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Bring Hygge into Your Life

Added comfort, coziness and the feeling of home By Abigail Thorpe

living local story

There’s no time like the present to live each moment to its fullest in a way that goes beyond mere possessions and mindless distractions.

For inspiration on how to live mindfully, taking extra care to make moments sweet, intentional, and oh so full of peace and joy, we look to a Danish concept for inspiration that’s been taking the world by storm over the past few years: Hygge.

Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) is the Danish word for cozy, but it embodies so much more. Originally from Norwegian and old Nordic dialect meaning to seek protection, refuge and shelter from the outside elements, the word was adopted into the Danish language in the 18th century, and it’s become an intrinsic value and practice of the Danish people.

Hygge can be that feeling of ease when you’re someplace comforting; it can be enjoying a moment like that first cup of coffee in the morning or a laugh with a close friend. At its core, the concept of Hygge is about enjoying the moment, and so much of that feeling of comfort comes from your surroundings and space—even more than we know. While you’re getting into the spirit of adding some hygge to your life, look to how you can set up the ideal environment right at home.

Keep it simple. The Danes know how to keep things simple and tidy; even their furniture and design concepts are minimalistic, ergonomic, and convey a sense of calm. Having a clean, tidy space you can relax and enjoy is conducive to a cozy environment to welcome family and friends or enjoy some time alone. Don’t overdo your space; focus on things that make it welcoming and restful, and add a few small touches here and there to make it a peaceful oasis you can enjoy all season long.

Lighten the mood. That’s where lighting comes in. It might sound silly, but lighting is a big part of creating that hygge moment and space. It adds depth, comfort, beauty and relaxation, and can completely transform any indoor or outdoor space. Candles are an easy way to add lighting, but also think about lamps and natural sources of light. But keep the light calm and natural. Fluorescent brightness isn’t a great way to set the mood.

Add some green to your space. No, not in the paint sense, we’re talking about adding some plants. While it may be grey and gloomy outdoors, it’s time to embrace the green, lush blooms. Add some indoor plants to your space to create a calm, beautiful environment that’s as great for entertaining as it is to relax and have that perfect cup of tea or hot cocoa in the middle of a cold winter day.

Make it personal. Hygge is a feeling and sense of being at home, so it’s only fitting that some personal touches will make all the difference in creating that safe haven where you’ll be happy to stay put all winter long. These are items that have meaning for some specific reason: things you love, family mementos, something beautiful you found during a trip. It’s often the items that tell a story or bring back fond memories that make a place feel like home.

Take some extra time to add those little details: light the fire, add cushions and blankets for comfort, light the candles, and pull out the good glasses. One of the keys to hygge is living in the moment and enjoying the simple things in life.

Hygge means different things to different people but at its heart is a feeling of being home, of comfort, warmth, happiness and ... coziness.

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