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What is Hygge and How to Use it in Interior Design [2018]

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What the heck is Hygge and how can we use it in interior design? Hygge, pronounced Hue-guh....not Hoo-gah as stated almost everywhere, is a Danish word that is used to acknowledge a “feeling” of comfort, familiarity and coziness. It's about being present and enjoying each moment. It’s about being content with what you have, spending time with the people you love and connecting with nature. It’s a lifestyle, not a design style. So how can we use Hygge in interior design?  More on that in a minute.

Hygge Friends
Photo Credit: Burst

The Danish created Hygge because their climate consists of so many cold and dark days. Hygge presents a way for them to celebrate dismal days by creating special moments out of ordinary rituals and routines. Because the Hygge lifestyle embraces the idea of being present in each moment and appreciating every aspect of it, it can be achieved in interior design through incorporating details that make a design more special, comfortable or enjoyable. Therefore, we don’t source furniture and décor that is Hygge style; rather we source furniture and décor that gives us the “feeling” of Hygge.  Make sense? Here’s an example of what I mean…. 
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Let’s say you’re shopping for a new sofa. You won’t find a style filter for Hygge when shopping online with furniture retailers.  However, you will find an upholstery filter for fabrics and one for features as well. So, what you need to do is think about the fabrics that feel good on your skin, make you feel comfortable and keep you feeling cozy. Consider whether you prefer a firm seat or soft seat as well. In this example, you might choose a sofa with linen upholstery fabric and down filled cushions. 

 hygge sofa
Photo Credit: Roberto Nickson via Unsplash

When using Hygge in interior design, think about the things in your daily life that bring you joy. Then think about ways that would help you to feel this joy more often and more deeply. Too vague?  Okay, here’s another example….

Let’s say you love to sip tea every morning while reading the paper.  In terms of interior design, what could make you enjoy this ritual more, while still bringing beauty to your space?  Maybe it’s a personalized nook for you to hide away in.  Maybe it’s an ultra-comfortable chair for you to sit in while you read, or maybe it’s a special teacup that had such a beautiful design that you couldn’t resist spending $65.00 on just one of them. Whatever it is, incorporate it into your home to help create a deeper connection with the daily ritual you are performing and savour each and every moment.

Hygge teacup
Royal Albert

I hope this is getting clearer now, but just to be sure I’ll run through a few more suggestions for incorporating Hygge into interior design. 

BE ONE WITH NATURE
Studies show that decreased exposure to nature increases levels of mental illness, including anxiety disorders and depression (PNAS). It’s no surprise then, that connecting with nature is a valuable part of the Hygge lifestyle.  Use wood elements in décor, use flowers and plants to add colour and light, use fruit or vegetables in table displays.

Hygge incoporates natural wood elements 
Wayfair

USE CANDLES
It’s amazing what a glowing candle can do to a person’s spirit.  Use candles in your home on a regular basis to create ambience, relaxation and intimacy.

 Hygge light candles
Pottery Barn

PICK A CALMING COLOUR SCHEME
Comfort and calm practically go hand-in-hand.  Therefore, if you want to express your desire for Hygge in interior design, then you definitely want to choose to a calming colour palette.  Stick with whites, off-whites and muted tones of blue, green and brown for the most comforting spaces.

Hygge Colour Schemes

Peaceful
Comfort
Relaxing
Calming

LET THE LIGHT IN
Take advantage of natural light whenever possible.  Lift the shades, open the drapes or leave windows bare to let in the sunshine, as well as take in a view of any nature outdoors.

Hygge window to naturePhoto Credit: Pixabay

INVEST IN YOUR BEDDING
Stay away from standard sheet sets and comforters.  Instead, pay a little extra for high thread count natural fabrics and down filled duvets for maximum comfort.

 Hygge comfortable bedding
Photo Credit: Sylvie Tittle via Unsplash 

CHOOSE LIFE
As already mentioned, Hygge is all about being present, enjoying simple pleasures, familiarity and comfort.  “Live” in your home. I know that seems pretty obvious, but what I mean is “use your home.”  With Hygge it’s not about how the design looks, it’s about how the design feels.  Choose furnishings and décor that are comfortable. Visit with friends and family regularly. Enjoy simple pleasures.  

Hygge Dinner PartyPhoto Credit: Canva

This quote by Louisa Thomsen Brits in “The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well,” sums it up perfectly… “At the heart of Hygge is a willingness to set aside time for simply being with people, and ideally, having all the time in the world for them. Hygge is a vehicle for showing that we care. It's a way of paying attention to our children or partners and friends in the messy reality of the here and now, and putting down the distractions that pull us in different directions. So many of us are drawn to a virtual world of connectivity. Hygge isn't about a life without technology, but it asks us to balance our commitments and remember the value of human interaction, conversation and physical intimacy. It liberates us to fully inhabit the moment without feeling compelled to record it.”

So that’s Hygge in a nutshell. Which suggestion will you use to incorporate Hygge into your home? Leave your comments below. And as always, if you have any questions or you'd like help with your next interior design project, check out our services or feel free to contact me; I'd love to help!

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Thanks for reading and until next time, I hope you find time in your days to relax, unwind and be with your loved ones. Cheers!

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 Val Malnar
Val Malnar
Principal Designer | Orangetree Interiors

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Unless stated, I do not own any of the images posted on this blog. If you see your work on my site and I have not given you proper credit or you would like it to be removed, please contact me.  This post may include affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information. 

 

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Comments


  • Thanks for the message bentokai. Glad you liked the post. You’re so right about creating space. Sometimes using psychological tricks can make you “feel” like there is more space even when there isn’t. I think hygge is a perfect example of how to create a feeling of warmth and coziness even if your space is minimalistic. Thanks again for reading. :)

    Val Malnar on
  • Thanks for the sharing this post. I like it very much .My post also like minimalist life style.I hope you like it .
    Transitioning to a smaller place comes with both pros and cons. On one hand, you’ll probably have cheaper rent so you can use your money in other ways throughout your life. On the other hand, it may be hard to bring some of your things over from your larger place. Even though it’s good to purge your things every once in a while, you’ll probably have those core items that you just can’t let go. But, there are many ways that you can trick your mind (and others too!) that you’re living in a larger space than you are. All you need is some imagination and maybe a mirror or two.

    bentokai on

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