgrade Your Accessories
Whether you’re sitting around your fireplace, on your favourite armchair, or cuddled up on your sofa or bed, oftentimes it’s your immediate accessories that best create a personal sense of Hygge when taking a quiet moment for yourself. That’s why we like to do a complete seasonal refresh of our home’s accent pieces in these common lounge areas.
During the winter months, replace your thinner summer rugs with thicker ones that are softer on the feet and feature more earthy colours like burgundy, forest green, and ochre. Then, do the same with your blankets and throws, whether they’re in your living room or bedroom. Pillowcases deserve the same attention, and in actuality can easily be switched and updated with each new season to add a different colour, texture, and variety to your space.
In addition, you can also practice this part of Hygge with what you wear around the house too. Once you’ve come in from the cold outdoors, take off your street clothes and switch them for comfier ones upon arrival. Around the house, wear chunkier socks and sweaters and try to find a pair of comfortable slippers that will keep your feet nice and warm all day long.
Choosing the right colours to feature throughout your home is invaluable to creating calming, serene spaces. Find out which colours we’ve found ourselves gravitating towards this year in our related post, Play With Colour But Keep It Neutral — Colours Of The Year 2021.
4. Revamp Your Bar Cart
If you’re anything like us, your bar cart also sees a lot of use during the winter months when you’d much rather spend a night inside than venture outdoors, even just to visit a bar or restaurant. That’s why around this time of year, what we feature on our bar cart escalates much higher up our list of at-home priorities.
You might have a few favourites that are omnipresent on your bar cart, but as you’ll be spending much more time at home throughout the winter, this is a fantastic opportunity to expand on your regular portfolio of wines and spirits and try something new out.
Whether that comes in the form of new cocktail ingredients, experimenting with a new spirit, furthering your knowledge of an unfamiliar wine region, or just stocking up on different varieties and vintages of your favourite Scotch, winter’s a great time for a bar cart revamp.
Plus, you’ll also most likely be entertaining much more frequently this is the time of year too. With the season’s various holidays and celebrations taking place, don’t let your guests down with a scant cart — stock up ahead of time and allow them to choose their favourites. Very Hygge.
5. Dim Your Lighting
While it might sound counter-productive to include less light in your home during the darkest months, dimming your home’s lighting can actually create a calmer, more tranquil atmosphere within your main living areas and bedrooms.
Hygge is all about creating ambience, and lighting has a direct influence on how we interpret and emotionally interact with a space. By either installing dimmer switches to your lighting or utilizing the dimming features it already has, you can curate a space with that essence of serenity that Hygge is defined by.
In addition to dimmers, candlelight also creates that same effect within the home, so try to include more candles in key areas across your main living spaces too. Corners and mirrors will naturally reflect candlelight and make it appear larger, covering more area. Make use of those spaces in your home by placing candles near them for the full Hygge effect.
Are you in the market for a home with much more Hygge appeal than your current property? Brainstorm what your perfect Scandinavian-influenced interior would look like in the homes featured on Our Listings page here.