By Chief Design Officer, Terry Lin
Hygge? (Pronounced hoo-ga)
Hygge, a concept introduced by the Danish, is about creating a feeling of coziness and contentment evoked by simple comforts. Originally, it was considered a way to cozy up for winter, but according to Bronte Aurell, hygge expert and author of ScandiKitchen: The Essence of Hygge, it can really happen all year long.
We’ve all experienced hygge while spending time with our loved ones, eating delicious food, and of course, having a deep and meaningful conversation. I interpret hygge as getting cozy.
Hygge isn’t about creating the perfectly coordinated space. In fact, I would argue that it’s more about adding items and surrounding your space with things that you love. I will always opt for that over practicality.
Hygge’ing your outdoors
As a designer, I’m always thinking about the product requirements necessary to withstand the elements, so I was strict about what could and should go in my own backyard lounge. The pillows needed to be outdoor rated, along with everything else I put out there.
My views changed once I realized how expensive (and limited) my selection was based on that criteria. I reframed my goals and focused on what really matters. I wanted my family to have a memorable experience. I didn’t want anything to feel too precious, and most importantly, I wanted the space to feel cozy. Hoo-ga!
Bring the indoors outside
We had a spell of warm weather last week with calm winds and mild temperatures. My wife, Emily, and I decided to have dinner and games outside. I gathered a bunch of pillows from our indoor sofa along with a few indoor throws and proceeded to bring everything outside. I also decided to grab an indoor table lamp and set it on my outdoor side table to recreate the feeling of our family room, outside. Total time to get my space ready: 10 minutes.
Make the mundane sparkle
Hygge isn’t solely about candles and blankets, but about experiences as well.
My sister set up an outdoor movie theater for her family. “It was really nice to just lay on the couch outside last night and watch a comedy special,” she told me. “Laughter is great medicine.”
The same night, I created an outdoor living room, we ordered takeout from our favorite taco shop, picked up a few IPAs at our corner store, and had Connect 4 ready to go once dinner was done.
Piper (my daughter) and I ended up staying out far longer than planned while Emily put Jasper (our newborn son) to bed. Piper and I tied in our Connect 4 competition, so after we played a different variation so there were no sore losers.
Hygge is about comfort, not perfection. I’m (slightly) more relaxed in my ways since acknowledging this. While a simple meal of nachos grande with carne asada and Connect 4 may not be everyone’s idea of memorable, it’s what makes me happy and what I think of when I picture comfort. It adds a bit of sparkle to what I’m sure is becoming a mundane routine right now for everyone. It doesn’t take much, so give it a shot. I guarantee that a change from your routine will put a smile on everyone’s face.
Food is another amazing way to bring hygge into the home. While we’re all staying in, we have the perfect reason to make a warming meal and enjoy it with some blankets in the backyard. Crave + Cook’s Virginie Degryse gave us some simple, tasty recipes that are a pleasure to make and eat — and kids love to help, too!
Start the morning with warm apple turnovers and spiced cider, or try this tomato soup and cauliflower pizza for dinner on the patio.
Remember, the key to hygge is about bringing yourself, and the ones you love, simple comforts and joy. This doesn’t have to be an elaborate remodel of your space, or even an elaborate meal. Finding small ways to add sparkle to the mundane (a la an outdoor movie setup or letting your 5-year-old stay up past her bedtime to break a Connect 4 tie) creates those soul-affirming experiences we need right now.
Tell us your thoughts on how to hygge — it’s a personal endeavor — and let us know what brings you comfort at home these days.