Did you know that Denmark was the second-happiest country on the planet last year, as named by the 2017 World Happiness Report? Did you know that there even was a World Happiness Report?
If you’re wondering why this would be important to you (unless you’re about to relocate or take a vacation to the Nordic country), consider this: Hygge came in with its cozy outlook in 2016 and, despite multiple efforts among lifestyle experts, editors, and even other countries to dethrone it, hygge remains the predominant lifestyle trend of the day. Is it a coincidence that it hails from Denmark? We think not.
So ingrained is hygge in popular culture around the world that it has spawned countless books and interior design collections, and its usage even prompted inclusion in Collins Dictionary “along with Brexit and Trumpism,” said the New Yorker. “Collins describes it as: the practice of creating cozy, congenial environments that promote emotional well-being.”
So, if you haven’t yet learned how to pronounce it (hoo-ga), or integrate the concept into your home, it might just be time for both.
The Next Big Thing?
The Scandinavians don’t have a monopoly on lifestyle trends. Many think that the pervasive popularity of hygge was an overcorrection to the much stricter practice of KonMari, the Japanese concept of hyper-organization and minimalism.
Vogue all but proclaimed 2017 the year that lagom, “the Swedish concept of ‘not too much, not too little,’ would overtake hygge as the predominant lifestyle trend. “Unlike hygge, which aims to capture a feeling, lagom is an ethos of moderation,” they said. “If you need proof that lagom’s moment is imminent, look no further than England. The epicenter of the hygge trend is turning its attention to this Swedish way of living.”
Scotland rode into 2018 with what they claim is the new Hygge: Còsagach, which, honestly, sounds awfully similar to hygge. “It means ‘snug, sheltered or cozy,’” said The Guardian.
Principles of Hygge
According to Amara, hygge was “originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing. Developed into a concept and way of living by the Danish in the 18th century when it first appeared in writings of the time, the country hasn’t looked back since.”
It is best expressed with the following:
The colors of the year are bold and bright (Hello, Pantone’s deep purple Ultra Violet and Benjamin Moore’s fiery red Caliente). But, hygge calls for softer neutrals. “Paint walls a soft shade of grey, white or cream and keep colors throughout the house earthy to create a sense of calm,” said Huffington Post.
Form + Function
The entire VOLA line from Hastings Tile & Bath is hygge-friendly, but we especially love the towel warmer. After all, the only thing that could be cozier than having a toasty towel ready when you step out of the shower is having it hang on a warmer that is actually beautifully designed, “replacing the more common radiator-style warmers with a built-in unit hiding all technical elements behind the wall,” they said.
Hastings Tile & Bath has several other minimal, welcoming products for the home — including the compact vanities of Zen and Derby.
Ginger’s Surface bath accessory collection has all of the hallmarks of minimalism – but not at the expense of comfort.
Less is more when it comes to the overall feel of hygge, and that goes for your furniture pieces, too. Keep your lines clean or gently curved and your cushions plush to achieve the right look.
In describing hygge, Christopher Mount, Scandinavian Design expert, told Pamono: “The best description I can think of is the warm and cozy feeling you would have while lounging on a comfortable couch, reading a good book, and drinking a hot beverage, snuggled with a loved one on a wet, cold day. It means to be contentedly cozy, in a kind of simple and romantic way. All of the classic, midcentury Danish furniture—by Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Børge Mogensen, Arne Jacobsen, and Nanna Ditzel—has a kind of warm, soft, and ‘hyggely’ quality.”
We’re talking rugs, blankets and pillows—both in and out of the bedroom—and lots of them, at that. Anything that can make a space feel more cozy is hygge-approved, so look for textiles that are soft and soothing.
“One of the easiest ways to make any space feel instantly cozy? Plenty of soft blankets and rugs to add a layer of physical warmth,” said Graham & Brown. “To create a look that’ll appeal to all your senses, try mixing different fabrics and textures to give your space a unique style that’s all its own.”
The U.K-based wallpaper and home decor brand has an entire collection devoted to the Danish concept, complete with wallpaper depicting overlapping slats of distressed wood and a comforting grey and neutral taupe color palette touched with glimmers of warm metallic. Their cozy hygge faux fur throw, for instance, “will bring a sumptuous touch to your home,” they said. “Created with a thick soft faux fur and lined in luxurious silky satin, this piece is perfect for snuggling into on those dark evenings.”
Another option is this one-of-a-kind handprinted linen throw by Nordic Kind, which is hand-dyed, printed and sewn in a pattern — “the result of a choreographed dance and movement experiment.”
The right lighting is key to achieving hygge, which makes sense considering Denmark has such limited sunlight. You don’t want anything harsh; instead, go for a soft, warm glow. Lumens recommends “warm-white LED and incandescent lights,” which can “create a soft look when installed with a dimmer.”
Mitzi, a newly introduced offshoot brand of Hudson Valley Lighting®, designs products “with thoughtful simplicity,” they said, which is “precisely why they work well in any minimalist design scheme. Marnie casts just the right amount of light from underneath its metal shade and is “a delightful example of how simple shapes can produce interesting results.”