Those who keep abreast of the latest home and lifestyle trends should be familiar with the term ‘hygge’. Hailing from Denmark, this difficult-to- pronounce word (‘hoo-gah’ for those still struggling) has become a buzzword of countless lifestyle, fashion and home magazines. But what exactly does hygge stand for, and how can you achieve it in your home?
Pronouncing hygge is perhaps easier than summarising what it means. It’s been described as ‘the art of creating intimacy’, ‘cosy togetherness’ and ‘taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things’. In short, it’s about creating a warm, cosy atmosphere – something we all strive for in winter.
Of course, there are a few essential items which are key to creating that hygge feeling – candles being one of them. According to the European Candle Association, Danes burn up to six kilos of candle wax each year, and 85% say that hygge relies on candlelight. Danes are also among the happiest people in Europe, so it’s small wonder their curious little word has also become their greatest export.
In this guide, we offer 7 style tips to help you achieve a fabled sense of hygge in your home this winter.
Where else to begin than candles, the key ingredient of hygge. Long or short, fat or thin, scented or unscented – it doesn’t matter. What matters is where they’re placed, how many there are, and how well the room is ventilated to keep it airy and comfortable. Infusing your home with the warming glow of candlelight is your first step on the road to hygge-dom, so stock up on lots of wax ahead of a cosy night in.
To achieve ‘hyggeligt’ in your home, you might need to reconsider your current lighting strategy. Instead of using a single ceiling light, scatter various lamps around the room, and choose ones which offer a diffused, natural light. Hyggeligt is about creating caves of light around your living space, intimate little areas of cosiness where you can relax and gather your thoughts. If you’re reluctant to splurge on new lamps, replace existing bulbs with low power alternatives that give off a more ambient and pleasing light.
In his book, The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking lists what Danes associate with hygge, and fireplaces come third behind hot drinks and candles. There’s something innately comforting about gathering around the fireplace with loved ones, so you can maximise your home’s hygge-vibes simply by stoking up the fire. Even an electric fire will do, as it’s more about the glow and the warmth than the fire itself. What better way to celebrate the joy of hygge on a chilly winter’s night than by lounging near the fire with your nearest and dearest?
What makes a smell ‘hygge’ differs from person to person. Perhaps it’s the smell of baking or your first coffee of the day. It could be the familiar scent of an apple orchard or your favourite scented candle. Whatever it is, the smell should make you feel safe, comfortable and secure, instilling a sense of nostalgia, innocence and safety that is reminiscent of childhood. Scented candles are ideal for creating a subtle and relaxed ambience, and for
helping you find your happy hygge place.
To snuggle up with a blanket on a cold winter’s eve is very hygge. Lots of blankets, cushions and throws are must-haves in the hygge home, so pile them up on your sofas and sink into intimate relaxation. Like scent, blankets can help us feel more safe and secure, which is the cornerstone of hygge. Cover yourself head to toe with your favourite blanket, rest your
head on a plush cushion, and forget all about the worries of the day.
Although Scandinavian style is functional and minimal, the Danes love vintage homeware, and antique furniture and accessories have become synonymous with hygge. Why? Old, second-hand furniture and homeware has a history, a story and a narrative, helping to instil that all-important sense of comforting nostalgia. Vintage pieces are also tactile and imperfect, and it’s this which makes them more comfortable and usable, encouraging you to kick back and relax.
Hygge is grounded in taking pleasure from simple beauty, and what could be more beautiful than nature? The Danes are known to decorate their homes with all sorts of natural ornaments, from twigs and leaves to fluffy and warming sheepskin rugs (real or otherwise). Whether it’s pine cones, conkers or a wreath of oak leaves, anything you can collect from nature to display in your home will enhance the spirit of hygge.
At Parks, our 100% natural wax and home fragrance products, made from botanical, ethically-sourced extracts, are great for creating a feeling of hygge through the cold winter months. To browse our full collection of candles, room sprays and perfume diffusers, visit the homepage.