You may have heard that the Danes are among the happiest people on earth.
It seems hard to believe that a country that is subject to freezing cold temperatures, a limited amount of daylight and paying one of the highest tax rates in the world, can remain so upbeat. This great sense of happiness could have something to do with the way Danes perceive life, and their deep appreciation for the concept of ‘Hygge’.
What is Hygge
Pronounced Hyoo-guh, Hygge isn’t something that can be directly translated into English. Hygge is more of a feeling, an experience and an atmosphere all rolled into one.
Hygge is basically a heart warming way to live a life filled with love, happiness, wellbeing, simplicity, laughter. It’s like a cosiness for the soul.
To Hygge is to not sweat the small stuff and to not get bogged down by life’s pressures, but to focus on living well and living simply with an appreciation for what you have, and most importantly spending quality time with the people in your life that matter the most.
English words that imply Hygge
As mentioned above, Hygge isn’t just a word, it’s something that has to be experienced and appeal to all of the senses. You can hear Hygge, you can see it, you can feel it, you can smell it and you can even sense it! Below we take you through some of the beautiful ways that Hygge can be experienced.
The Sounds of Hygge
All the sounds that instill a sense of peace and calm belong to Hygge. It's those sounds that make you feel cozy and safe when snuggled up indoors; picture a crackling open fire, fat rain drops landing on the roof, a thunderstorm or a howling wind. At home, the sound of Hygge also includes your favourite music.
Then there's the familiar sounds associated with exploring the great outdoors; a bird chirping, leaves crunching underfoot, a twig snapping, or a sweeping breeze rustling through the tree tops - all of the noises made by nature can be considered Hygge.
The Tastes of Hygge
To taste Hygge is to indulge in life’s little pleasures but with simple, wholesome meals. Dishes are hearty or sweetened but not overcomplicated or fancy. A delectable blend of sweet and savoury goodness come together to create the ultimate comfort food. Think slow cooked casseroles, baked cake, light fluffy pastries, dark chocolate, drizzled honey, orange zest, a glass of red wine or even warm mulled wine are common taste bud teasers.
The Smells of Hygge
There are many delicious scents of Hygge. Think sugar & spice and all thing nice. It’s the fragrance of freshly baked goods, simmering stews, steaming hot chocolate, freshly brewed coffee and sweet melting marshmallows with a dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s also the smell of burning wood embers, the earthy smells of damp grass after the rain and crisp clean air.
The Feeling of Hygge
Hygge really is more of a feeling than a thing. Well-being best describes the sensation of Hygge. It’s a sense of every day togetherness, feeling safe and secure in your surroundings and being comfortable with the people around you. Warmth, contentment and familiarity are all words associated with Hygge.
To touch Hygge physically from a tactile perspective, it’s all about the layering of lusciously soft textures. Warm, chunky knit cushions, knitted throws, fur hides (such as reindeer or sheepskin) and fluffy woollen rugs are all part of a Hygge recipe.
What does Hygge look like?
Hygge looks like all of your favourite things, favourite people, favourite food. A casual, cosy somewhat rustic setting that embraces organic, raw, natural textures. Think of a comfortable soft and cuddly setting with warm mood lighting and a roaring fireplace, or it can be a sunny, crisp morning when the natural light streaming in through the window illuminates the house perfectly.
To live the Hygge way is to live life well with a real appreciation for the simple things. It’s about allowing yourself to relax, indulge, experience happiness with loved ones, and most importantly to remember the best things in life are free.
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.
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.
House of Home is an online marketplace. We bring together retailers from across Australia and let you search 80,000 plus products in one location. There’s no place like it.
Photography by Jonathan Ho, Styling by Sarah Radhanauth, Julia Chapman & Carlinea Williamson, Furniture & Decor selections by Sarah Radhanauth.