Do you have a room in your house that is decorated in such a way that when you walk in, you feel the stress simply falling from you? You relax your shoulders, sigh deeply, and enjoy the homey atmosphere. What if your whole house was like that one room? What if it was like every room in your home was somehow giving you a hug?
The Dutch have a word for that sensation. The Danish word “hygge,” pronounced hue-guh, roughly translates to the English word for “hug.” But instead of translating to the feeling of your 2-year-old’s arms wrapped around your legs or the gentle embrace of young lovers, it instead refers to the warmth and happiness of a perfectly decorated room and similar experiences in your life.
Hot chocolate on a snowy afternoon. Hygge. The sound of a nearby stream as beautiful fall leaves fall slowly to the bright carpet of a leaf-strewn forest floor. Hygge. Candlelight. Fresh flowers. Throw pillows. Hygge.
The first step to creating a hygge-styled home is to add organic touches. Becoming one with the outdoors is an important aspect in the Danish interpretation of hygge, so try mixing your home with a bit of the natural world around you. Place beautiful stones in the bottom of a glass vase filled with wildflowers and branches in the center of your table or on your mantle. Create grapevine wreaths or plant an herb garden in terra cotta pots throughout your home.
Consider simpler designs, wooden handmade furniture, and pure white fabrics. Use your space well and utilize wooden shelving along the walls and a sturdy branch hung with twine as a rod for hanging dried flowers and herbs.
Hygge homes focus on the sensory aspects created by fabrics. Think warm tones of natural materials like linen, cotton, and wool. If your favorite color is blue, don’t stray away from an ocean blue couch or baby blue kitchen curtains, just remember to consider the touch and feel of each piece of fabric.
In Denmark, the focus is on texture. When choosing drapes, select woven textiles in deep colors that stand out, like reds and orange. For throws, choose oversized knits in complementary colors. Add bits of bright pillows that add pops of color for a visual representation of the warmth you are trying to portray.
You can also update your wallpaper if the opportunity arises. While you can paint a room in colors that represent that welcoming hug, you can truly add to the effect of a hygge home through the organic texture of a wall covering, particularly one that emphasizes a European flair or folk-art-inspired prints.
When making decorating decisions, try to harmonize each piece, whether large or small. The hygge style tends to favor handmade, natural, and personal, so take that into account when adding a new touch or deciding whether to keep an accent. Choose wooden picture frames over metal, particularly raw wood styles. For your bare floor, select a soft, cozy rug that not only looks lovely, but feels soft and comfortable to wiggling toes.
Bringing the outdoors in is a key ingredient in a hygge home, so it makes sense that you want to maximize the amount of natural lighting in your home. Your window treatments should allow in as much sunlight as feasible. Consider motorized blinds and shades or sheer curtains with thick, warm drapes pulled to the side. Not only should your window treatments prevent a room from being darkened during daylight hours, they should also add warmth themselves.
While log cabins make great hygge homes, certainly any style house can utilize the style of Danish decorating. Keep it comfortable and natural, paying attention to both looks and feel of each piece of decor – whether big or small. Since nature plays such a large role in hygge, be sure to open those window treatments and let the outdoors in!