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10 Rules of Hygge | Hygge-Fying Your Home and Lifestyle

a cosy hygge living room - interior design

The Danish-Norwegian word "hygge" (pronounced "hooga") dates back to before the 1800s, its closest literal translation being "to console" or "to comfort".

Nowadays, hygge describes a cosy and contended mood or a lifestyle centred around cosiness, comfort, laughter and quality time with loved ones.

What is a Hygge Lifestyle?

While hygge interior design is popular, the hygge way isn't limited to aesthetics. It's a lifestyle centred around breaking away from the hustle and bustle of life to enjoy simple pleasures and quiet moments.

Hygge activities might include inviting your favourite people over for a cosy movie night, reading a book by the fire or sipping tea while writing a letter to an old friend.

Hygge, Mental Health and Home

hygge sign - hygge lifestyle and mental health

Hygge and mental health are closely intertwined. A hygge lifestyle encourages mindfulness and gratitude for what we have, elevating mental well-being and contentment.

Additionally, hygge-inspired homes can provide comfort and relaxation within our environment, helping reduce stress and anxiety.

This post explores creating a home that reflects the essence of hygge, offering a visually and inherently relaxing refuge to appreciate simple delights and wholesome moments.

We'll also share some lifestyle tips so you can bring the hygge lifestyle to your home and your being.

How to Create a Hygge Home Interior Design

how to create a hygge home

Creating a hygge aesthetic is all about simplicity, relaxation, cosiness and warmth.

Scandi interior design is renowned for its emphasis on clean lines, minimalism, and functionality, incorporating elements that resonate deeply with the hygge ethos of cosiness, warmth, and understated elegance.

A minimalist approach is often adopted when designing hygge spaces, all the while incorporating warm colour palettes, soothing textures, ambient lighting and natural materials.

So let's dive into how a hygge design can transform your house into a home where you can take life a little slower.

Check out our Hygge Pinterest Board for more inspiration.

Hygge Rule 1: Softness and Cosy Textures

hygge cosy textures

Incorporating plenty of soft furnishings and cosy, tactile textures is a pivotal aspect of hygge interior design.

A true hygge home is inviting, warm and comforting. Infusing your home with these snuggly elements and "softening the harsh edges" of your decor will enhance the ambience and provide a cosy place to nurture your well-being.

Start by exploring the ideas below:

Pillows and Blankets: Adding throw pillows and blankets to the areas of your home where you relax, such as your bed, couch or window seat, can instantly add warmth and comfort.

To blend with the hygge aesthetic, opt for natural and neutral colours and materials, e.g. a chunky knit blanket or woven cotton pillowcases with minimalistic patterns.

Rugs: A staple of a hygge home is a soft, fluffy rug on a hardwood floor. Any neutral-coloured, high-pile rug could work, but if you want to go the extra mile, here are some ideas:

  • Handwoven or hand-knotted: These rugs are usually handmade and have a beautiful rustic texture. They're often crafted with natural materials such as wool or cotton.

  • Hide: Hide rugs are made from animal skin like sheepskin or cowhide. They are a common addition to Scandi decor and create a cosy, natural atmosphere. If you don't like the idea of genuine animal hide, faux hide rug options provide a similar effect!

  • Shag: Shag rugs are soft and plush, thanks to their high-pile height. Lovely and soothing underfoot, shag rugs add cushion and comfort to your hygge space.

Curves: In contrast to harsh, angular lines, curved edges create a softness to the aesthetic of your home decor, elevating the hygge vibes. Consider incorporating:

  • Round tables: Such as dining tables, coffee tables, and end tables.

  • Curved furniture: A couch or an armchair with curved backs or edges.

  • Curvy decor: Such as curved mirrors, wavy wall art, rounded ornaments, and circular cushions.

Tactile Textures and Materials: To enhance your hygge space, consider including textures which satisfy your tactile senses, a.k.a feel comforting to touch, such as:

Lifestyle Tip: To enjoy your hygge home, consider how you move through it. How can you soften any harsh emotions you might be experiencing, such as stress? Soften your footsteps, be gentle when you touch your belongings, speak a little softer and express gratitude. Absorb your home's contentment. You might find you feel calmer.

Hygge Rule 2: Family-Friendly Living Areas

hygge friendly family spaces

A key element to the hygge lifestyle is togetherness, which, for lots of us, will translate to quality time with our family or loved ones.

To fully embrace the hygge way, strive for a home that makes spending time with your favourite people easy, cosy and close-knit.

Reserve spaces for socialising: If you work from home, or spend a lot of time at home, you might find that carrying out your work tasks, chores, etc, may leave your living areas cluttered and disordered. To prioritise togetherness with your family, dedicate spaces where you can all be together, e.g.:

  • Avoid using your dining table to dump bags, packages and unsorted mail. Reserve it for family meal time or activities such as board games.

  • Set up your living room so everyone has a comfy place to sit. Keep board games, playing cards, or even books full of funny jokes or stories to share within close reach.

  • Set up a cosy outdoor space. Complete it with a fire bowl, blankets, cushions, string lights, candles and warm drinks. By creating this social space outdoors, you make time away from technology and responsibilities to enjoy a starry night sky, fresh air and time with your favourite people.

  • Adjust the feng shui to create togetherness, e.g. arrange the furniture to enable conversation and connection with others. You could do this in your lounge by placing your armchairs and couches in a circular or semi-circular arrangement to enable effortless conversation between your family or guests in your home.

  • If you're house hunting or renovating and want to incorporate a hygge vibe, consider an open-plan living room/kitchen to experience the togetherness it provides.

Lifestyle Tip: Create meaningful moments with your family. Plan to sit down and drink your coffee with your partner each morning before work. Turn off your phone while you have dinner with your family. Send a message to a family member reminding them that they matter.

Hygge Rule 3: Keep it Simplistic and Minimalistic

hygge minimalism and simplicity

Hygge decor is all about a minimalistic and simple aesthetic.

Minimalistic home decor promotes a clear mind and lower stress levels, providing free space to move effortlessly through your home. Also, having less clutter makes your home more functional and enables easier tidying.

To start enjoying a simple, minimalistic home, consider these tips below:

  • Declutter: It's easy for our belongings to build up in our homes, so assess what is worth keeping and what needs to go to a new home (or in the bin!). Start in a small area, create a keep, a donate and a discard pile and then organise your kept items into designated spaces. Regularly reassess all areas so they don't become overwhelmed with unwanted clutter again!

  • Only buy what you need or what brings you joy: Keep control of impulse purchases, and if you're planning to buy a piece of decor, ensure you know where you'll place it before adding it to the cart!

  • Go for minimalist decor items: For a true hygge home, go for neutral decor pieces, avoiding bright colours and opting for more natural pieces such as handmade pottery or wooden picture frames.

  • Stick to a simple colour theme: Neutral colours serve as a backdrop for warmth, allowing cosy textures and natural elements to stand out. Soft whites, warm beiges, and gentle greys enhance the feeling of tranquillity, fostering a sense of relaxation and comfort in your space, which is integral to the Hygge concept.

Lifestyle Tip: Choose quality over quantity and enjoy simple pleasures - a cup of tea, the heat from a crackling fire, the sound of rain, or a leisurely phone call with a friend.

Hygge Rule 4: Prioritise Warmth

hygge, cosy, fireplace, living room

With Scandinavian countries being on the colder side and hygge being a Danish quality, there is a great emphasis on a hygge home being cosy and welcoming, and a key way to do this is to keep your home nice and warm.

However, turning up the central heating can skyrocket your energy bills, so here are a few other ways you can warm up your home without touching the thermostat:

  • Light a fire: If you're lucky enough to have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, light it up to create the ultimate cosy atmosphere. Alternatively, you could look into bio-fuel fireplaces if you have a safe area in your home to put one.

  • Blankets: Keep an abundance of cosy blankets in your home to snuggle up in. A quick tip: If you find the blankets tend to be strewn across the living room haphazardly, we love the idea of having a "cosies basket" to contain your blankets and throws.

  • Hot water bottles or heating pads: There's nothing more delightful than cuddling up with a hot water bottle on a cold winter evening. We also love the convenience of an electric heating pad or electric blanket.

  • Cosy nooks: Consider designating a specific area in your home as a cosy spot for warming up when the temperature drops. Perhaps a chair next to the fireplace or a heater, complete with a hot water bottle or heating pad, a blanket and add in a warm beverage for an extra level of cosiness.

Lifestyle Tips: Dress yourself in cosy socks and fluffy jumpers. Take a nap on a cold day. Bring the duvet to the couch for a movie night. Discover spots in your home where the sun shines brightest and settle in for a relaxing moment.

Hygge Rule 5: Meaningful Decor

simple hygge decor - meaningful decor

Another way to elevate your hygge space is to incorporate meaningful decor items to add soul and emotive significance to your home.

The goal is to enrich your interior design with expressive decor, enhancing the comfort your home provides.

Quality items that have a story: To embody hygge decor, consider displaying items that are made with quality craftsmanship and have a unique narrative, e.g:

  • Handcrafted ceramics

  • Locally woven throws

  • Handwoven baskets

  • Vintage family heirlooms

  • Reclaimed wooden furniture

Sentimental items: Incorporating sentimental elements in a hygge space can bring warmth and evoke positive emotions. Consider including:

  • Family photos or galleries

  • Homemade crafts, e.g. arty creations made by you or your children.

  • Treasured books, e.g. books passed down through family generations

Lifestyle Tip: Decorating your home with meaning provides a wonderful exercise for your mind. Thinking about what type of decor feels meaningful could help you to appreciate something in a new way.

Hygge Rule 6: Neutral Colour Palettes

hygge inspired living room with a beige colour theme

Selecting the right colour scheme for your hygge space sets the canvas for your design.

Stick to simplicity to ensure your home is a place of serenity, and not overwhelmed by a variety of bright colours.

For the walls, it's a good idea to stick to light colours, such as white or cream.

In terms of furniture, you can add natural warmth by opting for wood, oak or walnut finishes. Soft furnishings should also be neutral in hues such as cream, white, light grey and beige.

If you do choose to use colour, stick to warm shades to enhance the welcoming vibe of your space.

Here are some colour ideas below:

  • Warm whites

  • Neutral shades, e.g. warm/light greys, beiges, creams

  • Shades reminiscent of sand and barley

  • Warm colours, e.g. muted oranges, terracotta, pinks and warm reds. If you do choose to go for deeper shades, consider weaving them subtly throughout your decor so the majority of the design remains light.

Hygge Rule 7: Functional Ease

functionality at home - storage

To make the most out of your hygge space, you might consider adapting your home for optimum comfort by increasing the functional ease of all elements of your home, from storage to workspaces and layout to organisation.

If you read our article on 13 Tips and Tricks for Small Spaces, you'll know that no matter how cramped a room might feel, there is always a way to make it feel bigger and brighter.

By employing some space-saving storage and organising your home the smart way, your space can feel comfortable, practical and stylish.

Flexible, Comfortable Work Areas: If you work from home, consider convertible or collapsible desks that can be repositioned or condensed when needed, providing you with a flexible space.

Furthermore, make your workspace as comfortable as possible. Find an ergonomic chair, put a comfy footstool under the desk and create soft lighting to prevent your eyes from straining.

Reconfigure Your Layout: Experiment with furniture arrangements to maximise space and functionality. This can be done in a variety of ways.

Create zones by designating separate areas of your home for certain activities, e.g. a reading nook by the window with a comfortable chair and a side table for a hot beverage.

Allow for easy movement throughout your space by creating a clear path to move around your furniture. This can be achieved with solutions such as hanging storage like hooks and suspended shelves to keep walkways clear.

Intuitive Storage: Having the right storage can make or break your design. When you can put all of your belongings away neatly and easily, your home becomes effortlessly organised.

Multi-functional storage is the hero here. Think ottomans with storage space inside, under-bed storage and a vertical shelving system for efficient organisation.

Lifestyle Tip: Take time to decide whether the things that are causing you stress still need to be in your life.

Hygge Rule 8: Ambient Lighting

ambient lighting

Warm ambient lighting plays a pivotal role in crafting a cosy hygge space.

Lighting can make a huge difference to your mood, affecting things like your nervous system and sleep. Soft lighting also provides relief from the strain our eyes endure from screens and other harsh lighting we might experience outside the home.

Utilising soft, warm, ambient lighting, especially in the evening, can create a calming atmosphere - this is the cherry on top of your hygge haven.

There are many different ways to create ambient lighting, but a surefire way to create visual softness in any chosen room is to layer your lighting.

Light layering breaks up the sources of brightness, creating an overall more soothing environment. This can be done in several different ways:

  • Use multiple, small light sources: Spread out small light sources, e.g. table lamps, floor lamps, candles, string lights, etc.

  • Opt for warm lightbulbs: All lightbulbs have a colour temperature. Cool white lightbulbs can have a cold and harsh effect on a room. Choosing warm white lightbulbs can immediately make the ambience more soothing.

  • Don't rely on overhead lighting: Overhead lights are often the culprit of harsh, clinical lighting. For a cosy, hygge evening, switch off your top light and turn to smaller lamps, candles or even warm white LED strips strategically placed behind TVs and furniture to create an illuminating effect.

  • Create a warm glow with the right lampshades: While the right lightbulbs and lamps have a huge effect on lighting, the right lampshade can also make or break the ambience. Look for ones that diffuse light softly such as fabric and paper lampshades which are semi-translucent. Opt for light, neutral colours such as white and cream to produce a warm and calming glow.

Lifestyle Tip: Screens can strain your eyes. When you get home from a long day, turn off your phone and your overhead light, light some candles and give your vision a break.

Hygge Rule 9: Natural Materials

natural materials - hygge decor

A staple of both hygge and all Scandi interior design styles is the use of natural materials.

Hygge enthusiasts love to intertwine nature with the simplicity of Scandi home decor, creating a grounding effect which enhances comfort and calm.

Include wooden elements: Wood is a key element in hygge interior design. Consider wooden furniture such as oak coffee tables or timber bookshelves to create earthiness in your space. Go a step further by considering a unique wooden slat accent wall or wooden bowls for your kitchen.

Plants and greenery are a must: Bring nature inside by incorporating houseplants in your decor. Even 1-2 plants in a room can enhance the freshness of your ambience and add a subtle pop of colour. If you're short on time, you could opt for low-maintenance plants such as snake plants or succulents. They need minimal watering and can handle a smidgen of neglect now and then!

Natural fabrics: Soft textiles such as linen curtains or woollen throws are great choices to deepen the authenticity of your hygge space. Go a step further by selecting items that are locally or ethically made, or even recycled for an extra wholesome touch.

Wooden floors: We can't talk about natural materials in a hygge blog without mentioning wooden floors. Not all of us have the finances to rip up our carpets or linoleum to lay down a natural wooden floor. But if you are lucky enough to do so or you're home already has a wooden floor, you're one step closer to a truly authentic hygge design.

Natural accessories: When choosing accessories and decor, or even things like crockery and storage, avoid plastic and artificial materials. Instead, introduce earthy textures such as jute rugs, stone coasters, wicker baskets or rattan trays.

Lifestyle Tip: Spend time in nature. Bring home interesting rocks. Plan activities in your garden or on your balcony. Sit at the window and watch the world pass by.

Hygge Rule 10: Easily Blend Modern and Rustic

modern rustic kitchen - hygge

A hygge interior design seamlessly blends modern decor with rustic nuances such as vintage or antique components.

This harmonious blend of modern and rustic elements fosters a balance between simplicity, authenticity and cosiness.

A safe way to create contrast but uphold the minimalistic design is to establish a simple and neutral foundation:

  • Stick to simple colour palettes.

  • Austere furniture pieces complement each other and don't overcomplicate the space - opt for wooden furniture or furniture in natural materials and colours so they blend.

  • Create visual interest with exposed brick or cobblestone accent walls - painted or raw.

Once your foundational canvas is established, gradually combine modern and rustic elements within your design to evoke nostalgia and comfort while maintaining the minimalistic bliss of your space:

  • Combine stainless steel appliances with natural stone countertops in the kitchen.

  • Pair a sleek, contemporary sofa with a weathered wooden coffee table to combine new with old.

  • Blend vintage wooden frames with modern artwork to evoke a sense of nostalgia.

  • Incorporate comforting elements, e.g. think Grandma's vintage teapot, family heirlooms and repurposed furniture.

Hygge Activity Idea: Don't ignore what we might call "Grandma Crafts". Add a modern twist to these classic activities, e.g. crochet a wall hanging, learn to embroider your clothes, make jams with botanical essences, or cook a new recipe from across the world.

Hygge is a lifestyle and design concept that promotes comfort, relaxation, and togetherness. By incorporating the hygge aesthetic into your home, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that nurtures mental and emotional well-being. Remember to focus on softness, texture, and warmth when selecting decor, and make sure to create spaces that encourage socialising and quality time with loved ones. Take some time to slow down, enjoy life's simple pleasures, and embrace the hygge lifestyle.

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