Pronounced ‘hoo-ga’ or ‘hue-gah’, the word is becoming increasingly recognisable and was originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing. Developed into a concept and way of living by the Danish in the 18th century when it first appeared in writings of the time, the country hasn’t looked back since. Applicable to any time and space, hygge traverses both winter and summer but the idea really comes alive in the harsh and bracing cold season Scandinavia is renowned for. These bleak winters demonstrate the power of hygge even further, as even in the depths of the country’s coldest months when there is very little daylight, Denmark’s inhabitants remain the world’s happiest people.
Frequently described as ‘cosiness’ or ‘togetherness’ in English, the term has no literal translation, making it almost impossible to pinpoint exactly what hygge means. Largely defined as more of a feeling or mood more than a specific word, the concept can be interpreted as a mental state rather than a physical one. Simple words like cosiness just don’t do it justice with countless moments from slipping into a hot bath, to enjoying your morning coffee with a fragrant scented candle lit nearby just two of many examples of hygge. You can hygge with a good book curled up on a sofa or with friends around the fire or dinner table, even places can be hyggeligt (hygge-like), demonstrating just how far the notion reaches.
Hygge is the art form of creating intimacy in any given moment. Normally a social occasion for loved ones to get together to experience the comradeship, warmth and contentment of the event, it can also be enjoyed alone to calm the nerves and sooth the senses. An idea which not only breaches weather and seasonal barriers but also social ones, it is something everyone in Denmark partakes in and it has spread through to every aspect of Scandinavian living to become a part of the national consciousness. Appreciating the small joys in life at all times, hygge followers have tapped into a source of happiness which the rest of the world can greatly benefit from in an ever-evolving technological society.
When you think of cosy and warming interiors to create the perfect relaxing moment the mind instantly goes to lusciously soft textures which add another dimension to any interior – think chunky knit cushions, faux fur throws and fluffy woollen rugs. Made from the softest of materials from merino wool to cashmere, textured accessories are a huge trend of the moment with the layering of different tactile surfaces creating a styled look in any room and when combined with a roaring fire or soft candlelight, there is no setting more hygge.