You know that feeling when you move into somewhere new? The one where you look around at the bare white walls and think to yourself ‘it doesn’t feel like home here’.
Well I think that you can cure that feeling of ‘this isn’t my home’ by simply inviting a little Hygge into your life and making a few little changes to the way your home is set up.
What is Hygge though?
Well unless you have been living under an avocado stone for the last year or so I am sure you will be well aware of the Danes’ favourite way to live. Hygge is a state of mind, an experience, an atmosphere and it’s more about creating an enjoyable space within all of these areas than it is about material possessions.
I guess hygge, above everything else, is about a sense; a sense of safety and security in our lives, of peace and tranquillity in our hearts and of belonging in our homes. According to Meik Wiking (author of the ‘The Little Book of Hygge’);
“While hygge can be an intangible and abstract concept, I do believe that we can use all our senses to detect it. Hygge has a taste, a sound, a smell and a texture…”
So where do you start if you want to make your house a home and invite a little more hygge into your life?
You start by thinking about all of the things that make you feel at home, at ease and safe from all of the dangers of the world. You think about how your home makes you feel, why have your previous homes felt more homely, what is missing from this one? You think about all of those things from years gone by that have made you feel happy inside and put a smile on your face. Then you fill your home with them.
Thinking of hygge in terms of senses can guide us in our pursuit of inviting more of it into our everyday lives, categorising the elements of life that make us feel safe, peaceful and happy and filling our lives with them.
Hygge is not about filling your home with bright lights, instead hygge is all about creating pools of soft light through the use of lamps, candles and even fairy lights. Clever use of lighting can make your home more inviting and increase your sense of hygge. But hygge isn’t all about the lighting that you can see; it’s about the gentle movements like the dance of a flame and warm colours, like those you find on an autumn walk. Think natural & organic as opposed to artificial & manufactured.
Tip: Hygge lighting doesn’t have to break the bank, most supermarkets now do ‘budget’ versions of our favourite candles and a few tea lights can make even the starkest room feel more hygge.
Hygge differs from person to person and when it comes to hygge smells there is only one ‘rule’ – it’s a smell that reminds you of a better time, a time where you were care-free and felt safe. For me it is the smell of a bonfire, an open fire or a campsite. A scent that instantly lifts my heart and makes me feel content. But for you it could be smell of freshly cut grass, bread baking in the oven or the sugar sweet scent of iced cakes.
Tip: Wax burners, especially those that use a tea light to melt the wax, are the epitome of hygge and are super cheap and easy to pick up. Check out your local garden centre for budget alternatives to some the high street versions.
Hygge is all about peace and tranquillity, but that doesn’t mean you have to live in silence, it just means that you should give the smaller things an opportunity to be heard. Things like the crackle of an open fire, the sound of raindrops falling and even the roar of a storm can be classed as hygge if it heightens your sense of safety & security.
Tip: No fireplace? No problem! Pick up a candle that crackles as it burns and not only create a little Hygge lighting but a hygge sound as well.
Hygge isn’t about the sleek, the modern or (as I said earlier) the artificial but about the rustic, the old-fashioned and the organic instead. Furnishing your home with more natural materials like stained woods, luscious carpets and sumptuous cushions will add to the sense of hygge in your home.
Tip: Use different tones and textures to create a more inviting atmosphere, using different shades of the same colour can create the illusion of ‘dark’ corners, especially when lit with lamps or candles
Hygge flavours are very personal in the same way that hygge scents are. So what is a hygge flavour? It is one that is comforting, reassuring and familiar. It’s the taste of your Grandma’s icing on your birthday cake, the taste of honey on your porridge or the taste of your favourite wine after a hard day at work.
Tip: Keeping things like honey in your cupboard can be a good way of creating instant hygge on those days where you don’t particularly feel it. Add it to a smoothie or a hot drink and the sit back and enjoy it.
How do you invite more hygge into your life? You invite more hygge into your life by thinking about what hygge means to you, by filling your life with things that make you feel safe and secure from the elements outside and by taking time to enjoy the smaller, less expensive things in life.
So get out there and stock up on candles, paint over those white walls and personalise your space with the things you love, not the things you think you should love.
You’ll be amazed how much hygge can be invited into your life by making just a few changes.