Note: Pernilla Marsh is an EveryHome agent who was born and raised in southwestern Sweden. Below, she shares with us the art of creating hygge in an American home.

Hygge is a word that has become trendy and many articles have been written about it. It’s a Danish word and there is no real translation of the word but it can be translated to ‘cozy of togetherness’, ‘the art of creating intimacy’ and ‘taking pleasure in the small things in life’. Even though it is a Danish word, this art of living is found all over Scandinavia. I am from southwestern Sweden and this cultural heritage is part of our lives and it comes naturally to us. You could say it is a way of life in our countries. Hygge is mostly associated with winter and cold weather and during those cold months people try to create warmth and coziness to make it easier to live through winter.

Danish people are always at the top of the list of the happiest countries in the world and many people associate that with their hygge culture. Naturally, we want to try to re-create this phenomenon here as well. Hygge is really about creating moments where you slow down, enjoy the moment and try to rejuvenate. According to the Danish, hygge can happen all year round but most people want to try to recreate it during the colder months. The most important aspect of hygge is that it is a personal approach. How you create it is by using things, activities, food and places that make you happy. 

If you want to create a little bit of hygge in your home, there are a few guidelines:

  • First you need to find your favorite spot in your home where you like to sit and relax. It can be a part of a room or a nook, anywhere in the house. Most Danish people would pick a spot near a window. Usually, you will have a nice chair but even if you don’t have one, you can use big cushions on the floor to make it more comfortable.
  • A fireplace is nice to have to create that warm atmosphere. If you don’t have a fireplace, candles is a must. During the dark months in Scandinavia, candles are lit everywhere to make the rooms feel warm and cozy. Use many candles all around your space if you really want to create a hygge atmosphere.
  • The nature-loving Danish want to bring nature into the space. You can use twigs, rocks, nuts, animal skins (of course use only fake animal skins) and anything else found in nature. Wooden furniture and other wooden items such as bowls and candle holders belong in your space too. All these things make the space feel simple and make you feel closer to nature, which is an important part of hygge.
  • Books are a must according to the Danish. Pick your favorite books and magazines and be surrounded by them. Then read one of them to fully enjoy your space.
  • Comfort food or a hot drink is definitely needed to create hygge. This is not the time for healthy food – instead, pick your favorite food and indulge! Some good examples would be a stew, a soup, baked goods (may I suggest a Danish?), hot tea or coffee.
  • Lastly, you can’t have too many blankets and cushions. They will definitely add to the coziness and warmth during the cold months. Use them even if you’re not cold, they are there to make you relax and feel comfortable. Remember to wear comfortable clothes as well, a big sweater, a pair of soft, loose pants and warm socks.

When you create this space, make it your own. Whatever makes you happy and comfortable. This is the time to relax and rejuvenate. Even though most of this sounds like something you do alone, you can create hygge when you are with other people.

It’s all about what makes you happy and cozy. So start creating your space and try to be as happy as the Danish people are.

If you want to learn more about hygge, buy The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking.