What is Hygge Design?
ASK THE DESIGNER- “I have been hearing a lot about Hygge design. What is Hygge Design? Is it only for winter months?”
This is a great question, what is Hygge design? I am so glad you asked and that I have received so many great emails about it. The Hygge design movement has been all the rage over the past few winter months and slowly creeping its way into the US. It seems to be moving even slower getting to the south, where I am located. Since we do not have heavy winter’s here our winter Hygge would need to be scaled back just a bit. Hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah” or “Who-gah” not higgie…. even though that would be such a cool name for a design concept) Hygge is a design fundamental from the Danish culture. It is the Danish word for describing coziness, comfort, along with the feelings of wellness and contentment. There are so many ways to describe this design concept, but the simplest way is the enjoying of life’s simple pleasures with friends, family and graciousness. Hygge is so much bigger than just a design concept, it is a total lifestyle.
Since you specifically asked about Hygge in design I will start there. Most of the Hygge design concepts I have seen lately have concentrated on the creature comforts for the winter months by utilizing such material as shearling, knit or fur through the use of pillows, throws, socks, and bedding. For example, you may have seen a pictures that consisted of a chunky knit blanket, with a pretty cup of tea by the fireside, and thought oh Hygge is cozy for winter. News flash, it can be celebrated and enjoyed year round. Since it is all about wellbeing, and surrounding yourself with the things that you love. It can be any season, a cozy winter’s morn, a fresh rejuvenating spring, a warm balmy summer’s night, to a bountiful fall harvest, really anything goes.
The main design concepts associated with Hygge:
- Cozy and Comfortable– Hygge does not a thrive in sterile environments, like a staged magazine photo that looks untouched or un-lived-in. This will also include your homes climate, not too hot or too cold.
- Incorporating Your Past- Your past is your story. By displaying pieces of meaning, proudly among the treasures of your home, you are embracing your history, your story. This is the number one miss when decorating. You can buy a bunch of pretty things but if you have no story to go along with them, they have no value to you as a person. Which gives your home more of a staged feeling. Hygge wants you to surround yourself with the things you love and incorporate them into your home for an authentic feeling.
- Less is More- minimalist design is important. You should have a few high quality items that mean something to you, rather than a lot of trendy space fillers. Decluttered countertops, clean lines and light color pallets all promote a minimalist feeling in a home.
Hygge Design & The 5 Senses:
- Sight- Lighting, while esthetically pleasing, is a nice way to create a proper Hygge environment. You need your lighting to be first and foremost functional for the space, then concentrate on the pretty. Color pallets need to be pleasing to the eyes as well, it can be monotone or even bright colors. I find that sea tones, in blues and greens, create my happy spots. Visual texture is also very important you want to create a environment that has sensation without even touching it.
- Sound- music is also a large aspect of creating a beautiful and comfortable environment. Serine and soft sounds that evoke a sense of peace. Sounds of crickets, babbling brooks or ocean waves will all fit the bill. For me, I find a lot of serenity in the subtle sounds of nature. The tree frogs and crickets that inhabit this little duck pond off my sleeping porch are nature’s perfect lullaby at night.
- Smell- candles and aroma therapy are also very Hygge. Pick a smell that you like and makes you feel calm and happy. This could be the smell of fresh linen, your favorite perfume, scented candles or even room diffusers with healing essential oils. A fresh bouquet of flowers can provide a scent and visual coziness along with a sense of welcoming, you can check out easy ways to design your own centerpieces and bouquets from yard clippings here at my Floral Design post.
- Texture- a focus on touch and feel is important too. Adding warm woods, smooth leathers, and cozy linens will go a long way in creating your perfect cocoon. Warm cozy socks and cuddly soft Pajamas are both considered very Hygge. Texture can be enjoyed both by adding visual interest and by actual touch. We recently added this great DIY mantle to a guest room to add some texture.
- Taste- while taste may not seem to have much to do with the design concept. Hygge includes having all the creature comforts surrounding you, including your favorite foods. It is all part of promoting the well being and comfort of your soul. This is my Chicken and Wild Rice Instant Pot recipe below which is perfect for making your cozy inside and out.
In conclusion, Hygge is not something you buy, but more of a state of mind. It speaks to an atmosphere you have created. It’s a peaceful place filled with zen, maybe it’s one of the reasons that the Danes are nominated the happiest people in the world.So, now when you see these design concept you will know a little bit more about the hygge movement. Heck you can even impress your friends over dinner one night with all your new found knowledge about hygge design over a glass of your favorite vino which is also very hygge.