If you haven’t yet heard of the Danish word hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh), you’re about to. Oxford dictionaries defines hygge as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).” Essentially, this cozy contentment is how the Danes survive such notoriously long, cold winters.
This Scandinavian concept of coziness has permeated the United States recently; The New Yorker reports that at least 6 books have been published in the US on the subject this year, and even more are to come in 2017. Are we sensing a trend here? We most definitely are. And there’s no better time to jump on the hygge bandwagon than winter.
With January on our heels, the New Year is certainly going to bring more cold, wintry weather to much of the country (if you’re fortunate enough not to already have it). And what better way to combat Old Man Winter than with a super warm and cozy interior?
Hygge itself is a word that can be used as a noun, adjective, verb, or compound noun.
The truly beautiful thing about the hygge home decorating trend is that it’s expansive and open to interpretation. What do you think of as cozy? Whether it be candles, spiced tea, thick woolly socks, chunky knit things, sheepskin rugs, wood-burning fireplaces, a big mug of coffee, flannel textiles… From rustic to chic, inspiration for coziness can be found just about anywhere.
The word–but more importantly the feeling–can also be found everywhere. You can find hygge in the fresh loaf of warm bread you picked up at the bakery on the way home to work. You can find hygge on your mother’s couch as you snuggle up with your grandmother’s quilt. I find hygge on lazy weekend mornings with my dog at my feet and a fresh mug of black coffee in my hand.
For me, to be cozy is to be completely content–which is an extension of happiness. Which brings up a rather stereotypical question–are Danes the happiest people in the world? Maybe, or maybe their values align differently with our own.
Perhaps your New Years Resolution (for your home and for your own state of being) shouldn’t be to buy a lot of new trendy decor that you’ll tire of after no time. Instead, consider implementing the hygge concept on your self. What makes you cozy? What makes you content? What makes you happy? Find those answers and surround yourself with the feelings both in your home and in your heart and mind.
Sarah is a content writer and social media assistant with a BA in literature/creative writing from Wilkes University. When she’s not spending her days at work writing, reading, and drinking coffee, she’s usually at home reading, writing, and drinking coffee. She also devotes a fair amount of time to HGTV, drawing, and doting on her dog. As a creator, Sarah believes in emphasizing personality through design and DIY projects.