It’s pronounced ‘hoo-gah,’ BTW
You know that feeling, when it’s cold outside and you’re snuggled up in bed or on the couch with a cup of tea or coffee or hot chocolate? Or that feeling when you’re sitting on the couch with loved ones and you are just enjoying the moment, with no worries on your mind?
That, my friend is hygge. Pronounced “hoo-gah,” it is a Danish word that roughly translates to all the aforementioned feelings. “Hygge is a Danish word used to express a feeling of comfort, coziness and happiness enjoying the simpler things,” says Dayna Hairston, an NCIDQ certified interior designer in Cary, N.C. “It involves a conscious state of slowing down and being in the present.”
Donna Henes, an urban shaman who does home cleansings, says the concept of hygge comes from 16th Century Norwegian term meaning “to comfort” or “to console.” Denes explains in her upcoming book, Bless This House: Mama Donna’s Guide to Creating Sacred Space Where You Live, Work and Travel, that “the warm hug of a hygge home is essential in the frozen, dark stretches of Nordic winters. And the cheerful embrace of a hygge home is equally necessary in the stressful rush and push of urban life.”
Creating a Hygge Home
There is a way to capture this feeling at home. It’s simply a feeling you want your home to feel like when family and friends are there or even when you’re home alone.
“In the home environment, hygge relates to the feeling of comfort and contentment the home evokes,” Hairston says. “Simple touches of stillness, relaxation and cozy contentment will make your home feel more hygge. Typically, hygge homes have neutral color palettes with soft touches of color, rustic elements, layers of plush fabric and knitted textiles.”
Making a hygge home is as simple as adding a knitted throw across the couch, adding candles to a room or using woven storage baskets with firewood in a room, says Hairston.
While it’s easy to create this type of feeling in the winter, the hygge home can exist all year long. “Incorporate hygge in your home decor in spring and summer months by adding fresh flowers to your décor,” says Hairston. “Consider adding sheer curtains to bring in an abundance of natural light. Utilize natural organic elements, such as drift wood or succulents, in your home decor to bring the outside in.”
Why Is Hygge All the Rage?
Millennials value their time away from work. When they are at home, they want to fully utilize that tie with family and friends and recharging. It’s no wonder hygge has popped up as trend in the last few years.
“Our day-to-day lives get busier and busier with each passing moment,” Hairston says. “In order to relax and recharge, we need an opportunity to slow down.”
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning freelance journalist who has written for NewHomeSource, the Associated Press, New Mexico magazine and the Texas Bar Journal. When not writing, she can be found in the garden, battling weeds and high-desert heat.