The concept of “hygge” has become a bit of a buzzword, feeding into the popularity of Nordic interior design styles. But hygge is much more than design: it is an idea, and some even consider hygge to be a philosophy of life.
Pronounced "hooga," the Danish word hygge does not have a definite English translation but it signifies welcoming warmth, calm comfort and cosy relaxation. Interior design -- from small touches to the choice of furniture -- can help you create a perfect hygge haven. And as warmth is one of the key elements of the concept, what better season to try to introduce some hygge into your home life than winter?
1) The hygge look and feel is cosy yet simple. Think streamlined furniture, and no clutter, but combine it with numerous, high-quality, soft blankets for warmth.
2)Open fire is one of the best way to evoke the warm-and-comforting hygge feeling. If you have a fireplace or a woodburner with a glass door, make it a focus of your room. And even if you don’t, candles will do wonders to lift spirits in the dark of the winter evenings.
3)Not just candles, but the right kind of lighting -- bright where necessary for reading or handicrafts (knitting is very hygge indeed!) and low and warm in other places -- will make your spaces more calm and inviting. “Warm white” light bulbs, strings of lights and a selection of floor and table lamps to create luminous oases of indirect light instead of sharper ceiling-mounted overhead options will help you create the right mood.
4) Natural colours and materials typically found in Scandi interiors express the true spirit of hygge. Natural wood, whether solid or veneers, such as natural oak, beech or walnut are a safe bet, as are rugs in simple but not stark designs (smooth geometric patterns, plaid, minimalist plant-inspired shapes) in natural fabrics such as linen, jute, or wool.
5)Hide your electronics until you need to use them. Music (soothing rather than loud) is an important part of hygge, but the sharp line of audio-visual devices can intrude in the climate of serene warmth you want to create, so don’t make the TV screen the permanent focus of your living space and consider concealing your electronic equipment in cabinets.
6)Create a tranquil, cosy space devoted to relaxation and your personal me-time. Whether it’s taking a few minutes out for a cup of well-brewed coffee or an hour in the evening to curl up with a good book, appreciating small things in life is what hygge is all about.
7)However tranquil and minimalist hygge-conducive design might be, introducing your individual touches, keepsakes or creations will help you make the space more personal and more emotionally as well as practically comfortable.
8)And finally, remember that hygge is primarily about enjoyable, unrushed, intimate social encounters with your friends and loved ones: wholesome food and mulled wine by the fireside, a bracing wintertime walk, baking a cake to your great-grandmother’s treasured recipe and sharing it with others.
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