Hygge: The Art of Cozy

Hygge is a danish word for the feeling of being cozy. But feeling hygge or to be hyggeligt is about a lot more than the English word “cozy” can describe. Although it’s been in pop culture for a few years now, I thought I’d write about my personal experience with the hygge movement. Once you start embracing this feeling, it’s pretty easy to see how your life has missed it all along.

Hygge living: the Danish Art of Cozy.

I believe the biggest mistake people make when first seeking hygge is thinking they need to go out and acquire stuff to make their life hyggeligt. This idea is so anti-hygge. A key part of hygge is being content – being happy with what you have and making do.

Hygge: the Art of Cozy. Lighting and natural elements are key to a hygge home.

You know that feeling when you’re gathered around a crowded dinner table, in a dimly lit room, with a group of friends or family, playing something like cards? Everyone has their phones away, and someone’s put on background music that lull’s under the cheerful laughter of good company. There’s probably snacks out, or there was, and a round of hot drinks – maybe to warm up from a chilly day out. A couple of individuals pull out a few blankets to wrap themselves in. THAT is hygge.

The feeling of togetherness, warmth, comfort, thankfulness, and being present in the moment, all in a cozy atmosphere is hygge.

Hygge home decor. Dinner table decorated simply Scandinavian for good conversation.
Hygge home decor. Nordic dinner table.

While not every moment can be totally hyggeligt, it is possible to create opportunities for hygge in your everyday life. I’ve spent a lot of time working towards this feeling in my own home. I do feel that it is an art, it’s not something you can just buy straight off the shelf. It’s a process and you get to design what your ideal hygge moment is.

Creating Hygge in Your Life

Lighting

Warm lighting has been key for creating the perfect atmosphere in my home. My boyfriend and I chose to put in warm Edison-style light bulbs and dimmer switches on our main living area’s fixtures. We rarely have the light turned up all the way. It gives such a cozy, warm feeling in the evenings, and also prepares our bodies for vitally important sleep.

Tip: if you don’t have the means to put in new lightbulbs or fixtures, just use candles! An open flame is even more hyggeligt. I mentioned in this post, that if I could have added anything to my home, it would be a fireplace. That is 100% due to my love of hygge.

Hygge living: the Art of Cozy. Candles in an inviting living area. Nordic/rustic decor.

During the day time, we have curtains that we pull back all the way to let natural sunlight in. Not only is it very eco-friendly (being kind to nature is also very hyggeligt), but natural lighting is more aesthetically pleasing.

Nature

The sunlight that floods through the windows also provides another hyggeligt element of our home the means to live. Our plants! Your home wouldn’t have the feeling of cozy without the elements and nature surrounding it, and so bringing some nature inside is a good reminder. Balance is always important.

Plants are so hyggeligt.

Where there is dark, there is light; where there is cozy, there is a lightning storm.

Indulgence

Comfort food is synonymous to hyggeligt food. Once again, though, balance is key. There would be no comfort in comfort food without a healthy salad. During those hygge moments, don’t be afraid to pull out your best pastries or casseroles! To me, there’s nothing like a dark chocolate covered almond to cozy up a moment.

Togetherness

What is a moment if not shared with good company? The art of coziness is made better with a friend or five. The key is to be together in equality, harmony, and calmness. This is not the time to discuss world issues or upsetting topics. Let’s uplift each other, inspire one another, and share stories.

Hygge in your relationship. Creating a feeling of being present and having togetherness in a cozy atmosphere.

An excellent example of summertime hygge is telling ghost stories around the campfire while snacking on s’mores!

Presence

As if you didn’t need another excuse to turn off your phone and set it aside for an evening. It’s hygge to be present in the moment, and technology just doesn’t allow for that. Technology really goes against a lot of hygge principles. So shut it down, read a book, enjoy the conversation, or partake in old-fashioned entertainment.

Stack of lifestyle books and reading glasses.
Check out the books I’m reading this year here.

Setting

I know I said that acquiring things is very anti-hygge, but if you’re in the process of updating your space, why not keep the concept in mind? I certainly did. Although I talk a lot more about it in this post, I will share some of my ideas here.

Keeping things natural, with as little man-made textiles as possible and reusing antiques is really your best bet. You know what’s way more hyggeligt than that brand-new microfibre sofa from Ikea? That worn-in, oversized leather chair from a thrift shop down the road. Better for the environment, your wallet, and your atmosphere.

Hygge: the Art of Cozy. Very hygge home decor with nordic colours and rustic design.
Hygge home decor. Keeping your bedroom hygge: the art of cozy. Nordic with antiques.

The feeling you get when you sit down at a desk that was used by a great-grandparent is hygge. Family heirlooms and antiques are a great way to bring the concept into your home, without spending a lot of money.

Personally, I love finding decor items when I travel because every time I look at it, I’m transported back to that particular moment. That memory brings a feeling of comfort, warmth, and contentedness.

Thankfulness

The key to being content, I think, is to be thankful for what you have. Taking a moment for gratitude is extremely hyggeligt. Besides, it is one thing we could all do to improve our lives, hygge or not.

Being content is an important part of hygge. Being present in a relationship  and experiencing togetherness can improve relationships.

These are the key concepts of hygge, and the things I strive for when trying to make my everyday life more cozy. Hope these ideas can help you on the coldest winter days, or the stormiest summer nights. If you’d like to read more hyggeligt content from me, leave a comment below!

If you’d like to read more on hygge in general, check out my favourite books on the topic:

The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking

Lagom: Not too little, not too much by Niki Brantmark

How to Hygge: The Nordic Secrets to a Happy Life by Signe Johansen

American Cozy by  Stephanie Pedersen

8 Comments

  1. February 28, 2019 / 7:20 pm

    This is a beautiful post and perfectly characterizes the meaning of the Danish word. I experienced this feeling when I was traveling around Scandinavia!

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:55 am

      Thank you so much! I am dying to get to Scandinavia; I’d like to see higgle at its heart one day!

  2. March 2, 2019 / 8:04 am

    You were the first person to introduce me to Hygge! I feel like my currently living space is….quite the opposite hahah. UGH but I love how you described each of the pillars of Hygge! It was beautiful.

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:56 am

      I’m so glad I could. It’s such a quintessential part of my life! Thank you so much 🙂

  3. March 3, 2019 / 11:03 am

    Somehow I associate hygge with winter – the crackling fireplace, thick blankets, knit throwovers etc. But of course, the concept is not exclusive to colder seasons. Time to work on it in my home AND life. 😉

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:58 am

      It definitely gets a rep for being a winter lifestyle thing. I think summertime hygge is so important though!

  4. March 4, 2019 / 1:06 pm

    Beautiful and so inviting and cozy! Love the way you’ve put together your home.

    • catekittlitz
      Author
      March 5, 2019 / 4:59 am

      Thank you so much! It has been quite the project over this last year but so worthwhile.

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