The Hygge living room – how to achieve it

Hygge – pronounced “Hoo-ga” is a word that is incredibly hard to translate into English. It embodies warm cosiness, conviviality and contentment. It is possible the word derives from the same root as the English word “hug”. Although the word exists in Norwegian (where it means “cosy”) and Swedish (where it refers to harvested forest) it is in Denmark that it is a real lifestyle phenomenon.

How to Hygge

There are five steps to embracing hygge:

  1. Slow down and appreciate life;
  2. Enjoy the space around you;
  3. Create a relaxing ambiance;
  4. Practice hobbies (or start a new one);
  5. Spend time with friends.

Let’s look at how you can introduce these elements into your living room.

1. Slow down and appreciate life

Consider making your living room a gadget free zone, and hide away televisions so you can spend time chatting, reading or working on your hobbies. Ensure you have plenty of comfy seats. Large cushions are ideal for when those all-important friends come to call and blankets or throws are ideal for snuggling under in the evening. And bring back the bookshelf. Especially in winter, when nights are long and the weather is cold, curling up with a book is very much part of hygge culture. 

2. Enjoy the space around you

Decorate your living room in warm, cosy tones that appeal toyourather than the current trend. Use natural materials and mix and match textures. Use natural wood, warm sheepskin rugs on the floor and unusual fabrics to stimulate your sense of touch.

Your hygge living room should be relaxing and calming so follow Marie Kondo’s advice to get rid of items that don’t “spark joy”. Put up pictures that remind you of happy events and create a “hyggekrog” or nook where you can curl up with a warm cup of tea and just enjoy the moment.

3. Create a relaxing ambiance

Candles are a must for hygge. If you’re worried about naked flames then fake ones will do just as well. During the day ensure the room gets as much light as possible to make it a pleasurable place to sit. Don’t skimp on the lighting at night either – the room will feel oppressive rather than relaxing if you can’t see properly.

An open-fire is the ultimate in cosiness, but in the city you may have to choose a real-flame gas fire or electric log burner instead.

4. Practice hobbies

Creative hobbies such as sewing and knitting are very much part of hygge culture so make sure you provide yourself with somewhere to practice them. Place a comfy chair under the window to make best use of the light or treat yourself to somewhere to keep your materials organised and put it in your hyggekrog.

5. Spend time with friends

Add one final hygge ingredient – friends. Enjoy their company snug on your comfy sofa with relaxing candlelight, an open fire and plenty of mulled wine or hot chocolate. That’s hygge.

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