You know the feeling when during the autumny, lazy afternoons the outside weather does not encourage you to go out, it rains, it blows – and we light a few candles, bury ourselves under our favorite soft blanket with a cup of hot coffee or tea and fall in love with the book, or watch a nice movie? This cosiness, the feeling of relaxation that we feel at the time – though hard to describe and explain, is indeed experienced by almost every one of us. It is not always cheerished enough, sometimes we’re lacking time for such quality moment, but it still exists in many forms and ways. The only problem is that it’s hard to find the words for it, because they don’t exist in Polish – but in contrary, they do in Danish and Norwegian. And that’s what hygge is. Often referred to as the key to happiness, hygge is a synonym for wellbeing that can be compared to the English equivalent of coziness. However, this is not entirely correct, because although the word may not cause more problems, the concept itself is more complicated than it sounds. Hygge is the creation of small rituals, enjoying the moment, appreciating simple pleasures in life, like the smell of freshly baked bread, enjoying the crusty bun with butter, waiting for your mum to make a hot cake with rhubarb, which aroma fills the whole kitchen or the moment in which you spend time with your friends at the nearest campfire and can not wait to taste baked potatoes, deep buried in ashes.So if this Scandinavian hygge phenomenon is not a new thing to you, I present my 5 ways to achieve hygge mood at home.
My way to hygge: lights and candles
Lamps and candles, and best all together and in large quantity. Sounds like a trivial solution, but it turns out that it is the lighting that plays a key role in defining a place as hyggeligt. Ever since, in my room you could find simple, white Christmas lights, which sometimes decorated the bed head, sometimes the shelves, and some other times they were simply hanging around the frames. Although it was a bit of astonishment at the time (after all, it was not the holiday season!), now it doesn’t surprise anyone, and the shops eventually began to offer larger variety of products, so the house can stop looking like we have forgotten to take off the decorations from the winter season. We can choose between the lovely and famous cotton ball lights, the lights hidden in small ball laces (or make them yourself), smaller fairy lights or dozens of other decorations. For those who additionally want to make their balcony or terrace hyggelight, think of candle lanterns. One of them, which I renewed a long time ago, I managed to bring with me from Poland – now it has become not only my decoration, but also a souvenir from home, which is another advantage. (read how to renew the lantern yourself).Nothing seems to be more hyggeligt, as appropriate, warm lighting. In the end, no one would feel comfortable to have over the head a lamp with light so white and sharp that it would resemble the interior of the supermarkets.
Hygge is white interior and delicate ornaments
I’ve always felt good in white interiors and in Scandinavian style, even when back in time there was no hype about it. I remember well that as a kid during the renovation of my room, I really wanted to have white furniture and white doors. Unfortunately none of the wishes above was approved and I heard that it was because it’s hard to keep it clean. Now, more than 10 years later, my room at family house, has my favorite white furniture and walls, and my mum finally appreciates how white color optically enlarges every room.During my studies, the interiors were my least concern, as they often diverged from the ideal – but I knew that this was only a temporary solution. The exception was my small but cozy flat in the Swedish Falun, which I liked very much (you can read about it here). Now, after finding my new dream home, I appreciate the simplicity of the interiors and the white walls. It makes it very easy to create different characters and looks just by the decoration change, colors or seasonal additions. In the interior where we can express our style, it’s easier for us to hygge, and that’s about it.
Hygge is a good book
The Little Book of Hygge (Meik Wiking) is a book I originally bought as a boyfriend’s gift. Quickly, however, it turned out that I was more interested in it and I began to check it out more curiously. It is truly an easy read, just to throw in your travel bag when you travel by public transport, or for a short break for coffee. It does not require much focus or analysis of content – the book is simple, lovely, with beautiful graphics (can not you love the cover of The Little Book of Hygge?) and pictures that reminded me of some family albums. I know that the hygge literature is growing every day, but in each new position we find more or less the same information. So I think that if you are curious about what this is all about – one book is all it takes and maybe thanks to it you will refresh your favorite rituals that became a bit forgotten.In addition to the hygge title, I also like to sneak under a blanket with a larger variety of books. I like crime, sensational, psychological books, in which the action is not so obvious from the beginning.Interestingly, many people identify the hygge phenomena with a paper book. They like to have it in their hand, smell it. From time to time it also happens that I buy a paper version, but usually for many years I am faithful to all kinds of ebook readers. Currently I am using my kindle paperwhite successfully (read my review after 2 years of use: here). There are plenty of reasons for that, first and foremost – I travel a lot and I like to have something to read with me, I do not necessarily want to take half a baggage for books, and I do not always have the possibility to read in the light. Besides, without buying paper books, I save space at home, I save money (ebooks are cheaper) and I keep my ecological conscience calm. I assure you that hygge with a good book can also mean an ebook.
Hygge is a pleasant smell
Do you recall these moments when you felt good, safe and relaxed. Most of our memories are not just what we’ve seen but also what we felt. My very vivid memory, which brings to my mind the specific scent, was a holiday by the lake, when during a rainy day I was sitting with my mum on the terrace of the house. Whenever I feel such delicate breeze in the summer and the fresh smell of rain, it reminds me of that time – I love it! The previously mentioned cake with rhubarb and other pastries that my mum is a specialist in baking: nowhere else they smell or taste as good as at home. I also like the fresh scent of bed linen, which always reminds me of my house. Hygge is such small things, the smells that make us feel good.To get the scent of hygge, you can find in the store all kinds of scented oils that we choose according to our own taste. However, an interesting solution is to buy a special wax, which is used just like oil – it is enough to have a special “tealight house” to which you throw a piece of wax, and then heat to get the scent (the cost of one is about 2-3EUR). While shopping in Swedish Karlskrona, I came across a Yankee Candle wax for the first time and there I found… the smell of fresh laundry! Later it was just better: the smell of soft blanket, the smell of baby powder, candy, coffee and many more. The first two (laundry and blanket) were my favorite! Later on my house was filled with beautiful, fresh scent. Waxes, and oils are fresh, natural and unobtrusive – unlike the sticks of incense which always cause a headache in my case.
Home is a safe haven
If you are not satisfied with how your home or apartment looks like and you do not find anything inside that would make you feel cozy there – it’s time for a change! And on contrary, I do not mean expensive repairs. It’s all in the details – in things that make you happy when you look at them. Pictures, previously mentioned lights, small ornaments. I think every place is able to gain some charm regardless of which room is your favorite: it may be a mini garden on the balcony, you may feel good cooking or hanging out in the livingroom in the comfy armchair. The finest details like things we have built or those received as the gifts from the loved ones – that’s what makes the soul of the place. The key is about appreciating WHAT is in there, not HOW MUCH. Hygge is not at all seen as richly decorated interiors, expensive works of art, or general glamor. It’s in the atmosphere, the favorite music in the background, the festive thick socks we have been wearing for years; Stretched sweater which we always dress when outdoors gets cool and favorite, lightly muggy cup, in which coffee tastes best.I have moved in and out a number of times – I changed my apartment, city and country. But for the first time during minor home shopping, I said that I bought it for home, not for the flat. And it was so natural for me that if it were not the boyfriend who caught that subtle difference, it would have been unnoticed by me. This is a subtle sign that the hygge is here for good.
Share with me your tips for achieving hygge at home!