Ah, hygge. This Danish concept may be the best thing the Danes have ever given us — and that includes cheese Danishes. (Although, the simple pleasure of eating a cheese Danish fits perfectly into the hygge lifestyle.)
Pronounced “hoo-gah,” even the Danish word is comforting. It sounds like a hug. And just saying it aloud makes us feel warm and cozy.
“Cozy” is probably the closest word we have to “hygge” in the English language. But the concept of hygge is about so much more than that. It’s a way of life. Hygge living embraces life’s little moments — enjoying a warm drink and a plate of pastries, curling up with a soft throw blanket and a good book, or sharing a simple meal with loved ones.
Making space in your life to savor these small pleasures creates a feeling of comfort, well-being, safety, togetherness, and belonging. It creates a feeling of hygge.
That state of mind is an essential part of Danish culture, and it’s one of the reasons Denmark consistently ranks among the world’s happiest countries — along with other Nordic nations like Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and Norway that have similar cultural concepts.
Fortunately, you don’t have to hop a plane to Denmark to add more hygge to your life. You can invite everyday pleasures into your home with hygge decor. We’ll explain how to create a hygge home and share hygge decor ideas for every room in your house.
What is hygge decor?
The concept of hygge comes from Scandinavian countries, so it’s no surprise that hygge design incorporates many of the same elements as Scandinavian interior design. Both rely on natural materials like wood, leather, linen, and sheepskin — and both embrace simple, functional design.
But hygge style places a bigger emphasis on joy than Scandi style. You don’t have to stick to the minimalism that defines Scandi decor. You can make room for home decor that serves no purpose other than to make you smile.
You can also break from the neutral color palette associated with Scandi design. Hygge color schemes often include neutral tones, but you can incorporate colors that bring you joy, make you feel calm, or make your space feel warmer and cozier.
Hygge colors often have an earthy undertone — picture a dusty gray-blue rather than royal blue, or a deep harvest orange rather than traffic-cone orange. But this style is all about your comfort and happiness, so if a color makes you happy, it can fit into your hygge space.
Hygge home design features a lot of overstuffed and upholstered furniture alongside pieces with a rustic, worn-in look. Comfortingly familiar motifs — like plaid, cable knit, stripes, or folksy floral prints — make your house feel like a home.
Overall, this interior design style feels like the halfway point between Scandinavian and modern farmhouse style.
How to add hygge decor to your home
Now that you understand hygge design, it’s time to create happy little rooms throughout your house. We’ll share tips for cozying up your space from the minute you step through the door until you close your eyes at night.
Hygge in the entryway
An often overlooked area, the entryway makes your house’s first impression. It welcomes you home at the end of a long day, and it greets guests when they walk in the door. This area sets the tone for your space, so don’t overlook it as an opportunity to establish a cozy ambiance with entryway furniture and decor.
Warm lighting and candles are a big part of establishing a hygge atmosphere. So adding a rustic wood console table, like the Esther Console Table in Natural Sheesham Wood, will give you a place to arrange and light candles in your entryway. (Choose LED candles if you can’t see your entryway from your seating area so that you aren’t leaving lit candles unattended. After all, feeling safe is essential to creating a hygge atmosphere.)
Another option is to style your entryway with a coat rack, hooks, shoe storage, or a hall tree. Not only do these items add function to your space, but they also create a comfortable lived-in atmosphere. When guests walk in the door, they’ll know they can take off their coats, kick off their shoes, and get comfy.
Hygge in the living room
You’ll spend most of your downtime lounging in the living room, so it’s extremely important to make room for activities that bring you joy. If that’s a cozy movie night, then you’ll need a media console to support your entertainment system.
But life is all about balance, so add elements that invite you to turn off your technology and enjoy analog activities too. Oversized bookshelves can store your favorite paperbacks and board games. A coffee table with a glass top and slide-out drawers, like the Stephie Coffee Table, allows you to assemble puzzles, show off your in-progress chess game, or display your favorite coffee table book (perhaps “The Little Book of Hygge” by Meik Wiking).
Of course, comfort is key to hygge style. Add an overstuffed sofa or sectional, like the Blaine Sectional made with soft corduroy fabric. It includes an abundance of throw pillows to make it extra comfy, but if your sofa of choice doesn’t come with pillows, you can add your own to decorate your living space.
You can also create a cozy reading nook by placing a plush accent chair near a window for natural light. And for your finishing touches, all you’ll need is a warm knit throw blanket, a few woven storage baskets, and perhaps a houseplant to add greenery to the space.
Hygge in the dining room
Togetherness is an important element of a hygge lifestyle, and the dining room table is where people come together.
To create a comfortable atmosphere in the dining room, choose a sturdy wood table, like the Tyler Rectangular Dining Table. It will make guests feel like your space isn’t too delicate to relax in.
Pair your table with soft upholstered dining chairs, like the Bexley Tufted Side Chair, or use this as an opportunity to mix multiple textiles — a signature element of hygge style. You can combine a leatherette chair, like the Ortega Padded Dining Chair, with a sheepskin or faux fur throw.
The sheepskin will not only make the leatherette feel warmer during the winter months, but it will add a rich textural element to your home design. You can incorporate even more texture by placing a woven area rug under your dining table.
Food is one of life’s best simple pleasures, so don’t forget to emphasize this in your dining room design. If you have the space, you can create a separate breakfast nook, which will encourage you to linger over your morning meal whenever you have the chance.
In a smaller space, you can emphasize simple pleasures with a serving cart. Use your serving cart for coffee and tea, cocktails, or breakfast foods. You can even wheel it into the bedroom for breakfast in bed.
Hygge in the bedroom
A cozy bedroom starts with a comfortable mattress. Make sure to shop in person so you can get the right firmness level for you. Then pile on the pillows, duvet, and throw blankets.
Mix and match the fabrics to add depth to your design and indulge in the simple pleasure of soft textiles. You can combine cotton sheets with a linen duvet and a mix of knit and faux fur throw pillows.
The bed is the center of your bedroom, so choose a headboard that makes you feel cozy and comfy. Add a natural element to your bedroom with a wood bed, like the Woodmont Storage Bed, or you can incorporate more softness with an upholstered bed, like the Mosby Bed.
For the finishing touch, incorporate warm lighting. A set of string lights over the bed adds to a romantic room design. Uplighting — where the lamp shade directs the light up toward the sky, like you see on the Gianni Floor Lamp — can also provide softer, more diffuse light. Uplighting is extremely flattering and can help you feel more comfortable in the bedroom. And hygge decor is all about everyday comforts.
Happiness starts at home
Embracing the Danish concept of hygge in your home decor can help you incorporate this state of mind into your everyday life. Hygge is all about feeling comfortable, safe, and content — and if there’s one place where you should feel this way, it’s at home.
By turning your home into a sanctuary of cozy textures, warm lighting, and simple pleasures, you’ll be surrounded by reminders to slow down and savor the small things.
Happiness starts at home. Hygge decor can remind you to make room for the things that make you happy.
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