When winter is around the corner, I look forward to preparing the home for longer evenings and colder weather. Here’s my 5 top tips for taking the Danish ‘Hygge’ approach to enjoying simple, comforting pleasures at home in winter – after all Denmark is known as the happiest nation.
Tip 1: Light the Way to Happiness
The fastest way to bring Hygge into the home, is with candles! Don’t just limit them to the living room or dining table either, we are talking the bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and study. Don’t just burn them for special occasions either and don’t limit yourself to just one or two (31% of Danes light more than 5 candles at once) and then the flickering flames will detract from the darkness outside. Lighting is another crucial element of creating the cosy atmosphere of Hygge. Harsh lighting that fills a room is a no-no, so turn them down, or even better, create soothing pools of lights around the room, using soft bulbs and shades.
Tip 2: A Cosy Nook
Danish homes will nearly always have a cosy nook or “hyggekrog”, for curling up in at the end of a busy day. You can easily create one at home; in a bay window, by the fire, under some stairs. Somewhere you can feel present, away from screens, with a book or listening to music perhaps. But, the most important element of all, is plenty of cushions, throws and blankets. The more inviting looking, the better!
Tip 3: Tactile Touches
There’s just something about wood in the home. Maybe it makes us feel nostalgic and comforted, maybe it’s the natural element or the simplicity. In winter, nothing beats coming home to aged solid wood flooring, sitting on a vintage chair with wooden arms, positioned on a soft rug in front of a log burning stove. Other tactile touches for the home at this time of year include soft throws, a favourite ceramic mug or wooden board game – anything textured you feel you want to run your fingers over.
Tip 4: Emergency Treats
Perhaps the ultimate at-home hygge moment, or “hyggestund”, requires an emergency kit. These are perfect for times when you’re feeling low on energy, have nothing planned and are in the mood for quality time at home. My hygge box favourites are good quality chocolate and herbal tea, a much-loved book or new magazine, a boxset or film I’ve been looking forward to watching, a photo album full of happy memories, a cosy jumper and some warm socks. Opening that box is like receiving a warm hug!
Tip 5: Simplicity Means Success
For a Hygge home to succeed in creating happiness, simplicity is key. Use the winter months to have a purge on clutter. For example, a sitting room or dining room shouldn’t house storage, just simply what you need to live in that space. Then the focus on relaxation and feeling present can truly begin.