The “hygge” craze is taking social media by storm, especially in the lingering months of winter that seem to drag on and on. Any sense of coziness, warmth, and contentment, both externally and internally, are a welcomed change of pace for most of us drudging through the “winter blues” of February.
The term hygge may seem most applicable in climates where winter is long and coziness is a thing to be desired, but honestly, you can cultivate an intentional “hygge home” regardless of where you live, what you own, what your schedule looks like, and what the weather is like.
I’ll never claim to be an expert on the concept of hygge (or being hyggeligt), but I do know that once I stumbled on the word and the lifestyle it encompasses, I immediately felt at home, like I had finally found a word for the feeling I’d been trying to emulate for years. Living in the mountains of Colorado, slowness comes naturally. I’ve intentionally downsized mine and my family’s belongings to fit inside a 37’ RV and, this winter especially, I relied particularly hard on my inner sense of hygge to create a home that felt welcoming despite the size.
I hope these tips are useful to you, but most of all, I hope they prove that anyone, anywhere can begin to prioritize hygge living.
But first, what is “Hygge”?
Not at all a new concept, despite its current trending state, the word “hygge” is Danish and lacks an official correlation to any English word we possess. It refers to the feeling or moment of “coziness” that is so deeply . It’s a feeling of warmth, welcome, and comfort you experience when enjoying good things with good people. Lighting a candle after sunset is hygge. Gathering your friends on a Wednesday morning for coffee in a dimly lit corner of your home is hygge. A springtime barbeque with intentionally cooked food and even more intentionally picked friends is hygge. Hygge is a feeling, so, naturally, it will look differently to everyone.
Hygge is perfect for introverts who naturally gravitate towards quiet and curated moments, but it’s also ideal for extroverts who love gathering people together in search of community. It can affect everything, from the way you decorate your home, to how you design your social calendar.
Making it Stick
Even as someone who is naturally drawn to coziness and minimalism, I’ll be the first to admit that my lifestyle (with 4 people living in a travel trailer) is often far from it. I’ve had to be incredibly intentional to steer clear of mess, unnecessary stress, and turn our tiny space into a welcoming home.
Here are a few ways that I’ve learned to “cultivate” hygge moments in my real day-to-day life that I hope inspire you to try a little bit of hygge-ing yourself.
Surround yourself with “fewer but better” things you genuinely love.
Excess is not hygge. Neither is our tendency to hoard, buy things we don’t need, and “test the waters” on a million different products before we narrow it down to our favorite. Instead, knowing your personal style when it comes to fashion, decor and more, and bringing only what is essential into your home is the simplest way to cultivate hygge. Embrace white space, open, airy rooms, and colors that make you feel most at home.
For me, this means lots of white and green with rust and navy accents throughout. It also means minimizing wall decor, keeping a streamlined, simple wardrobe, and helping my family do the same.
Create hygge moments
If you feel this lifestyle is inaccessible, the simplest way around that mentality is to simply start doing more of what makes you feel most at home.
Invite a few of your closest friends over for a monthly dinner.
Have a “candle lighting” ritual each night to help you unwind after a long day. Find a favorite coffee mug and bring it with you to a local cafe.
Ride your bike instead of drive.
Pack a picnic and take your kids out for an afternoon in nature.
Bundle up in your favorite bulky sweater.
Hygge has less to do with where you are and more to do with the kind of moments and things you surround yourself with.
Learn to say “no”
For many of us, especially those with people-pleasing tendencies, saying no can feel impossible. Maybe you’re accustomed to too much clutter, too much on your schedule, and too many things on your to-do list because you’ve said yes too many times.
Hygge living requires you to slow down, learn what it’s ok to say no to (hint: it’s more than you think”, and start doing it. You can’t create a slower, cozier life if you’re constantly rushing to please everyone else.
“Lagom”, a similar concept to hygge, means “just the right amount” and it’s crucial for creating this kind of lifestyle too. From everything to throwing holiday parties to decorating your home to what you put on the table for dinner, a “just the right amount” mentality will help you create balance in all areas of your life.
Have you mastered hygge living or are you hesitant to jump in? Wherever you are on the spectrum, hygge can add value and peace to your day to day life unlike anything else.
Post by Olivia Youngs of Simply Liv & Co., a blog about her journey into simple living