Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”) is a Danish concept that embodies a sense of coziness, contentment, and well-being through enjoying the simple things in life. Originating in Denmark, a country known for its very long, harsh winters, Hygge has become a way of life, focusing on warmth, spending time with loved ones, and creating serene atmosphere — it’s about creating a space that brings comfort and joy, especially during the cold and dark months.
Fresno’s winters may not be harsh compared to Denmark’s (thankfully) but that doesn’t mean you might not be experiencing a bit of the winter blues. During the colder months, we feel more tired as our bodies naturally want to sync to the rhythm of the sun, so the early darkness can zap our energy. When we’re tired and it’s cold and dark out, we’re also less likely to be motivated to get outside, make social plans, go out in the evenings, and well, you get the idea. All of these shifts can contribute toward a downer of a season but it doesn’t have to be this way.
Last year, I stumbled across a video online of how a woman chose to fully embrace the hygge concept in her home and instead of dreading and simply enduring winter to get to spring, she decided she would embrace it as a special time to enjoy the height of coziness in her life. She now looks forward to winter, and I wanted to feel that way so I followed her lead last year, and it really helped!
Here are 8 Ways You Can Add Hygge Touches to Your Living Space (and enjoy the winter more)
1. Layered Lighting: The Hygge Way of Illumination
Hygge places a strong emphasis on lighting. Use a combination of soft, warm lights like table lamps, candlelight, string lights and fairy lights to create a warm ambiance. The house can feel a little empty after you take down a lighted Christmas Tree – but there’s no rule against putting lights around your houseplants! (I have warm white fairy lights set on a timer to come on in the evenings on my tall fiddle leaf fig tree in our living room.) Try to avoid cool, fluorescent, and overhead lighting after sundown each day, and use your lower, warm lights instead. This approach adds warmth and intimacy to your living spaces. (We’ve gotten quite silly about this in our house, even making an x symbol with our hands and acting similar to a vampire facing garlic if someone turns on an overhead light after sundown “Ahhhh the big light! Noooooo!”)
2. Textural Comfort: Blankets and Pillows
Soft, plush textiles like wool, fleece, or cashmere blankets and pillows add visual warmth and comfort, inviting relaxation and coziness. If you have a membership, Costco & Sam’s Club have some of the BEST, high quality blankets and throw pillows around for incredibly affordable prices – you just have to catch them when they’re in stock. (The Mon Chateau Faux Fur blankets and the Berkshire Home heated throws are amongst the best if you can score them in store!) Keep throws near every seating area you frequent in your home, and even layer them.
3. Warm Color Palette: Earthy and Inviting
Choose a warm, earthy color palette with soft tans and pale terra cottas, creamy whites, and muted greens or to create a serene and inviting atmosphere. Bring these colors into your living space with your throws, pillows, bedding and small décor items. You don’t have to spend a lot – thrifting and vintage store shopping can lead to some of the most fantastic home décor around.
4. The Joy of Reading: Creating a Cozy Nook
A comfortable chair, a small bookshelf, and a warm throw can transform an unused space into a cozy reading nook, perfect for relaxation. If you don’t have a dedicated spot that you’ll truly want to use for reading, you’re likely not going to engage in the activity. Not a reader? That’s ok – what do you like? Building Lego sets? Putting puzzles together? Playing board games? Whatever you enjoy – make a cozy, dedicated space so that you’ll look forward to and actually engage in your favorite cozy winter pastime.
5. Nature Indoors: Plants and Natural Elements
Enhance warmth by bringing elements of nature indoors, such as houseplants, wooden furniture, stone accents, or a bowl of pinecones. If you struggle to get much natural light in your home, especially during the winter, you can snag a clip-on plant light with timers on Amazon for less than $20 to help keep your houseplants thriving. (Personally, I find that my houseplants, despite sitting near windows, need a little supplemental light November through February to continue to thrive – so if you’re seeing leaves turn yellow or drop – you may want to consider a plant light.)
6. Aromatic Comfort: Scents of Warmth and Relaxation
Fill your home with warm aromas like vanilla, cinnamon, or sandalwood using candles, essential oil diffusers, or simmer pots to create a comforting atmosphere. The wonderful, cozy scent is also a great excuse to brew an extra pot of coffee or steep your favorite tea, too.
7. Tactile Rugs: Warmth Underfoot
Plush rugs add warmth and texture, especially to areas with tile or hardwood floors, and contribute to the overall aesthetic of your home. Stores tend to clear out quite a bit of last year’s home décor around January, too, so it may be an excellent time to find a new area rug at a low price. World Market, Target, and Costco have been my favorite places to score affordable yet attractive and durable rugs for the home.
8. Shared Moments: Emphasizing Togetherness
Create spaces for gathering with loved ones (and this means in your schedule, too), as Hygge emphasizes the joy of shared experiences and togetherness. We naturally thrive when we feel a part of community, so try not to slip into the habit of avoiding going out and spending time with friends – quality time with good company goes a long way in keeping our spirits up, all year long.
As you incorporate these Hygge-inspired touches into your home, remember that the essence of this cozy Danish concept is not just in the things you surround yourself with, but also in the way you perceive and enjoy the winter season. So, light up those fairy lights, snuggle under a plush blanket, and revel in the warmth and joy these simple pleasures bring. Winter doesn’t have to be a season to endure; it can be a time to cherish and celebrate the comfort of your own home, surrounded by the things and people you love. Here’s to a cozier, happier winter filled with Hygge moments!
- A Novel Experience: Uncovering the Charms of Bookish in Fresno’s Tower District - February 23, 2024
- 5 Local Businesses You May Not Know - February 16, 2024
- From Heartache to Hope: How One Fresno Man’s Legacy Game ‘Seek Then Find’ Is Uniting Families and Inspiring Learners - February 8, 2024