Hygge is a Scandinavian word which in simple terms translates as ‘a quality of cosiness’ although ask any Scandinavian and the word has a lot more meaning than this alone. Each of us experience it in slightly different ways. For me, it is the cosy, warm and secure feeling you get when it is raining outside and you are in a warm room lit with candles or a roaring fire, a blanket over your legs, a good magazine in hand and family or friends around you. Many know how to achieve a hygge home but for others, who aren’t sure where to start, we wanted to share our top tips on how to create a hygge home, whatever your space.
As we approach autumn, the evenings are getting darker and the long winter nights are looming ever nearer. However there is no need to approach these evenings with a sense of dread. Rather, go with the season that nature brings and like a hedgehog or a bear, create a space for cosy hibernation in your own home.
Catriona lives in a big old house in the countryside which is very cold. The way she makes a hygge space is by creating a source of comfort in the rooms where she spends most of her time. The kitchen houses the AGA, which is a godsend in the winter months. Curtains for all the windows is a lovely way to create a nest. The room is covered in paintings, many of them hers, including etchings of my sister and me as babies.
There is a large clock which is set 10 minutes fast, like all traditional farmhouses. Mismatched crockery is a colourful way to decorate your shelves and adds a bit of fun when laying the table.
The mug cupboard is stacked high with a mismatching array of mugs from all over the place and everyone has their favourite mug which you have to remember when it comes to tea time.
The Red Room is the cosiest and most ceremonial of rooms in the house. The tassels hanging above the doorway are a playful and painless reminder to duck when entering. Painted a deep bullsblood red, it oozes hygge. By painting your walls a dark colour, it allows the room to feel warm and cosy, we would recommend Little Greene who have a great range of heritage colours. The Red Room has a salt box from the 17th century which is a lovely feature. The shelves and walls are covered with rugs, paintings and trinkets from travels abroad, etchings and wood engravings by artists in the family and friends. Great Grandmother Jane in her feather boa, rubs shoulders with the Reverend Moses Brown, a miscreant relative known in the family as the Naughty Vicar, whose tiny etched portrait shows an unlikely Lothario. There are weird and wonderful things such as an Egyptian mummycase, an Ostrich egg and a tiny Rembrandt etching amongst other delights. The chaise longue sits by the log burner and is covered in brightly coloured cushions from China, the Middle East and of course, Dog & Dome. This is the room for celebration when the family is all together. It is where Christmas Day is spent with a port in hand, playing Chinese Chequers on a board from the 1930s and reading a stack of magazines that have been waiting to be devoured all year.
My attic flat in comparison is modern but hygge in its own right. Containing 50 houseplants and counting, it is a cosy space with candles, books and artwork covering the place. The artwork consists of paintings and woodwork by both Catriona and my talented parents in law as well as my own attempts at linocut. It is important to fill your home with what brings you happiness, it doesn’t have to be matching and perfect. I find it hard enough to match my socks, let alone match my furniture or crockery and don’t see the need to. Although a white, clean and empty house may be soothing to some, I feel warm light, colour and creativity is at the heart of hygge.
The final space that Catriona has created hygge in is of course, her study. Full of objects that inspire her, items she can paint and draw and lots of pointless but lovely things, it is a room of curiosities. Every time I go into Catriona’s study, I discover something new. The other day, I opened a little box that she had painted and inside, I found a smaller box and inside that, a couple of Roman coins. There are little trinkets that you normally find in a dollshouse: a tiny telephone, a miniature bottle of wine and some cakes. None of these things serve a purpose other than to delight those who stumble across them.
In summary, here is a list to help achieve your own hygge home:
- Hang tassels on low doorways or on door handles
- Paint certain rooms with dark walls for a cosy feel
- Embrace mismatched crockery and mugs and have them out and proud
- Cover the walls in paintings you love
- Invest in house plants - the more the merrier
- Keep your favourite books out on a coffee table
- Try hanging rugs on your wall
- Have blankets at the ready
- Light candles
- Fill the house with things you love
- Use lamps instead of main lights
- Move around your seating to make new areas of your house
- Make a window seat
- Use heavy blankets on your bed