One of the things I’ve been working very hard on over the last year or two is my attitude about winter. I’ve talked about this a bit, but after having kids, I realized that it’s my responsibility to teach them to appreciate and find joy in all the seasons. I need to lead by example, which means resetting my own attitude and not complaining when it’s cold or whining about being stuck at home. While I initially set out to change my attitude just for the kids, it’s actually been really refreshing for me, too. I’ve honestly enjoyed this winter (except all the stomach flus, but that’s a whole other issue!) instead of wishing it away.
I think March and April are the hardest tests of winter, though. The sun is out longer, stores are full of spring clothes, you get those occasional freak 50-degree days that make you say “YES, spring is here!” But most days are grey, temps are hovering in the 20s this week, real spring is many weeks away, and we all know we could get snow well into May here in Northeast Ohio. Now is the time when you need to hunker down and really practice patience.
That’s where “hygge” comes in. “Hygge,” pronounced “hoo-gah” is a Danish word that roughly translates to “coziness” and, according to VisitDenmark.com, “means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people.” I’ve been reading “Hygge & West Home: Design for a Cozy Life” by Christiana Coop and Aimee Lagos, the founders of well-respected wallpaper/home decor brand Hygge & West. It’s a beautiful book that explores how different people make their homes into warm, welcoming spaces that embody the spirit of “hygge,” in a wide variety of homes from rural to urban, small to big, rustic to modern, cold climates and warm.
This has me thinking about how to bring that spirit of hygge to your own home. To translate this feeling to home decor, you think of furry blankets, the glow of candlelight, soft rugs, an abundance of texture and warmth to create that ambience of contentment and coziness that allows you to unwind, relax and spend a winter day inside with the people you love.
Here are some tips for capturing the essence of hygge at home while (im)patiently waiting for the arrival of spring:
- It all starts with blankets. I loooove blankets. Like, I want to be under a blanket at all times, no matter the weather! My go-to is a faux fur, similar to this. I also love this blue blanket, this blanket in mustard, and this sweet bubble blanket in cream.
- A warm glow is key. Fill your spaces with candles, twinkle lights, the soft glow from a fireplace, or just put your lamps on a dimmer to create that softer light. I personally love the subtle warm scent of the “cedar magnolia” candle by Hearth & Hand at Target.
- You can’t get cozy if you don’t have a good foundation, like a new mattress that fits your needs for proper rest, which is crucial for self-care and serves as the base to build your design around. I suggest checking out a place like Bob’s Discount Furniture where you can shop for a wide variety of mattresses that allow you to find just want you need to make your bedroom into a hygge haven.
- Throw pillows are my other favorite way to make a space feel homey and cozy. Aim for lots of texture, like faux fur, waffle weave, and subtle pattern, in a neutral color palette of creams, ivories, soft greys, and warm beiges.
- Another essential element of hygge is gathering friends and family together to share meals in a relaxed, slow way with lots of chatting, lots of laughter, and of course lots of love. Pretty pieces like this serving bowl from Chrissy Tiegen’s Cravings line at Target are a great way to serve a meal family style around the table.
- And when you don’t have friends over, there’s nothing more cozy than lying on your new mattress, under a pile of blankets, propped up on throw pillows, reading a good book!! My favorite genre is cozy mysteries, which I usually describe as basically the “Murder, She Wrote” of books: someone dies but it’s not gory, it’s not a psychological thriller, and the main character is generally someone who just happens upon solving the crime. Some of my favorites are the Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley (mysteries solved by a precocious young girl), the cupcake mysteries by Joanne Fluke (they start out good but avoid the newer books), and the Chief Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny (murders solved by an actual policeman).
Overall, the essence of hygge is a lifestyle, not a decor trend. This practice developed as a way to encourage a space that truly feels like home to enjoy the long days spent inside. I absolutely love the idea of creating a home where people can gather and where you can completely unwind, which of course does make this such a great design inspiration since it can be used year-round and in every part of your home…. especially as we get through these final weeks of winter.