How To Hygge: 8 Scandinavian Design Lessons

This season is all about celebrating hygge— a cozy twist on Scandinavian living that takes stock in simple pleasures.

As irresistible as wearing a pair of fuzzy knitted socks, and as comforting as a hot bowl of porridge, hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) is the hottest home design trend burning up Instagram and Pinterest feeds. Hygge translates roughly to "cozy" in Danish, and is intrinsic to the Scandinavian way of life that revolves around the ritual of enjoying life's simple pleasures. This meditative approach to home living is a cozy twist on Scandinavian design that brings warmth to your home that feels inviting and satisfying. It's all about appreciating beautiful design and savoring everyday routines to nourish the soul. Here are eight ways to bring hygge into your home, and see you through the winter months.       


Usher In Atmosphere

With hygge, it's all about cultivating an environment that is filled with coziness and indulges in small pleasures. Usher in an atmosphere that invites you to linger a little longer and transforms any space into a place for rejuvenation. Opt for a calming color palette with natural elements to build a place for serenity and peace. Think warm woods and stone ceramics mixed with cozy fabrics, like flannel and linen. If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace, building a crackling fire and gathering round the warm glow of a hearth is the ultimate in hygge living. Using candles and home scents also work wonders to build a soothing atmosphere that feels cozy and relaxing. Hygge is about emphasizing small pleasures that feel indulgent, and the luxury that comes in the deliberation. 

Layer In Soft Furnishings

Natural textures, clean lines, and soft hues bring a serenity to living spaces that is quintessential hygge. Introducing plenty of warm, natural materials such as lambskin, wool, and leather not only adds richness to furniture, it adds texture that feels fresh and inviting. Dress your sofa with plush pillows and vintage textiles for added warmth. Chunky knits are a sumptuous upgrade that will add instant hygge appeal— perfect for cozying up when temperatures are less than ideal.    




Build A "Hyggekrug" (aka Cozy Corner) 


Hygge is all about reveling in a cozy spot, especially if that spot is a tucked-away nook where you can indulge your interests. We believe every home should have a cozy corner to retreat to and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Devote a small space for yourself to unwind, recharge, and enjoy the simple pleasures in life. We like the idea of a book nook. All you need to fashion an inspiring, intimate haven is seating by way of a cushy armchair (or a luxurious chaise lounge) and an end table topped with a stack of your favorite books. Drape a furry throw over a chair, and you can transform even the smallest space in your home into a well-deserved cozy retreat.


Let The Light In


Basking in the glow of natural daylight is a cherished Scandinavian custom, in part because long Scandinavian winters bring the shortest days of the year. Naturally, light is a highly valued commodity. It's a powerful (yet simple) element that adds radiant energy to a room that lifts spirits and creates a fresh, positive atmosphere. To give your space a serene hygge feeling, let in as much natural light as possible. Take advantage wherever possible, and flood your home with bright illumination. Declutter window sills, pull up the blinds, or place a seat directly windowside to soak in all the natural, gorgeous light.      


Stay In Bed

The hygge state of mind firmly encourages practicing simple luxurious acts that make indulgences, like spending an extra hour or two in bed, feel especially extravagant. Whether you're swaddled in your bed's best linens enjoying a doze, having breakfast in bed, or catching up on the morning paper, there just something irresistible in hitting the snooze button and staying in bed crawled under the covers. Pile on the comforters, blankets, and pillows for a luxurious place to relax. 


Relax In A Spa Sanctuary

Rather than rushing through a quick morning shower, remember that hygge is all about slowing down and infusing a kind of mindfulness to everyday activities. The bath is the perfect place to pamper yourself, and Scandinavians are well-known for their traditional saunas that offer a place for rest and rejuvenation. Spa-like bathrooms are an interior design trend on the rise, tranforming often uninspired, functional spaces into a place to relax and unwind. We can't think of anything better than soaking in a warm, calming bath, and wrapping ourselves in a white, fluffy towel afterwards. It's the little luxuries in life that truly nourish the soul.  






Savor Flavors 


Hygge pertains to all five senses, and taste is certainly no exception. Fill your belly with hot stews and home-baked goods that also fill the air with irresistible homey ambiance. Hearty and rich, comfort cuisine not only nourishes your body, but also nourishes your spirit during the cold winter months. Warmed-up beverages like a cup of tea, hot chocolate, or mulled wine are meant to be savored slowly for a satisfying experience that warms you from the inside out.    


Spend Time With Family And Friends


Perhaps the biggest tenet of hygge living is the central role that community plays in enjoying life's simple pleasures. Hospitality, warmth, and intimacy are hygge principles that truly sustain and nourish your life. A simple meal, watching a movie, or listening to music are feel-good activities that are best enjoyed while gathered round in the company of loved ones. Sharing in these activities with family and friends not only make the winter months more bearable, but brings joy to everyday living. Be sure to bring in communal seating by way of benches and cushions to fit everyone in. 


Ready to bring hygge into your home? Shop our favorite Nordic-inspired picks


(Photo Credits: My Scandinavian Home, Apartment Therapy, Design Sponge, One Kings Lane | Article by Christine Villanueva)