The Christmas lights are coming down, the wreaths are being packed away and everywhere the process of de-Christmasing has begun. This time of year can feel like a relief: a break from the clutter and rush that often comes with the holidays. But it can also leave your home feeling a little empty. Once the guests have gone and the candlesticks have burnt out, what's left to cheer your home through the rest of winter? Our answer: hygge.
Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish word that has been gaining recognition and it's one we find especially important in the interior design world. Hygge is a quality. It's about a sense of comfort, peace and togetherness. According to Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book Of Hygge, Hygge is about "an atmosphere and an experience. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe." It comes from the Danes' world, one suffused in fuzzy rugs and candles; a place where comfort and coziness are essential in order to survive the dark winter days. And we find it the perfect way to survive a moody Michigan winter as well.
That might all sound a little abstract but we promise there are real and physical ways to practice hygge in your own home. Below, we've listed a couple of our favorites:
1) Incorporate Lots of Soft Lighting
Lighting is key to hygge. The Danes know all about long, dark days and their answer is to fill their homes with cozy lighting. Think candles, fireplaces, warm table lamps and twinkle lights. Anything that creates a rich and inviting glow, rather than a harsh, intense light. And if the sun is shining, pull up those shades and let it stream in! Even crack a window on the warmer days to air out your home. A little sunlight and fresh air does wonders.
2) Plan a Post-Holiday Gathering
Family and friends are also a huge part of hygge. It can be hard coming down from the sense of togetherness that the holidays bring. If this is the case for you, plan a relaxed gathering for friends and/or family in the mid-winter months. Do a game night or simply sit by the fireside and chat over glasses of wine. Whatever you do, keep it cozy and relaxed.
3) Add in Houseplants
Of course we couldn't resist an opportunity to encourage a little houseplant love. But they really are hygge! Houseplants can help you destress, add life to your home and help purify the air. Just make sure to choose easy care ones that aren't going to add to your workload. This is also a great way to help tide you over until spring if you're missing the great outdoors.
4) Choose Winter Decor Over Christmas Decor
If your home feels a little sad after all the Christmas decor has been packed away, try purchasing some decor that can be used all throughout the winter. For instance, opt for thick but neutral throws over holiday themed choices so that they can be left out all season. Use white twinkle lights around your favorite houseplants or string them across a shelf or headboard; they'll look festive for Christmas but they won't look odd if left out afterwards. Choose throw pillows in rich shades and textures that'll warm up your space through the holidays and beyond. You can even switch out your area rug for a plusher choice in the cold months. By choosing more flexible, winter themed decor, instead of all Christmas themed choices, you'll extend your use of these items and keep your home cozier all season.
5) Slow Down
One of our favorite tips is to simply slow down. Turn off your phone. Put on your favorite slippers. Have a long conversation with a loved one over a mug of tea. Lay on your bed and listen to the January rain. Creating hygge is not just about changing your environment but also about what you're doing. If you're not choosing to be in the moment, you could have the coziest most hygge-like house and not enjoy it at all. So choose to be present and that alone will start you down the hygge road.
There are so many ways to practice this concept of coziness and togetherness. It can be applied to what you wear (think soft sweaters and thick socks), what you eat and drink, the activities you do and the ones you spend time with. And everyone's version of hygge is going to look a little different. So sit down with your favorite steaming drink and think about what makes YOU feel cozy, comfortable and secure. Then begin to build those concepts into your home and daily life. We're convinced that winter doesn't have to be a dreary season, but rather a cozy, candle-lit time spent with the ones we hold dear.
Happy winter, dear ones!