How to bring Hygge into your home to create a happy life
April 21, 2024

How to bring Hygge into your home to create a happy life

What is Hygge?

Hygge is a Danish word. The concept of Hygge is rooted in comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Hygge traces back to the Middle Ages, to an Old Norse word meaning ‘protected from the outside world’. 

The world is a heavy place right now – national and international conflict and so many areas of division in our society.  In such uncertain times, when both public and personal safety is at risk when people are pitted against one another, it’s little wonder we yearn for ‘Hygge’ (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’) – a felt Danish concept rooted in comfort, togetherness, and well-being. Hygge traces back to the Middle Ages, to an Old Norse word meaning ‘protected from the outside world’. 

Hygge involves creating a comforting social and emotional environment - consciously crafting ‘shelter’ and curating surroundings that offer simple things, quiet pleasures. Think reading a good book, or playing a board games, with a hot chocolate. It's not merely an activity but a way of living; embracing ordinary moments with deep appreciation in daily life.

Hygge encourages a slowing down, savouring the present, in those cosy corners and finding beauty in the simplicity and ordinary. It’s about taking care of ourselves, signifying safe, intimate socialisation and self-care. As humans, particularly during times of uncertainty and stress, we crave consistency, predictability, and a sense of control—when so many factors are out of our control. In this way, hygge is charged with a strong orientation toward the present, "a readiness to commit oneself to the experience of the moment" and in doing so, the health benefits are immense. When less energy is spent scanning for potential dangers, cortisol (stress hormone) levels decrease, feelings of safety, comfort, compassion, self-worth and optimism bloom, and in turn better sleep follows. In The Book of Hygge, author Louisa Thomsen Brits beautifully encapsulates hygge stating: “…a practical way of creating sanctuary in the middle of very real life.”. 


What are the Hygge principles in times of upheaval?

Atmosphere, presence (an inward-looking commitment focused on the here and now), pleasure, gratitude, comfort, and togetherness are all central to hygge. 

1. Lighting and Warmth

Soft lighting cultivates a Hygge atmosphere in the living room. Natural light coming through the window and soft, warm lighting fosters an inviting and comfortable ambiance. Incorporating floor and table lamps enhances intimacy by illuminating areas where close friends and family gather to read, relax, and converse. At the end of the day, maybe spending time with a hot cup of tea, comfort food and soft music? With the winter months coming in the Northern Hemisphere this feels like a perfect way to start a Hygge lifestyle.

2. Candles: 

Of course, candles are a hallmark element of a hygge-style space, inherently creating a warm glow that promotes relaxation and comfort. 

As The little book of Hygge (by the Happiness Research Institute of Copenhagen)  says:  "No recipe for Hygge is complete without candles. When Danes are asked what they most associate with Hygge , an overwhelming  85% will mention candles". The simple act of lighting a beeswax candle while settling down for the night is Hygge, signalling to the body that the sun has gone down and it is time to unwind, relax and get cosy. 

3. Texture 

To create a warm, inviting space, you will want to incorporate soft accessories like soft blankets, throws, pillows, and rugs. Soft textures are calming and allow us to feel soothed when our anxieties run high.  A Hygge Home uses natural elements,  Little things, to create a calm space and happy living.

4. Colour 

The colours chosen for a living space are a significant part of setting a cosy stage. Natural materials, neutral colours, particularly whites, soft whites, blushes, and soft browns promote a sense of  comfort and cozy atmosphere.

5. Company

At our core, people are social creatures with an innate need to come together. Experiencing a meaningful connection with others is at the heart of Hygge and Danish culture. The practice is to be present with those around you. In nurturing these relationships, we allow ourselves and others to experience a sense of belonging. When we feel that we belong, we feel emotional safety. Emotional safety, in turn, enables us to feel the benefits of ease, calm and connection... a beautiful way to experience everyday life.

As we grapple with the pressing issues of  economic inequality, polarisation, war, and violence, the practice of Hygge takes on added significance. Is it why the Danish people are known as some of the happiest people in the world? It reminds us of our interconnectedness and the importance of nurturing relationships and community bonds. These human connections can provide a great source of support and resilience. 

Embracing Hygge also allows us to disconnect from the digital noise and reconnect with ourselves and our surroundings, the physical environment. This pursuit is not a means of escaping reality or disregarding the challenges we face, but serves as a source of building strength to face adversity with grace and compassion. In this way, Hygge becomes a form of resistance - a refusal to succumb to fear and despair, and instead, affirms our capacity to find joy, extend kindness, foster a sense of solidarity and empathy with others, and inspire collective action and social change. It is the next step towards  that wonderful life we want.

You may also like our blog 7 ways how you can improve your life with minimalist living here.

Choose from our beeswax candles to help light your home with warm candle light are here.

Thank you Sarah Lantz for her latest post.

 1.Linnet, J. T. (2011). Money Can’t Buy Me Hygge: Danish Middle-Class Consumption, Egalitarianism, and the Sanctity of Inner Space. Social Analysis55(2), 21–44.; Søderberg, M. T., & Lynggaard, K. H. (2016). Hygge: the Danish art of happiness. Michael Joseph.

 2. Brits, L. T. (2017). The Book of Hygge: the Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection. New York: Plume.