Hygge: Tips For Danish Design and Lifestyle

Every year, the Oxford Dictionary committee chooses a “word of the year” from a list of unique words on phrases popular in that year. In 2016, “hygge” was on that shortlist. But what is Hygge?

What is Hygge

Hygge is both an adjective and a noun, usually used to describe a way of living, decorating, or just a special moment. As a lifestyle, hygge embraces deep connections with friends and family, paying attention and enjoying the precious moments in time.

Hygge is centered around the feelings of love and belonging. It celebrates happiness, health, and well-being.

The truth is, anything can be described as hygge. At its core, the term comes from Scandinavian countries, mainly Denmark and Norway. The word’s meaning is versatile, as it’s most often associated with coziness, comfort, and warmth.

In Scandinavia, people embrace hygge in a variety of ways, including dressing up and decorating to create a comfortable, peaceful atmosphere. Many people believe that Hygge came from Denmark because of Denmark’s bad luck with the weather.

With days most often being gloomy and cold, particularly in winter, Danes had to find a way to create cozy and warm living conditions. As a result, they embraced the snuggles near a fireplace with blankets, candles, and furry socks.

In recent years, a hygge lifestyle has been popularized in the rest of the world. After the release of “The Little Book of Hygge” in 2016, written by Meik Wiking, many became obsessed with hygge decorations, creating their own cozy spaces at home.

How To Pronounce Hygge

Hygge is pronounced “hue-guh”, though many sources claim that it’s “hoo-gah” instead. A quick search for a native danish person on Youtube proves the former.

Hygge Home

Creating a hygge home means creating a space that reflects you as an individual, which leaves you with plenty of space to experiment. Nevertheless, there are a couple of essential themes of interior design associated with hygge. Let’s take a look.
Neutral Colors 

Light, neutral colors are key to a hygge design. Though this does somewhat limit your choices, there are still plenty of shades to choose from. Keep an eye on whites, browns, and creams. These colors are guaranteed to create a sense of harmony and coziness.

An advantage of choosing lighter colors is their ability to reflect natural light. Darker colored spaces usually need more artificial lighting. A hygge color scheme, however, is likely to make even smaller rooms look spacious and open with lots of light.

Stay away from bright and dark colors, unless it’s a little accent in decorations.

Texture and Layers

A big part of hygge is layering different textures to create a comfortable, soft setting. Usually, Danes use wool, wood, leather, and other soft or knitted materials when designing the ultimate hygge space.

Make sure the abundance of textures is not too distracting and balances out with an otherwise minimalist look. Speaking of minimalism, it’s time to get rid of clutter.


Though so many pictures of typical hygge-like rooms seem to have large amounts of decor or at least 15 different pillows, don’t let this confuse you. Decluttering and tucking away everything unused and unwanted is always a good idea, especially when building a hygge home.

We’ve all heard that maintaining a clean and organized physical space around us supports our mental health. The philosophy of hygge focuses not only on creating a visually appealing space but on creating a home that contributes to your health and well-being.

Thus, get that Marie Kondo spirit going and make your space clean, filled with serenity.

Natural Materials

Hygge is not only about reconnecting with yourself but reconnecting with nature. A tip to creating a cozy, peaceful atmosphere is including materials found in nature, especially wood. Brick, jute, cork, and natural fibers are also perfect for a hygge home.


As a part of your hygge home makeover, don’t forget about the importance of lighting. Good lighting does wonders for our health, mood, and overall well-being, regardless of which interior style you prefer. Since hygge prioritizes comfort above all, it is important to have lots of light.

If you are choosing artificial lighting, stick with warmer light. Invest in string lights and lamps, which will ultimately make your space cozier.

Old And Imperfect

Hygge living is about authenticity and being your true self. This means leaving some space for imperfections, especially when decorating your home. You don’t need new, expensive furniture to create peace and comfort.

If you’ve got an old wooden chair or any worn-out piece of furniture, for that matter, it’s their time to shine. A couple of clean up touches will make your pieces authentic and will definitely save you some money.

Another way to embrace hygge philosophy is to find antique or thrifted furniture pieces. These will also save you a lot of money and will make the space much more unique. Old furniture has a history that’s definitely worth sharing.

Embrace Memories

Creating a home in the traditions of hygge is exciting and quite nostalgic. If you are hoping to create a hygge home, it’s time for you to go through the old decorations, presents, and other valuable stuff you have tucked away.

Fill your spaces with objects that remind you of happy moments in your life, or of people you hold dear to heart. Displaying family pictures, or old photos of you with friends in the ultimate hygge. Yes, hygge can be used as a noun. And as an adjective. It can even be a verb!


This doesn’t get mentioned often, and we honestly don’t know why. Scents are incredibly important in our memory of a place. They influence our perception and mood, creating bonds with things, people, and places.

You can experience comfort and serenity both visually and through smell. Hence, consider investing in home fragrances, candles, and all things scented. Woodsmoke and vanilla are among the most popular soothing fragrances you should keep an eye on.

Hygge Decor

Now that we are familiar with the general themes in hygge design, let’s look at decor ideas that will make your room the coziest it’s ever been.
Candles, Candles, Candles

This has been mentioned so often that candle brands have become the ambassadors of the hygge culture. Yes, candles are essential to creating a cozy room in danish traditions. The more, the better. Scented candles are perfect for adding a comforting fragrance, like cinnamon or lavender.

String Lights

Since lighting plays an essential role in hygge design, string lights are an excellent addition to your room. They are beautiful and make your room cozy and warm because of its yellow lighting.

Blankets And Pillows

You are aiming for comfort, and what’s a better way to create a comfortable space than adding a pillow. Or five. With hygge, there can never be too many pillows.


Another great way to decorate your home is to add plants, even if they are artificial. A part of the hygge philosophy is reconnecting with nature. Don’t shy away from buying plants, even if you don’t know how to properly take care of them. Learning a new skill has never hurt anyone.


Books are the ultimate cozy decoration that everyone has. Get creative and set up a little table with a stack of books. There are many ways to include books into your hygge decor, so your imagination is the only thing that’s stopping you.

Knitted Elements

Knitted blankets, cushions, or pillows can add a sense of comfort and calm to any space. You can either find knitted elements at a local store or make them yourself. Adding your personal touch to a knitted decoration checks out two hygge boxes.


Great for cuddling, rugs can add some texture to the room and ultimately make it more comfortable.

Hygge Life

As we already mentioned, Hygge is more than just Scandinavian design and a way of decorating a space. It’s a lifestyle that prioritizes happiness, comfort, and mindfulness.

Here are some key tips for a hygge living:

Develop Meaningful Relationships

Though we all love spending some time alone, it is important to remember that platonic and romantic relationships help us build our happy lives.

In the marathon for success and productivity, that’s so often preached in the media, we forget to slow down and appreciate those around us. Remember to create new fun and happy memories with your loved ones, make new connections, and just regularly check up on your friends.

Let Yourself Relax

Productivity is great, but nothing is arguably more important than our physical and mental health. Giving yourself time to unwind is an essential component of hygge living, and you should definitely embrace it. There’s a reason why Danes are the happiest nation on Earth, after all.

Practice Gratitude

In the end, being grateful for what you have is what keeps us positive through the hard times. Try starting your day with gratitude meditation, gratitude affirmations, or a journal where you list the things you’re grateful for.

Hygge can be commercialized, overused, and misunderstood. Nevertheless, everyone can use a couple of helpful tips to make their life better. And, it’s likely to work. There’s a reason why Danes are the happiest nation on Earth, after all.