I have been obsessed with hygge ever since being introduced to the concept by my sister. I never knew that there was a word that could describe the kind of coziness I crave after a high anxiety day, but there is! Hygge, pronounced hoo-gah, is a danish word that has many meanings. It is something that you feel; it’s about an atmosphere or an experience that gives you a feeling of coziness, togetherness, peace, safety, or comfort. Hygge is different for everyone, but I think that it is that place or moment when you can exhale a big breath and just be. A place where your mind is silent and you feel at ease. It’s a hard place to get to but I think I’ve kind of mastered the art of hygge. I’m going to fill you in on how to bring more hygge to your busy life and live in a space that is free of frustrations!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click-through and make a purchase. All views and opinions expressed are my own.
First, to really get a good understanding of hygge, I highly recommend getting a book or guide to hygge. There are many out there, but my favorite one is, The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Meik Wiking, is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. The book goes through a little bit of the research that they do at the institute, which paints a really wonderful holistic view of hygge. Also, I feel like taking advice from one of the happiest countries in the world is a good place to start if you are looking to live a happier and more genuine life. So buy a hygge book. You can get The Little Book of Hygge here.
Now that you have a book to get the big picture of hygge you are ready to start incorporating aspects of hygge into your life. I guarantee that you are already doing many hygge things and you don’t even know it. Heck, I was living pretty much a hygge lifestyle and I didn’t even know it until my sister pointed it out. There are many things that you can incorporate into your life that will bring you the feeling of hygge. The Little Book of Hygge talks about the five dimensions of hygge and yep, you guessed it, they are associated with the five senses.
Let’s start with seeing hygge. Lighting is a huge concept to when we talk about bringing hygge to a space. Hygge light is calm and tranquil so think the opposite of what’s in school, hospitals, and doctor’s offices. It’s kind of ironic isn’t is? That in the places where we want people to feel comfortable, we have the most uncomfortable lighting known to man, white fluorescent light. Anyway, the epitome of hygge light is candles, string lights, and pendant lights. I think we can also add in here just seeing things that look comfortable can appeal to our hygge senses. This happens to me often in two places. Target and Ikea. Target has really stepped up their marketing game with their center aisle displays this past year and literally everything looks comfy and like something I need to have in my house. And Ikea, dang, I don’t even know where to start because it’s a store full of little nooks and crannies that are hygge.
Next let’s move to hygge feels. The best way I can describe the feeling of hygge is anything soft. I have a fuzzy blanket that Ryan bought for me at Pier One, and I actually cried in the store after he bought it, because of the feeling this blanket gave me. I know, I know, how unstable am I? But for me, this blanket was everything I needed to feel cozy and safe. And that is hygge. Things such as knits, velvet, chenille, and fuzzy textiles are all hygge. Surfaces can be hygge too, such as wood or smooth ceramics. The temperature of something can bring elements of hygge into a space as well. Fabrics and surfaces that are warm, like clothes straight from the dryer or heated floors (if you’ve ever been lucky enough to experience this) are good examples. There are probably a million other hygge feels, bottom line is these are things you touch that make you feel cozy.
Okay, I think that these last three things are more personal because certain people find certain sensory experiences enjoyable. I think we can all agree that a soft blanket and candlelit space is cozy; but we probably don’t all agree the smell of horse is a comforting smell.
Let’s chat about hygge smells. Smells remind us of experiences, which is why this will be different for everyone. I find earthy smells enjoyable. The smell of barns, horses, and dirt are my favorite because it represents a place where I can let everything go. The barn is the one place where I can (usually) have a quiet mind and extra head space to just enjoy, so these smells I welcome. Essential oils like Lavender, Frankinsense, Eucalyptus, and Peppermint are other smells that I welcome into my hygge space. ANY bakery smells, let’s get real, who doesn’t love bakery? These all bring me comfort and a feeling of coziness. So hygge smells are up to you. Bring those favorite smells to your space with candles or actual baked goods; just probably don’t bring your horse into your living room.
Hygge taste. Again, open to your interpretation. What I will put here is when you want something to taste hygge, you usually add sweet. You can add whip cream on top of your coffee, add brown sugar crumble on top of a muffin, or put honey into a cup of tea. Hygge tastes are anything that you eat that makes you feel comforted and right at home.
Hygge sound is an interesting one because it’s really about the absence of sound. Now I realize that this is most people’s worst nightmare, but I think you should give it a go. I’m not saying sit in a completely silent room and hear nothing. But what I am saying is turn off the TV and let noises like rain on the roof, thunder, crickets chirping, wind blowing through the leaves, or a fire crackling come into your space and bring you a few moments of comfort.
That it my Hygge 101 Crash Course. What I’m going to do next is create a separate post that explains specifically how you can bring these hygge dimensions into your life. Click here to go to Hygge Feels: How to Make Your Home a Sanctuary.