By now you may be well versed with the Danish concept of Hygge from our previous series of articles. If you happened to miss them, you can learn all about Hygge, what it is, how to pronounce it, and why it’s so awesome by visiting the links below.
In this article we cover how to create an authentic Hygge Dining experience that will warm and welcome your guests.
Dining the Danish Way
When it comes to Hygge, life is centred around the dining table sharing good food and enjoying great company. In a Danish home it is not unusual for a whole day to be spent leisurely planning a meal, preparing it and then sitting down for hours around the table to chat, giggle, drink and dine.
Taking Things Slow
The Danes don’t rush, they don’t scoff and they don’t consume technology along with their evening meal. There’s no T.V’s, no phones, no iPads - just conversation, laughter, storytelling and the soothing sounds of a fireplace crackling away in the background.
The act of Hygge is about creating a strong sense of ‘togetherness’ and sharing equally. Whether it be during conversation, preparing meals, or cleaning up afterwards, everyone engages equally in sharing their stories and helping each other out. It’s these simple tasks that create an opportunity for closeness and turning time spent together into quality time.
So why do the Danes place such a high level of importance on interacting this way? Interestingly, the act of dining together encourages the release of endorphins in the brain vital to social bonding. The Danes don’t set out to impress their guests, they aim to make them feel warm, fuzzy and welcomed.
To learn more about this concept visit our article The Importance of Dining Together .
Creating the Perfect Hygge Dining Experience
In addition to the above mentioned points, creating a beautiful tablescape is the perfect way to set the tone for a Hygge lunch or dinner party.
A Hygge dining setting needs to have visual impact without appearing too formal or fancy. There's no need for a perfectly laid table. Serving plates can be stacked while platters and cutlery can be casually laid out. Serving dry food in woven baskets is a nice way to achieve more of an organic and natural feel.
The key to Hygge dining etiquette is to create a casual ambiance with a natural feeling that is warm and inviting.Your guests should feel welcomed, comfortable, cosy and safe. A sense of comfort can be created by casually adorning the back of each of dining chair with a light throw blanket. If you have a dining bench, a reindeer or sheepskin hide can be draped across the top of it to add softness and cuddle factor.
Dress your table with comfort food and don’t forget to bring the wine (or mulled wine). We have created three super tasty but easy to make recipes for you to try. Check out our Hearty Lamb Casserole, our delicious Rhubarb and Custard Cake and our pièce de résistance (or as the Danes like call it “stykke de modstand”) Mitchelton Mulled Wine recipe.
A Hygge table starts with a simple centre piece. Its purpose is to draw the eye to the table and create a focal point. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create something beautiful. A handmade vase or a jug brought from a vintage store can be filled with a bunch of wildflowers, or fresh flowers picked from the garden are a lovely option. Team with a couple of unscented candles and finish off with some little twinkle lights for a beautiful ambience.
Texture can be brought to the table by way of natural linen and woven placemats. A linen table cloth, table runner and napkins are perfect for creating a relaxed setting that looks natural and understated. Avoid bright colours and heavy patterns. Instead opt for a neutral palette with subtle colours such as sage, blush, chalky blue or ash that will create ‘lift’ but not compete with all the beautiful colours and textures of your food. The goal is to create a setting that lets the food take centre stage.
Tableware & Servingware
Forget the bone china, to get the Hygge look you need to go a little more rustic but not too rustic.The trick is to create a balance by layering shape and texture with table linen and servingware. The right tableware and servingware can enliven a Hygge table setting as long as it’s kept warm and neutral.
Look for earthy tones, dusty pastels or monochromatic tableware. Hues including charcoal, tan, flax or chalky whites are perfect for ceramic platters and plates. Wooden cutting boards, plates and bowls can also work well, while gun metal, brass and copper cutlery are the perfect finish to garnish your plates.
Creating an authentic Hygge dining experience isn't about slaving away for hours in the kitchen and having to put on an extravagant feast that's fit for royalty. It's about making the foods you enjoy to share with the people that you love, and creating an ambiance that conveys a little sense of magic.
Get the Look
If you love the furniture and homewares shown in our article images as much as we do, the great news is you can find them all below to buy.
Our short video below takes you through all the beautiful ways to bring Hygge to your life.
To learn more about the Danish art of happiness, discover Hygge home decorating tips and find yummy Hygge recipes, visit our series of articles below.
- What is Hygge
- How to Hygge in the Home
- The A-Z of Hygge
- Hygge 10 Step Checklist
- Dining the Hygge Way
- Hygge Hearty Lamb Casserole Recipe
- Hygge Rhubarb and Custard Cake Recipe
- Slow Cooked Mulled Wine Recipe
The team at House of Home would like to thank our sponsor Mitchelton Wines. Many thanks also to Oblica Fireplaces for the use of their stunning showroom and the following companies whose beautiful products feature in our photo shoot.
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Photography by Jonathan Ho. Styling by Carlinea Williamson, Sarah Radhanauth & Julia Chapman. Furniture & Decor selections by Sarah Radhanauth.