Stylkea was recently tagged in this Insta-worthy photo posted by @harperavathelabel. The first word that popped into my head? "Hygge!" (Not sure what hygge is, whether you want it in your home or how to even pronounce it? That's ok, I'm about to explain.)
"Hygge" (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish word that describes cosiness and comfort, while "hyggelig" (pronounded hoo-ga-lig) is the adjective form. It derives from the Norwegian word for "wellness." But for Danish folk, it's much, much more.
Hygge means finding contentment in simple pleasures. Think candlelight or your favourite sweater or the company of close friends. Hygge is the sound of soup bubbling on the stove. The soft glow of a lamp. Hot coffee. Ugg boots. Hygge is slow and simple. Like brewing a pot of tea, reading a book or picnicking with friends.
Candles, hot drinks, throws and cushions are definitely hyggelig. It would be easy to become a hygge-holic!
For Danish people, hygge is more than an aesthetic. It's a lifestyle, an attitude, a value system, a philosophy. And the power of hygge is reflected in the fact that, despite having long winters, rainy days and high taxes, Danish people consistently report being happier than the rest of us. It seems that Danish appreciation for simple pleasures translates into healthier work-life balance, closer social connections and slower, more deliberate living.
So, who wouldn't want more hygge in their home-life? But how exactly do you achieve a hyggelig home? Especially, if like me, you live in warmer climes where fluffy socks and open fires are replaced year-round by sandals and ceiling fans. Here are a few simple suggestions:
1. Wood and natural fibres: Wood, wool, jute, leather, rattan, cotton - natural materials will soften the space and add texture and tactility.
2. Indoor greenery: Plants are definitely hyggelig. They purify the air, naturalise the space and have a calming effect.
3. Soft lighting: Any season, any setting, nothing provokes a sense of closeness faster than flickering candles or gently pooling light.
4. Spaces for lounging: When friends come to visit, can they comfortably lounge? Not just sit, lounge. With that in mind, this summer I'm looking for a hyggelig patio sofa to supplement our outdoor dining setting.
5. Second-hand or unique furniture: You know how a chocolate croissant has more calories than a carrot? In the same vein, restored or customised furniture has more hygge than new or off-the-rack furniture. Harper Ava's Ikea Malm dresser has been customised with Stylkea’s Styl-Panel 1114 in pure white foamed PVC paired with oak handles.
Looking for more hygge inspiration?
The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking would make a lovely stocking stuffer this Christmas for someone who needs a little hygge in their life. It would also make you the hyggespreder (a real word - someone who spreads the hygge!)