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Last updated: March 19, 2021 • Home Improvement

Hygge: interior design and lifestyle

What is “hygge”, and why is it getting the undivided attention of the western world? The word itself might have escaped you so far, but I assure you that the concept becomes familiar when you look through interior design magazines and see stylish but simple designs for your living room, for example. 

We are all aware of that familiarity, that well-being state of mind that we always feel when surrounded by loved ones or alone in a cozy environment. Well, through the word “hygge”, pronounced hoo-gah or hue-guh, that whole concept is expressed. The word itself comes from the Scandinavian edges of the world, notably Denmark and Norway, being more central to Denmark. It embodies a state of mind, a state of well-being, and a lifestyle that only requires the ability to be present in the moment, take your time to live, and enjoy it as best as you can.

What is Hygge?

young woman with a cup of tea

Hygge is not a to-do-list to keep on your fridge, nor is it a DIY or a how-to that can be bought from the supermarket and implemented in your life. It’s an art of being aware, conscious, and in tune with nature and what is happening around you. The word itself can not be defined in English or any other language for that matter, but it’s not limited to a country either. It can be defined by a wide composition of other words, however, but only together might they explain it: charm, simpleness, comfort, coziness, happiness, contentment, familiarity, kinship, security, and reassurance.

The concept of hygge resulted from the Danes’ need to surpass boredom, the cold and dark passing of days, and the constant routine. They created the art of intimacy as it is something to be felt. It can be as simple as lighting up a candle during a cold, harsh, Winter night and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, coffee or tea, making a routine of stopping by a flower shop every other week or taking the time to brew a real cup of tea. This lifestyle can be incorporated by anyone with persistence and awareness of life. It can make a huge impact on the state of mind and attitude of any person. No wonder that the Danes won the United Nations prize for the happiest people in the world and are nominated as the happiest people in the world every year. This year Finland came first while Denmark was second in Forbes’ top list of the happiest countries in the world.

But enough about what it means, this is about interior design, and as we already went over what hygge is and where it comes from, you might have already made a general idea of what will follow. Hygge can not be bought through furniture, however, you can use furniture to inspire the atmosphere behind it. We’ll go over a few ways through which even the dullest piece of furniture can become an area where you can forget about your stressful day at the office.

Hygge, a cozy concept for your home

decoration hygge and cosiness concept

With the year 2020 limiting the time we spend outside of our homes and the uncertainty of what will happen in the future, having a welcoming home to spend most of your time in helps create a turning point for interior designs. Let’s bring comfort and warmth into our homes and find a sense of awareness within every little thing we do. Finding your own “Hygge” can improve your life in the simplest of ways. 

Many families have relocated outside the major cities, but we can’t all afford such a change. Transforming your home into your stress-free sanctuary might be even better. The plus side of this is the limited budget needed. Turn the old into refurbished, the cold into warm, and unimportant into vital. We’ll see more about what a hygge interior design means in the following part.

Light warms the heart

soffa coffee table and wicker chair

When you think about warmth, comfort, and creating a welcoming atmosphere, you have to agree that light plays an important role. For a Scandinavian interior design that implements the concept of hygge in everything, light is the key outside and inside. Whether it’s natural light coming from large windows or a few candles meticulously placed in the right spots, light will warm your house and inspire a sense of kinship and intimacy to all who come in.

A fireplace is the heart of the house, and light is the natural result, but if your home doesn’t have a fireplace, don’t worry. A few candles placed on a bookcase or coffee table allows that loving warmth to seep into your heart. The color white is omnipresent in Scandinavian interior design, coupled with warm natural tones, but the light makes even intense colors soothing

To be completely fire-hazard-free, battery-operated candles look almost identical to the real thing. Lamps are the next option as it provides a nice illuminating element of importance in hygge. Just make sure to use warm light that doesn’t strain your eyes but provides enough luminosity that you can see, and you’re halfway there. Instead of light fixtures that are drilled into the ceiling and walls, choose hanging fixtures that bring the light closer to where you need it without making it too bright. Closing in the space and cozying up your home, carefully organized light can make the smallest or largest of rooms feel warm and welcoming.

Texture comforts the mind

modern romantic boho style bedroom

As mentioned before, nature plays a detrimental role in hygge interior design. Natural materials and elements have their place in this lifestyle. To better implement natural elements into your home, place a few plants in some carefully thought spots around your home, places with natural light that might seem lonely, that need a spark of life. The added benefit to this is cleaner air around your home. Another option would be to install an aquarium or a small indoor waterfall with underwater flora and fauna even if it is in limited proportions. 

You can’t think of nature without wood. Whether it is the flooring or furniture that implements wood into its design, the texture, coloring, and feel of wood bring comfort to your home. A small coffee table with some candles scattered on top of it and a good book gives you an oasis of relaxation. One of the best things about wood is that it doesn’t matter how old, simple, or used it is. If it has a story to tell, it can be a centerpiece in any home.

Textured materials like wool, faux-fur, and knitted elements are a perfect fit for the hygge atmosphere. You can imagine the warmth a knitted blanket can give you as you cozy up with friends around the living room and enjoy a cup of mulled wine. As the hygge interior design is based on a sustainable design and way of life, faux-fur responds to the need for comfort around your toes when you get out of bed in the morning. You can never have too many pillows and blankets on your bed, lined on the sofa, or spread across an armchair and the comfort and warmth they bring have a relaxing effect.

Memories ground us

vintage mid century wooden pink armchair

Speaking of armchairs and sofas, don’t throw out the old to replace them with the new. We already mentioned that this is a limited budget make-over. Everything old, worn, and tattered (as long as it’s not wholly torn) can still live in your home. Old furniture can hold sweet memories of your grandma, who liked to knit sitting on the sofa while you were playing, or maybe a table where you shared a cozy dinner with friends. We all have those items in our home that hold sentimental value, and there’s no need to get rid of them.

The walls are not the most sentimental features in a home. A few photos of the family, however, organized in a way that makes them stand out can help bring back moments of warmth, comfort for you and a way for your friends to get a glimpse of who you are. A perfect way to welcome people, not only into your house, and to strike up conversations. 

For inviting conversations, you can also organize a library of sorts or simply place your favorite novel in plain view, or the book that you’re currently reading. Curiosity will make guests jump at the opportunity to spark a conversation about something that you love. The books we read, after all, tell a lot about us.

Simplicity makes everything better

armchair rug next to bench

Through the candles, pillows, blankets, flowers, and books listed above, we don’t want you to think of clutter. If Scandinavian interior design is anything, it’s a lack of clutter. Minimalism best describes the Scandinavian interior design, but combined with a hygge lifestyle, it is minimalism with personality. 

There’s no need for an abundance of furniture around the house. If you don’t use it, then don’t let it occupy space. Storage is a great way to organize your home and make it clutter-free. Use an old trunk or luggage for storage, and it can double up as a coffee table; it has a personality and fits perfectly with natural pieces. 

Keep it simple and not overcrowded as, most of the time, space is somewhat limited around our homes. Why overcrowd your home with unnecessary things. Less is more for Scandinavian interior design, and the hygge concept requires a less hectic way of being. Both ideas can be implemented for a more comfortable and more relaxed lifestyle.

The nook for the soul

cozy place to read

It may be something that you discover while you settle in or something you create to settle in. Think of it as the place where you find your peace and quiet. We’re not referring to acoustical materials, but that can also help. What we’re talking about is your little nook where you can disconnect, have a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, and a good book to read. One of the nook rules should be no technology as this place is just for you and your thoughts.

Scandinavians find this place on a sofa, by a window, in an armchair, but wherever it is, they have a few similarities. It’s completely comfortable (think pillows, blankets, warmth), with a view of nature (next to a window facing a tree, or place a plant close to it), good lighting (natural light and a good lamp) and a small table where you can put down the book and the cup for next time.


This year taught us that the simplest things could bring comfort and joy, and as we get ready for the cold season and another year, we can all get a taste of hygge into our lives; the comfort and warmth, the sense of togetherness and reassurance. Relocating is always an option and can help you find a realtor, but we believe that it is time we take a moment and just learn to enjoy the little things. They can have a wondrous impact on our well being. It’s about time we think of ourselves for a change and disconnect from things beyond our control. 

Learn to enjoy life and be an example to others. Stress, worry, and angst should be set free and we should welcome back contentment, calm, and joy into our lives. Take a deep breath and find the time to enjoy the little things. Anyone can embody hygge, and the Danes prove it’s working.

Leave us a comment with your thoughts about this Scandinavian concept. Would you try it? Does it work or not? If they found the secret to a happy life, shouldn’t we be learning from them and share this concept? Like and Share this article with anyone you can think of who might want to adopt this lifestyle.


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