Danish concept aims to bring contentment and security to the home without breaking the bank
The Danish concept of hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”), founded on the principle of recognising – and encouraging – moments of extraordinary contentment, cosiness or social fulfilment, has been billed by many as the next big thing in design and decor trends.
Hygge disdains the notion that expensive objects and brand-name items are keys to fulfilment, focusing instead on the value of experiences and relationships more than things.
This does not mean a hygge home has to be filled with the latest trendy furniture or decluttered to the point of monastic minimalism, says Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group.
“Hygge is a very personal concept. It’s that X-factor that turns a house into a home – into a space that feels safe, tranquil, intimate and joyful, where you can relax and connect with your inner self and your loved ones.” Clarke says achieving this does not have to be expensive.
“It just requires a little self-knowledge and creativity. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.” Secure your space Feeling safe is a big part of hygge and so home security should be a top priority for hygge-seekers.
“Whether it’s a sturdy door, an extra set of locks, an alarm system or an electric fence, it’s important to feel secure in your home. Lying awake listening to bumps in the night is far from hygge – you want to be able to close your front door and put all your worries aside.”
Find your peace Tranquillity is also central to hygge, but can mean different things to different people, Clarke says. “Some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of a busy neighbourhood and feel on edge when things are too quiet. Other people feel anxious when they’re surrounded by noise, and prefer solitude.
“Quiet, in particular, can be a commodity in today’s dense neighbourhoods, but simple things like thick curtains can make a big difference. If you can afford it, double-glazing is also an excellent way to block out the outside world.”
Get social Many argue that hygge can only truly be felt with company, as human happiness is so intimately connected to our relationships with others.
For this reason, Clarke suggests creating designated “social spaces” in your home that support and encourage bonding with friends and family. This could mean designing a circle of cushions on the floor or thickly-padded armchairs by the fireplace. Indulge your delights It’s not all about getting chatty, though – a hygge home should also enable you to indulge in personal delights, Clarke says.
“Whether it’s curling up with a good book, getting your hands dirty in the garden or whipping up a storm in the kitchen or workshop, your home should support the activities that you love. Minimise negative distractions Above all, hygge is about appreciating the now, which requires mindfulness and the ability to be present in the moment. While your home can’t direct your thought processes, it can minimise negative distractions and give you the freedom to focus on the present.
“Try to keep things tidy and organised, and keep work away from your living and sleeping spaces,” says Clarke. Focus on the positive Few homes are perfect, but Clarke says this doesn’t mean they’re not hygge.
“A chipped mug can still hold a great cup of tea. Understanding that is the key to hygge, and could be the key to a far happier home.”