Several years ago the term hygge snuggled its way into American homes. While the Danish idea of coziness caught on like a crackling fire, it’s not a new concept. When I was a child growing up in Denmark, hygge was just a part of everyday life.
Hygge is a Danish concept of coziness and warmth.
Hygge, and the adjective hyggelig, essentially means having warm and snug feelings and is integral to those long, dark Scandinavian winters. Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland have adopted their own terms for the feeling and each show it in different ways.
The hygge concept can be represented in warmth (a cracking hearth and candles) food, (warm baked goods or good smells), texture (cuddly blankets and pajamas), light (soft glows rather than harsh floodlights), and decor. The decor portion is probably what has sparked thousands of Instagram posts on the concept.
The holidays might just be the perfect time to portray the concept of hygge in your home—and especially in a tiny home. A tiny home is already cozy and is already small enough to easily integrate a few of these five hyggelig ideas.
1. Candles and low, soft lighting
Nothing says anti-hygge than harsh, LED bulbs or an overabundance of multicolored Christmas lights. Hygge is best spelled out with soft warm lighting rather than blinking red, green, and blue. Small fairy lights, real candles, and a crackling fireplace or woodstove (even a faux one) brings on the traditional feeling of hygge. Transfer this idea out of the holiday month and keep it going throughout the winter season.
2. Food and drink
This is the time of year to spend the dark evenings cooking and baking. Just the sound and smell of frying onions, baking bread, or ginger cookies will invoke a feeling of hygge. It’s even better if you can include friends or family in the process. Hygge is best when shared with others.
3. Warm decor and colors
Scandinavians are not afraid of color. Warm reds, vibrant blues, and the green of pine trees are introduced during the holidays into what are usually bright and white homes. White and gray are quite popular colors for interiors these days, but can feel cold on a snowy night. Warm up a space with red tablecloths or blankets, bright patterns, textured pillows, and ethnic-print plate mats.
4. Always have hot water ready
Thank goodness the electric water kettle is now easily found anywhere in the U.S. When I was younger, we had to bring them back home from Europe. Having one of these plugin devices that heats up water in an instant (without having to rely on the non-hygge microwave) is necessary for a hyggelig home. Being able to whip up quick cup of tea, cider, or pour over coffee the epitome of hygge.
5. Make room for books
Televisions and our portable devices do make for a cozy evening, but are not very hyggelig. This is where books come in—real books made of paper. It’s even better if these books are your favorite cozy mysteries or even books from your childhood. Having just a few of them in a bookshelf is great, but it’s best if you can read them out loud to your family or friends.