Have you ever wondered why Denmark is considered one of the happiest countries on Earth?
The answer is very simple. One word. Hygge.
Hhyooguh? Hooga? Heurgh? It really doesn’t matter how you choose to pronounce or even spell it. What’s important is what the word embodies. And that’s exactly what we’re going to unravel in this article.
So sit back, relax, make yourself a cup of tea, and dive in. What you are about to learn may change your life for the better. I promise you. (1)
What Is A Hygge Danish Lifestyle?
Let me paint a clear picture for you. Close your eyes. Now imagine being surrounded by everything that brings you utmost joy and pleasure. Imagine being genuinely happy with just being present here and now. Imagine appreciating tiny bits of your everyday life that up until now you didn’t even notice. Imagine having your loved ones gathered around you, enjoying a lovely night over some delicious food and wonderful conversation.
Try to feel that warmth in your heart. Can you feel it? Well, that’s what the Hygge lifestyle means. That’s what being in tune with it feels like to be. Just listing these activities had a therapeutic, Hyggelig effect on me. Imagine living through them. I could really go on forever.
In a nutshell, the Hygge lifestyle is one of the few reasons Danish people are amongst the happiest on Earth. The word itself may not be translatable into a word or a phrase, but it can be deeply felt through many of life’s simple pleasures. Gratitude, atmosphere, presence, and togetherness are merely a few of the many values that contribute to the Hygge concept.
What Does The Word Hygge Means?
We’ve all heard the term Hygge, but have you wondered what it really means? Well, to those of you who haven’t got a clue, this Scandinavian word represents genuine wellbeing and sheer enjoyment in life. Put simply, hygge is the Danish word for cozy. It gives life to all those wonderful feelings of cozy contentment, happiness, and fulfillment we often get by simply appreciating the little things in life.
“Hygge,” pronounced hooga, derives from a sixteenth-century Norwegian term hugga (hoo-ga) which means “to comfort,” “to console,” and it is roughly linked to the English word “hug.” However, the concept of Hygge goes back to the 1800s in Denmark. The term itself has no direct translation to English. However, the closest, most relatable meaning is “cozy”. Basically, anything related to comfort, simplicity, and enjoying life to the fullest. Put it simply, Hygge is the antidote to ignorance.
Тhe concept of hygge consists of a few important factors such as being aware of the present moment, showing gratitude, embracing comfort and pleasure, and enjoying togetherness. You just can’t have one without the other. In the end, it’s all about adopting the spontaneous pace of life and remembering to stop and “smell the flowers.”
The thing about hygge is that Danes practice it all year round. Even though it’s considered a cure for their long, cold dark winter days, they enjoy it equally as much in the summer. However, it’s not just Danes that have a thing for hygge. The concept of hygge is adopted in the neighboring Nordic countries as well. They just have different words for it. For example, Swedes use their own word to describe this notion – “mys”. The Norwegians have their own term as well. They use the word koselig. To them, koselig is a feeling of intimacy, warmth, and getting together.
Long story short, these are some of the reasons why despite the harsh weather, all of the Scandinavian nations regularly rank among the world’s happiest countries according to the World Happiness Report, an annual survey that lists countries based on how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.
How Do You Pronounce Hygge?
The word hygge is pronounced “hoo-gah”. As I’ve mentioned before, its origin dates back to the 16th century and it is tightly associated with the Norse word hugga (hoo-ga) which means “to comfort”, “to console”. Spelling and pronouncing it isn’t the hard part. What’s trickier is explaining it and well, adopting it as a way of life.
What Does Living A Hyggelyg Life Looks Like – Examples Of Hygge
Even though the very first idea of hygge that comes to everyone’s mind is lighting candles and sipping on hot cocoa, there’s actually more to it than just that. Hygge is not some random object you notice sitting on a shelf and buy it. The whole concept wraps around an ethereal experience, rather than a material one. It is being intimate with yourself, soothing your soul, eliminating annoyances around you, creating a safe and comfortable space for yourself as well as your loved ones, and simply being at peace. It is a process of creating intimacy. It is a warm, fuzzy, wonderful feeling of home. It is finding sanctuary in the ordinary.
Has Hygge Anything To Do With The Word Hug?
The first time hygge appeared in written Danish is the early 1800. The original word has Norwegian origin and it means well-being. However hygge is very likely to originate from the word hug. For those of you that may not know this, the word hug actually comes from the 1560s word hugge which means “to embrace”. Now “hugga” is of an unknown origin. Some say that it may originate from the Old Norse hygge which means “to comfort”.
One thing is for sure, whatever its origin “hugga” is definitely a synonym for good vibes.
Hygge Décor: What Is It And How Do You Bring It In Your Home?
While the word itself encompasses the soothing and pleasurable Danish way of life, hygge cannot exist without the material aspect. In other words, their way of life also embodies a special kind of décor. Keep in mind that the general idea behind hygge is relieving yourself from all the stress and creating a healing and serene haven. The first rule about hygge décor is eliminating all the clutter which means freeing yourself from all of those useless things around your home that you’ve always thought would come in handy one day. Less is always more.
What Is A Hygge Home?
A hygge home, in my opinion, is the safest place on earth. It’s a cozy sanctuary, a serene shelter, a private hideaway, your personal utopia. A peaceful oasis where you can be your true self. In my mind, a perfect hygge home is a place where every little corner and every little inch of the space feels warm and oddly soothing. A lovely hygge living room for example would definitely consist of a nice, pastel or beige couch with a lot of soft pillows. The walls would probably be white or ivory with a few nice pictures hanging on them.
I see a beautiful vase with fresh flowers, a lot of flickering candles, and of course a warm, fuzzy blanket covering me from head to toe. When it comes to a nice hygge bedroom, the first thing that pops to my mind is a big wooden bed with a soft mattress and even softer pillows. There’s a white woolly carpet on the floor and lovely transparent curtains. Natural light illuminates the room perfectly. All in all, it feels like sleeping on clouds.
How To Hygge Your Home?
Creating a hygge life and embracing comfortable conviviality is something we should all do. The easiest and fastest way to do it is to change your surroundings. And by chance, I mean decluttering your physical space and clearing away the things that feel like a burden so you can let new energy into your home. A clean home equals a clean mind.
With that being said, we can move on to the details of creating your warm, cozy nest, your perfect hyggelig home. If you’ve heard of hygge, then you must know how big of a factor lighting is. There is a huge philosophy behind hyygelig lighting that you need to learn in order to incorporate Danish coziness in your home. First things first, you have to have your electric lighting strategy. To do that you need to carefully pick out your lamps and lighting positions and create little pools of life. The rule is simple: the lower the temperature of the light, the more hygge you incorporate into the room. If a flash camera is 5,500 K, golden hours and candlelight is 1,800K. That’s the kind of lighting you need in your house.
The next big part of what hygge constitutes is natural, earthy materials. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, by 90% of Scandi interior is heavily influenced by nature. Big wooden tables, leather chairs, warm wooly blankets and carpets, hemp lamps, cotton tea towels, beeswax candles, It’s all about becoming one with our natural surroundings. And not only because it’s soothing to the eyes. More than anything, it’s because of the energetic frequency these objects vibrate on. Research has shown many times that natural materials vibrate significantly higher than synthetic ones.
Next on the list is your home’s color scheme. Hygge has its own authentic color palette, and it consists of earthy, neutral, and muted tones. Due to the cold, long, wintery months in Scandinavia, hygge worshipers make sure to pick light colors for their homes in order to create a breathable, airy, and open space inside their house or apartment. This is very important when it comes to smaller spaces.
And how can we even forget the soft blankets and comfy pillows? You cannot possibly imagine the ultimate hygge experience without these two factors. Feel free to mix it up with different schemes, textures, colors and fabrics. You definitely can’t go wrong there. Your home will only get cozier and more enjoyable.
Add to that your favorite music playing in the background, a warm cup of tea or cocoa with a hint of vanilla, and of course, your favorite dessert and you have yourself the perfect hyggelyg setting. In a nutshell, that is the art of hygge. It’s a feast for the senses, a harmonic melody that entertains your spirit, a delightful, fragrant, warm, and inexplicably pleasant experience. It is building a safe place where you can be yourself, unwind and feel completely rested. What better way to describe it than that?
How To Make Your Kitchen Feel Hygge?
If you are a Hygge practitioner, you must know how essential it is to have a Hygge kitchen. Hands down, a lovely Hyggelyg kitchen corner is where coziness comes to life. Think of it as the very heart, the core of your home. It’s the place where you spoil your senses, allow yourself to experiment, and genuinely enjoy. It’s where you cook, bake, eat, and drink. It is your very own pharmacy, your very own temple. So you have to treat it like one. And by doing so, I certainly don’t mean clutter it with cute pots and pans.
Home accessorizing is definitely a big part of the Hygge concept. However, creating a warm, inviting kitchen is not just about decorating. It’s more about making a space that reflects your soul and your very own tastes and interests. That being said, you have to know that you won’t be able to get there overnight. It takes time, devotion, happy memories, and delicious experiments. The main ingredient for creating a Hyggelyg kitchen is leaving your very soul and every little thing that you do.
Now, even though I said it’s not the most important factor for the accessorizing part, it’s still essential. First and foremost, you need your kitchen to be bright and sunny. That’s why it’s important to have a window in it, possibly with a little nook beside it, where you can rest and enjoy your afternoon coffee. Think of it as your personal bar, your cozy, little corner dedicated for you and you only. Lovely, huh?
Natural elements and pastel tones are another must-have for a perfect Hygge kitchen. Open shelves and jars of nuts, seeds, and spices. Fresh herbs in pots hanging from above the counter. Cookbooks, nice kitchen towels, rugs, tiny wooden stools, and vintage furniture pieces of furniture… Should I go on? All of these elements add up to the Hyggelyg vibe. They may not be necessary, but they sure make a difference.
Is There A Special hygge Color Palette?
Of course. Hygge colors are a part of the typical danish coziness. The concept of hygge décor is combining contemporary style, wooden elements, and a soft, cozy, neutral, and pastel color palette. The hygge vibe circulates around earthy, cozy, natural, and soothing tones such as whites, grays, neutrals, beiges, taupes, and blues. All of this contributes to creating a harmonic and peaceful atmosphere at home. Anything out of the familiar hygge color scheme might be too overwhelming for you.
Does Practicing Hygge Means Being A Part Of A Religion?
No, hygge is not a religion. As a matter of fact, Danes are known to lead a very secular lifestyle, therefore hygge is just a concept of danish coziness. However, hygge is an essential part of their lives. It must be said that hygge is mostly celebrated and practiced during wintertime, especially around Christmas. It is their weapon against the endless coldness and darkness surrounding them during the long, winter months. Whether it’s cozying up in front of a fireplace, reading a book wrapped up in a soft blanket or inviting some friends over for mulled wine, Danes know their way when it comes to enjoying life and finding pleasure in the ordinary. We definitely have a lot to learn from them. (2)
Is Hygge Still A Thing?
Call it a thing, a trend, a vibe, a word an experience, whatever. Regardless of what you want to define it as, hygge is very real. Hygge exists in the very corners of our home, in those long, intimate talks with our loved ones, between the covers of our new favorite book, and at the bottom of your coffee cup. Hygge is definitely a thing and I am pretty sure that we’d all agree that hygge has been a thing way before it even became publicly known as hygge. Learning to appreciate life and finding joy in the ordinary is the key to pure and everlasting happiness. The sooner we realize how important hygge is and adopt that lifestyle, the faster we’ll improve the quality of our lives.
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