We’ve been asked a lot of questions lately about a “new” old décor concept. What am I talking about? Hygge. Yes, you read that right, Hygge, pronounced “Hue-gah” it is the Danish concept of consciousness, of being aware, of being “in the moment.” (1) Strictly speaking then, you might wonder why I am writing about it at all since by definition it doesn’t actually seem to have anything to do with home décor, home staging and home design. Yet the reality is hygge speaks volumes about finding the feeling of comfort in your home. How? That’s what I would like to explore today and I hope you’ll agree that despite our promise last month to look at the holidays, soup and European style in our October blog, instead we think with the cooler weather just around the corner, talking about the comforts of hygge and home styling couldn’t be more timely!
Google the definition of Hygge and you will see it variously described as feelings of coziness, warmth, security and even happiness. According to some websites, it’s about creating simple rituals and recognizing the good in the everyday. Lighting a candle, taking care as your brew a coffee and setting a lovely tray with sugar and cream and nice decorative napkins are examples of hygge. Simply enjoying a friends company, living in, embracing and savouring that one moment in time is another example. To quote an overused sentence, “stop and smell the roses” is what hygge is all about. Yet, there is no doubt that a décor element has been added to the meaning of hygge and that’s why some people are asking questions. How does (or how can) the concept of hygge occur in your décor and interior living space? Hygge isn’t really about home redesign but many interior design and décor experts are translating the concept to apply to modern day living by interpreting it physically and applying it to how we live in our homes. It’s being seen as a movement back to our roots, to embracing a simpler time and all that was good about living life at a slightly slower pace. At Home Dream Designs, we offer the following insights into hygge living in your space.
Hygge living isn’t just about taking a trip to your local Etobicoke, Burlington or Vaughan IKEA store to find things to decorate your home. Certainly there are many instances of hygge related products there and the simplicity of Swedish styling found there lends itself to the concept. Indeed, just taking a trip to IKEA to revel in the experience of shopping there (and possibly eating a plate of Swedish meatballs!) could be described as Hygge. From a décor perspective however, what we are really talking about is embracing the warmth of your space, creating cozy niches in which to read, dream or drink coffee. Life’s simple pleasures are better enjoyed when your surroundings are warm, comfortable and inviting. This means eschewing the “modern” look and aesthetic of brass, metal, gold and silver and embracing wood, blankets and throw pillows instead. Hygge is about lighting a fire (real or otherwise) and lighting many candles or hanging fairy lights, meant to create a warm glow about your home.
Hygge has sometimes been confused or interpreted as minimalism. The reality is it’s not so much about minimalist décor as it is about embracing simplicity in design and only surrounding yourself with things you really love. Hygge might demand that we declutter but only so that we can find the space to enjoy what really matters to us. Love antique teacups? A shelf full of these dainty delights, situated near the space you choose to relax in isn’t clutter – it’s adding to the pleasure you take in sipping tea in your special place. The Danes are known particularly to live a hygge lifestyle around the holidays when for them, the dark days are longest and a prodigious use of candles and sharing time with friends and family helps to dispel the gloom. With that in mind, here at home for example, setting a table that comfortably seats all of your guests is important so you might want to consider investing in a piece that does double duty. Search for a warm but lighter toned wood like teak so that your space doesn’t feel dark and heavy. Style your home by looking for an appropriately sized table for your day to day needs but one that has leaves and can be expanded when company comes, one that fills your space and makes all feel welcome.
Hygge might also demand that we maximize small spaces with items of furniture that can pull double duty. An ottoman can be a table, a place for extra seating and even somewhere to store items. It’s “lagom” – not too little, not too much, it’s just right. (2) It both serves a purpose while beautifying your space and can be employed to make visitors feel comfortable and welcome. Filling a basket near your front door with furry slippers or long woolly reading socks is yet another example of hygge and it looks pretty, welcoming and adds to your home décor too! Picture bubbling soup on the stove, guests enjoying toasty toes and a dining room that expands to fit everyone comfortably on a cold winter night and you’ve probably figured out what hygge really is. Turns out we have talked a little bit about Europe, the holidays and even soup!
See you in November.