In this article, we compiled a list of 7 essential elements to turn your home or workspace into a hygge-luscious haven easily.
We are grateful to have spent some time in Scandinavian countries and introduced to the hygge way of being and living. After which, we spent many hours researching and understanding what hygge means and incorporated it into our daily lives and surroundings.
Research shows that people who are more mindful of their surroundings have lower levels of anxiety and depression (The Harvard Gazette). Hygge décor is about creating and enjoying an atmosphere of comfort and warmth while taking joy in the simple things in life. It is less about extravagant embellishments and more of practicality and assuredness. And it can be felt all year round!
Read on to bring hygge into your home or workspace.
- Neutral Pastel Colors
- Warm Lights & Aromas
- Layer With Soft Textures
- Bring In Nature To Nurture
- Less Is More
- Bonding Areas
- Personal Sanctuary
1. Neutral pastel colors
Hygge is all about using neutral, warm tones to bring about a harmonious and calm atmosphere. The colors are streamlined to evoke a sense of oneness and balance.
Do: Blend white, off white, light grays, browns and creams when choosing colors for walls, draping, furniture or fixtures. White as a primary color can brighten and make a room look bigger. Yet, it also attracts and reflects bright white light. To offset this high contrast, work in off-whites, brown tones, or pastel colors to soften the bright white and inspire a balanced feel. Pro tip: No more than 3 matching colors.
Avoid: Though bright colors energize, too much will over stimulate and hinder unwinding (99Designs). Avoid vivid bright colors that can be jarring and in your face. The odd burst can do; it adds character and an understated vibrancy, i.e. an art piece, family portrait or centerpiece.
2. Warm lights and aromas
It is well known that the Danes light more candles than anywhere in Europe, and with good reason (Economist). The warm glow and diffused lighting creates an enchanting and delicate aura. Pair warm lights with aromatic candles to tingle the senses and create a delightful cozy ambiance.
Do: Disperse candles, lamps or fairy lights over different areas. For example, drape fairy lights over the fireplace mantle, windows or bed headrests. In the use of artificial light, choose warm lighting or color changing lights.
Do: Infuse scents in your surroundings to transform your mood and energy levels. This can be from scented candles, essential oils, plants or as simple as herbs lying in the kitchen. Different scents have different benefits and purposes. For example, jasmine and lavender have relaxing and antidepressant properties (ref). Rosemary and cinnamon have ‘pick me up’ effects to boost focus and fight mental fatigue.
Avoid: Stay away from bright heavy lights as they emit the most UV radiation and cause damage to the eye, especially white cool fluorescent tube bulbs and incandescent bulbs (ref).
3. Layer with soft textures
The layering of soft texture and natural material mellows a space instantly.
Do: Layer furnishings with soft materials such as wool, leather and cotton.. For example, the use of throw pillows & blankets over a sofa, faux fur area rugs or smooth leather table mats.. Contrary to what many people perceive, hygge applies to seasons apart from winter. Use thinner materials for the warmer months and choose colors to suit the season. This plays into being congruent with the mood, colors and flavor of the seasons.
Do: Apart from decorative purposes, indulge yourself in certain pieces that bring about joy and contentment. For example, a heavy weighted blanket in bed to provide a sense of security and improved sleep, or a cashmere scarf to feel soft and light.
4. Bring in nature to nurture
Not only does layering with soft and natural texture soothe tactilely, it is a great way to bring the outdoors in, which is instrumental in inducing relaxation.
Do: Bring the outdoors in with natural elements such as wood, bamboo, ceramics and plants! There are many psychological and physical benefits of greenery in your space (at home or in the office) like boosting productivity and purifying air. It can also add a pop of color.
Do: Reuse and repurpose. Not only are you doing Mother Earth a favor, it is an inimitable way to add character and nostalgia into your space. Use items that are vintage, antique or personal. It could be as simple as framing up family photos or using recycled wooden panels to build a feature wall. It is also a useful way to declutter (see #5). The perfection is in its imperfection, let your creativity flow.
Avoid: Before we start stuffing up every corner of the house like a Christmas turkey, let’s bear in mind hygge is about balance and comfort. Too much of something is not a good thing, which brings us to the next point.
5. Less is more
Let’s slow down and moderate. Hygge is about enjoying the simple things in life, which is reflected in the design of spaces: neat and considered detailed. Spaces are calm and an invitation to decompress.
Do: Declutter and organize, a clear space associates with a clear mind. Invest in smart storage solutions which help to save time and energy in finding things. It also saves money in long term household maintenance. This is applicable to small apartments where prioritizing is key to opening spaces. Time to conjure your inner Maria Kondo!
6. Bonding Areas
Humans are by nature ‘social animals’ (Aristotle). We seek love and belonging from our engagement with others. Hygge embodies this with its mantra centered around togetherness and feelings of fulfillment. Our homes are spaces where we often invite friends and family to make merry over food and drink. It doesn’t have to be complex nor space consuming.
Do: Use existing spaces that serve a certain function, whether indoors and outdoors. For example, some seats around the fireplace, dining table or bookcase creates a space for conversations. Set up a karaoke set or wireless game console and it opens up countless opportunities for laughter and connection. Have an outdoor BBQ ready for those nice summer days and you get hygge all year round.
Do: Think of hobbies, even daily tasks you enjoy and set up an experience around it. For example, gather friends over to bake sourdough bread. Small space? You don’t have to eke out an extra room to create hygge, it’s how we use what we have to create a warm atmosphere. Throw around a few floor cushions (with a lot of chocolate) and tadah….a cozy place to enjoy fika.
7. Personal sanctuary
Though our home can serve as a wonderful place for communion, it is also paramount for us to detach and unwind. We need space and time for solo intimacy and leisure.
Do: Create a hyggekrog or a dedicated space in a room for some individual relaxation. Call it your special corner to chill or catch a breather. It could be a reading nook or in the kitchen, living room, or bedroom. Start by choosing somewhere snug and calming, like by a window sill or balcony. Next, carve the space by placing a chair. Finish off by layering with a soft rug, faux grass carpet or throw.
Do: Turn your bathroom into a spa-like haven rather than an indoor outhouse.
The bathroom is often used as if pulling off a bank heist – in and out, fast and clean. But, it is also the place where we have our private moments in which to feel vulnerable, cleansed, and free to ‘let it go’.
Try reinventing the space into a getaway where one finds refuge and pleasure. Start by decluttering and organizing your space. Next, refresh the senses by adding in your favorite scents with a diffuser or use a small plant to introduce a natural element. Place a plush mat between the wet and dry areas, or indulge in thick fluffy robes or lounge wear to soothe. It is the small changes that make the big differences.
Whether you’re looking to design a new space, create a snug corner in your home, or make an area more inviting for guests and family members alike, there are many ways to incorporate the principles of hygge décor. The key to making it cozy and joyful is to keep it simple and organized, with warm elements thoughtfully layered. In doing so, not only will your home feel more hyggelig, it will help with mental health and wellbeing.