What is hygge? How to get that cosy feeling

Over the years, the term hygge has gained a lot of popularity with everyone looking to add that extra layer of comfort to their homes. From cosy bedrooms with an abundance of throws and cushions, and uncluttered kitchens, to sanctuary bathrooms with lit candles and mood lighting. Sounds lush, right?

But what is hygge? 

The Danish word translates to cosiness, a sense of comfort. It promotes enjoying the simple pleasures in life with a focus on wellbeing. Coming from one of the happiest countries in the world, it’s a clear indication that this concept can help boost our moods. And I think we could all do with a bit of hygge. 

Firstly, for me, hygge is all about creating that cocooning feeling in my home. It’s about ensuring it always feels like a safe space, as well as spending quality time with family and friends. Unwinding with a good book and a hot cuppa, recharging my soul in nature and indulging in self-care.

a Scandi style living area
The Scandi Edit by Reena Simon for John Lewis.

How do you actually pronounce hygge? 

Secondly, if you kept hearing ‘higg’ or ‘hugh’ when reading the word, I’m afraid you’ve been in the dark this entire time. But I was right there with you until my editor brought up the subject, so no judging here.  

So, it’s more like hue-gah, for all of us non-fluent Danish speakers. Kind of rhymes with nougat, right?  

Now that we’ve got the difficult part out of the way, it’s time for the fun bit. Do you love Scandi style and need ways to add a dash of hygge to your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom? Well, here’s how you can create a cosy atmosphere, perfect for relaxation…

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a calm and chilled bedroom in neutral tones
Voyage carpet in Orbit, Kersaint Cobb.

Step one: Layer textures 

Cosy interiors are synonymous with a mix of comfy and tactile fabrics. Think tufted rugs, neutral linen curtains, raw wood, sheepskin cushions and rattan furniture. Play with different materials to find the right balance of textures, be it for your master bedroom, dining room scheme or living area. 

a hygge living area
Ceiling lamp 4006 X-Large in matt white, Hadeland Glassverk.
a chilled out bathroom that evokes hygge
Cabrits bath, from £4209.26, Victoria + Albert Baths

Founder of Recork James Scully thinks that “a big part of hygge design is incorporating natural materials in the interior decor scheme”. 

“Materials that have a strong connection with nature include wood, cotton, rattan and cork – paired with a laid back and minimal design,” he says.

a zen living room
Una flooring collection, from £54.96 per sq m, Recork.

Create a cocooning feeling with a neutral colour palette 

Earthy tones are a go-to for adding a calming feeling in your home. Warm tones are ideal for turning your space into a cosy retreat-like zone. Pair cream beige, burnt terracotta and golden amber with sage green, deep blue and rich aubergine and feel more Zen as a result. With a roster of nature-inspired hues, together with natural textures, you’re set to achieve a relaxing scheme. 

a hygge bedroom
Eski bedframe in Eski Bed Accalia Oyster, from £2599 for a king size, Sofology.
a kitchen counter illustrating the concept of hygge
Amini large matt black pendant, £56, Iconic Lights.

Poppy Peace, creative director of Milc Interiors, suggests that “a hygge interior is created from a neutral colour palette. Deriving from nature’s earthy colour palettes, choosing browns, beiges and greys are always popular within this look”.

“It can be a fairly minimalist look, however, textures within the furniture and fabric choices created additional interest and depth. Neutral tones can be used as a base, so pair them with soft mood lighting and a combination of different textures in scatter cushions, throws or artwork prints,” she says.

Keep an uncluttered space  

You know what they say – clear space, clear mind. So, if you’re surrounded by miscellaneous bits and bobs, you definitely won’t feel at peace. So, to ensure your Zen is not disrupted, declutter your kitchen, bedroom and bathroom and keep only the essentials on hand.

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I promise you, you’ll thank yourself later for getting rid of all the clutter and gaining precious inches of space, be it on your kitchen island, worktops or in bathroom cabinets.  

a hygge shelving unit
Ascoli triple round ceiling light, Astro Lighting.
a rattan bed in neutral tones
Wicker headboard, £198 for a double, Cox & Cox.
a calm hygge shower room
Shell Marble panel, Showerwall.

Add warmth  

What screams ‘cosy’ more than electric fireplaces and stoves? Especially if you have a nice metal basket with rustic logs nearby. Practical, but also great for getting the hygge aesthetic right, choose an electric fire system and place it near your media unit. Or why not go for a compact stove in your bedroom for keeping warm and instantly getting that comfy feeling? But make sure you do so safely, so consult with an expert first. 

what is hygge? a living room that evokes feelings of warmth and calm
The Lagom stove, from £2399 for steel, from £2499 for ceramic, Arada.
a calm living room illustrating the concept of hygge
Lundhs Emerald natural stone, from £680 per sq m, Lundhs Real Stone.

Bring a touch of the outdoors in 

Nature plays an important role in our wellbeing, so take this as your sign to open a window and add a couple air purifying house plants in your scheme. Apart from plants, you can use trendy design focuses such as tree branches above the dining table, pampas grass in oversized vases and finishing touches made from rustic, natural materials. 

a Zen living room in muted tones
Day Home at Amara. Styling and interior design by Josefin Tolstoy. Photography: Åsa Liffner
a calm neutral bedroom illustrating the concept of hygge
Denver white bed, £229.99 for a double, Furniture And Choice.

So, these you have it – five quick and easy steps to adding hue-gah to your space.

Now, what does hygge mean to you? Let me know in the comments… 

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