The art of creating Danish hygge

Hygge: What is it and how do you get it?

Hygge is a Danish word (pronounced hoo-guh) that essentially means coziness and a feeling of contentment. There are a number of ways this translates into daily life, from the home to how one conducts themselves throughout the day.

In recent years, word of the Danish concept of creating hygge has spread across the ocean with many Americans wondering what hygge really means.

Design Recipes provides some tips on ways to bring hygge into the home, following a trip to Denmark, in which we observed Danish life and hygge first hand.

1. Bring softness into your space. Hygge in essence means bringing warmth and coziness into the home. Decor elements such as pillows, throws, blankets and rugs are the perfect way to achieve a sense of hygge.

2. Light a candle. Lighting candles help provide a sense of hygge by creating a soothing environment, while also bringing in welcoming fragrance.

3. Say it with a message. Throughout Denmark, we found specialty home stores in which happy and inspirational decorative signs were sprinkled among decor and decoration items.

4. Highlight your fireplace. Keeping warm by a crackling fire is an ideal way of creating a sense of hygge.

5. Spend time outdoors. From bike riding to walking, spending time taking in the sights and sounds of nature are often ways to get inspired.

6. Invoke thought. Hygge is also about a sense of mindfulness. One way to achieve this in the home is by incorporating insightful elements such as expressive or interpretive art.

7. Unplug from electronics. Reading books and playing family games is a preferred family activity, as opposed to sitting in front of the television.

8. Clear the clutter. Minimalize. One aspect of Danish hygge also relates to what is often referred to as “silent design,” in which as much excess as possible is removed or tucked away.

9. Think white. White is a popular foundation color in Denmark, helping create a clean, calming sense of serenity. The color is even often used on floors.

10. Add wood accents and greenery. Incorporating inspiration from nature is a creative way to incorporate hygge.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at

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