Winter is here: the days are darkening, the mornings are frosty, and everything has become a bit sleepy. Things may seem gloomy at this time of year, but in Scandinavia people have been enduring bitter winters for time immemorial without feeling down. Out of four World Happiness Reports conducted, three have seen Denmark at the top of the list (with their Scandinavian neighbours not far behind). What is the secret to their happiness? Perhaps the answer is hygge, one of those wonderful words that have no direct translation into English.
Hygge (pronounced hue-gar) is a Danish word that roughly translates to a feeling of comfort and contentment, and a love of little indulgences. The sort of warm, cosy feeling you get on the inside when you have a few old friends round on an evening to drink a bottle of wine, or when you curl up in an armchair with a blanket to a read a book on a fire-lit winter’s night. The word has become symbolic in Denmark of their culture and lifestyle, but recently the word has been spreading its feel-good sentiments across the globe. Having a warm and inviting home is an important part of hygge, and we’re on hand to show you where to get started.
“We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.”
As well being the happiest country on Earth, the Danes are also the biggest consumers of candles per head. This is surely no coincidence. A candle-lit interior is a totally different space to an electrically-lit one. The warm, natural light of a candle has an innate cosiness to it, and a dimly-lit room draws people closer together. These candles, from St Eval Candle Company are a good choice for elegant, classically designed candles, or if you want a sleeker, more modern look, try these candleholders from NY Slow Design.
Soft, cosy fabrics are an essential part of your hygge home. Fluffy cushions and throws scattered around your house will give it that fuzzy, soft-around-the-edges feel. This collection of blankets, throws, rugs and cushions from Pure Lana is made from merino wool, organic cotton and raw silk, and looks unbelievably snuggly to touch—the perfect way to turn your everyday couch into a hygge refuge.
But you can’t simply transform your living space into a hygge hideaway with one or two big statement pieces. After all, hygge is all about the little things! It’s about a little knitted lambswool cosy wrapped around your mug (Linda Bloomfield), or an advent calendar with tiny metal trays to store your chocolates (Rowen & Wren). It’s about handmade Christmas decorations (The Black Rabbit), a wooden bird family sitting on the mantlepiece (ARCHITECTMADE), or an immaculately uneven set of bowls and plates for your kitchen and dining room (Sthål).