Hyyge (pronounced hoo-ga) was without a doubt the word of 2016. There have been numerous books written about it, countless Instagram posts tagged with #hygge or #hyggehome and experts swear that bringing hygge into your daily life can improve it significantly.
But what exactly does hygge mean? And how can you bring hygge into your home? My beginner’s guide will reveal all.
First, a dictionary definition from Oxford Dictionaries:
A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)
Quite simply, hygge is not any certain thing, and what might be hygge for one person, might not be for another. Hygge is a feeling, a quality, an emotion. Hygge can be planned, or it can be unexpected.
To get yourself started I recommend reading the following books:
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – the ultimate introduction to hygge
Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell Søderberg – a book to really hit home about what hygge is all about
The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Living Well by Louisa Thomson Brits – ideas on how to live your best hygge life
Hygge is often associated with food and drink, and there are many recipes that have been written especially for those in search of cosiness. If you need a basic hygge shopping list, these are some things to add:
- Freshly baked bread .
- Cinnamon buns
- Warm soup (if it’s homemade, even better)
- Fresh coffee
- Hot chocolate and marshmallows
- Mulled wine
- Hot apple pie and fresh cream
- Red wine
There are some great sites out there that have compiled lists of hygge-friendly recipes, such as Self, Brit and BBC Food.
The next key point about mastering hygge is to make your living space a place to relax and feel content. Clutter, noise and feeling cold are all things that won’t help when it comes to having a hygge home, so there are some things you may want to do to create a cozy atmosphere:
- Fill your home with candles. For me, candles symbolise optimal calmness – and I regularly stock up and place them all around my flat. You don’t have to go really expensive either – Primark do a great selection of scented candles, as well as places like Wilkinson’s and most major supermarkets. I have one or two ‘luxury brands’ which I save for special occasions.
- Have a selection of blankets on hand. Is there anything better than curling up with a cup of tea, a good book and a blanket? I have a box of blankets next to the sofa, which I reach for most evenings when I am starting to drift off. It’s nice to switch off all cozy and warm, whilst delving into a new novel or even scrolling aimlessly through Buzzfeed. Such a small thing, but that is ‘hygge’ for me.
- Other home items that are perfect for hygge include a log fire, a little reading nook, a small balcony with space for a few friends to enjoy a bottle of wine, a bar cart, fairy lights, a bubble bath, plenty of cushions…the list could go on but hopefully by now you have a good idea of what a hygge home might look like.
Hopefully the above is enough to get started with a hygge lifestyle. Just remember that hygge is different for everybody, and ultimately it is about feeling happy and content with life’s simple pleasures. Whether that is a soak in the tub, or a wine and cheese night with friends – or even a good book read in bed with a hot water bottle…hygge is what you make of it.
What do you do to feel hygge? Have you made any changes to your lifestyle to have more hygge in your life?