Winter, especially January and February is a time when many of us can feel a bit low in energy. All we crave is a big cozy blanket and a cup of hot fragrant tea. And perhaps a pumpkin pie. And a good movie. The holiday season is over and spring seems to be still a long way off, so no wonder we get a bit of the winter blues “knocking on our door”. And let’s face it: winters can be rough. Days are shorter and colder, we don’t get as much sun anymore so it might be a bit challenging to stay positive, even indoors. In Scandinavia (i.e. Norway, Denmark and Sweden) the weather never really gets crazy hot and autumns as well as winters are long and dark so Scandinavians know pretty well how to improve the winter blues with a bit of hygge. If you have read my old-favorite post on the reason why Danes are thought to be the happiest nation on the Earth, (hint-hygge), then you know what I’m talking about.
So let’s get started and make our homes a bit more hyggeligt!
A pleasant warm glow is one the easiest (and probably cheapest) ways to make your home interior feel more comforting. Since bright sunshine is not too frequent in Scandinavia, Scandinavians try to get as much of natural daylight as possible: after all it is essential to our well-being and is tends to make us happier. Get rid of heavy curtains and keep window sills free from ornaments. In Scandinavia people rarely use any curtains at all, but if you feel you need some privacy, get sheer floaty fabrics and semi-transparent white material curtains instead. Keep it light!
Forget cheap plastics, imitations and extremely bright, bold colors in your interior. Stick to organic furnishings: move towards wood, ceramics and stone. Choose quality, natural products which will create “modern rustic” feel. Scandinavians love producing and supporting local designers and rather invest in a few, but well chosen home accessories, such as an interesting frame, a chic rustic mirror or alike. To create a more Scandinavian-like interior, avoid too much acrylics and “temporary fashionable” items, rather invest in a few but well-made and well-designed pieces. Also consider soft rugs in tonal colors (preferably soft, warm grey) and smooth, simplistic patterns.
A big part of Scandinavian hygge is cozying up in the afternoon with a good atmosphere by the candlelight. Scandinavians LOVE lights – all the time, everywhere, for any occasion (or no occasion at all). Candles are light during cozy afternoon chats, for lunch time, evening by the TV and sometimes even in the office to create a more home-y, relaxing atmosphere. It’s probably not surprising why: Danes love enjoying the little pleasures in their lives and candlelight helps creating intimacy and coziness in the smallest everyday moments, which is something hygge is about. After all, hygge is all about the constant pursuit of homespun pleasures, such as wearing cozy fluffy socks, having an interesting chat by the candlelight, eating yummy oat porridge topped with nuts or baking Danish Drømmekage together in a good company.
Fun fact: Danes burn more candles per head than any other nation in Europe, according to the European Candle Association.
A few tips to make your home more of a hygge place:
- Candles – ALWAYS light up a few. Even in a daylight!
- Don’t be in a rush – rushing somewhere destroys tranquility and, therefore, hygge.
- Treat yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but has to make you feel the life worth living.
- Enjoy the things. If there’s something you dislike – change it.
- While buying interior items, stick to the same color pattern. Gray is always a good choice.
- Choose soft, pleasant and natural over cheap, bold and vibrant.