A trend that’s taken the world by storm in recent years is that of hygge (pronounced: hue-guh), a Danish concept that is about creating intimacy, connecting with loved ones and taking pleasure in small, ordinary things.
“The Danes are frequently reported to be some of the happiest people on earth so there’s no harm in taking a page from their hygge how-to’s,” says Silvana dos reis Marques, manager at Leapfrog Property Group, Petoria East.
While hygge is a mindset rather than a style of interior design, an easy way to introduce hygge into your life this winter is to start with your home.
#1 The right lighting
There are few things that influence the atmosphere in a space as much as the right lighting. Forego harsh, white light and turn the dimmer down rather. If your lights aren’t on dimmers, you can achieve a similar effect by “layering” the light with the use of table lamps and fairy lights.
#2 Light the fire
Lighting a fire is one of the best ways to not only create a snug atmosphere but also to keep warm naturally. The glow from the fireplace is a sure-fire way to make a space more inviting.
Candles are another way to create that cosy effect. Opt for a range of candles of different shapes and sizes. Together the glow of the candles will create a wonderful atmosphere.
#3 Cut the clutter
It’s rather difficult to feel calm and centred in a cluttered space. Streamline your home by placing the clutter out of sight (or better still, get rid of it). A neat home is also more conducive to focus and mindfulness, and ultimately feels cosier.
#4 Touches of textures
Texture and hygge go hand in hand, so adding soft items like blankets, throws, cushions and rugs is a great way to enhance the sensual atmosphere. These tactile elements go a long way in making us feel calm, safe and serene.
#5 Decorate with things you love
Surround yourself with interesting objects that tell stories about the people that inhabit the space. This can be a simple as decorating and accessorising your home with items that are meaningful to you. These could be family heirlooms, travel souvenirs or special gifts.
#6 Gather around the table
There are few things as comforting and intimate as spending time with your loved ones around a table, whether it’s sharing a (home cooked) meal or playing board games. Dim the lights, pour the red wine and get settled around the table for a night of sharing, connecting and laughing.
#7 Disconnect to connect
Connection with others, ourselves and our environments is so much harder, sometimes even impossible, when it’s competing with our smart devices. Make a point of switching off your phone, your tablet, your computer and the television. Being present, in the moment, has its own rewards that far outweigh any pleasure that comes via a screen.
#8 High-five for homemade
In the high-speed age of convenience sharing a home cooked meal is an occasion worth celebrating. Take the time to cook something delicious and wholesome. Make an event of the cooking by including the whole family, lighting candles, switching off phones and enjoying the moment.
#9 Beautifully bookish
There are few things more hygge than curling up with a book, and even more so being surrounded by books. What’s more, books have a unique way of making a space feel warm and inviting. So don’t hide yours in cupboards but stack them on the coffee table or in an eclectic pile next to the sofa.
“At the end of the day it is about keeping things simple and surrounding yourself with things that make you happy and that have meaning to you, rather than having stuff for the sake of it,” Marques concludes.
Hygge is about enjoying your home, because it is yours and where your special people and things are. Home is where the heart is, after all.