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Scandinavian Home Decor & The Art of Hygge

The Gretest

Posted on October 10 2017

hygge and scandinavian home decor

Scandinavian home decor has long been popular in homes across the world ever since it came about in the 1930's, making its way gradually over to the US and Canada. Scandi chic now influences US interior design in a big way, and because it is so timeless and stylish, it can be applied to almost any modern or traditional setting.

Whilst Scandinavian decor is well established and well heard of, Hygge is a relatively new concept in the world of US interior design. There's no direct translation of 'hygge' in English. Ultimately it can be described as a 'Danish lifestyle trend' but Hygge is so much more than a trend. It's a way of life, and applying the concept to your interior design is just one way to incorporate Hygge into your lifestyle. 

What Is Hygge?

Hygge, pronounced 'hoo gah' came up as the word of the year by the Collins English Dictionary in 2016 and it has become somewhat of a craze recently. You don't have to look far to find Hygge food, Hygge books, Hygge classes - Hygge anything and everything. But it is important to understand Hygge is all about lifestyle. You cannot have a Hygge thing, or item, you cannot hold Hygge or touch Hygge.

Hygge instead refers to a very special feeling. A feeling where something is special or memorable, or where you feel content and comfortable. It relates to feeling happy and content with loved ones. It isn't so much of a surprise the Danish invented such a lovely idea, as they are thought to be some of the happiest people on the planet.

Harnessing Hygge

When you fully understand Hygge, you can then think about harnessing Hygge... or rather embracing it. Embracing Hygge doesn't involve out of the ordinary experiences - quite the contrary actually. It is about appreciating how special ordinary moments can be.

Technology doesn't really form a part of Hygge core values, but snuggling up with a good book, buying yourself a beautiful bunch of flowers, brewing a proper cup of coffee in a cafetiere, or going for an Autumn walk on crunchy leaves across frosted fields with your favourite friend is an example of Hygge in a nutshell.

concept of hygge reading on bed with coffee

At its most basic level Hygge tends to be centred around smaller spaces with friends and lowered lighting. At it's most abstract you can take the word to mean something like a feeling of wellbeing - in which case it can be applied to anything you want it to be. You can create your own Hygge.

Hygge And Scandinavian Home Decor

Scandinavian home decor and the concept of Hygge are strongly linked. Embracing the simple things in life, creating a sense of well-being and celebrating friends and family are very much at the centre of the Scandinavian way of furnishing and decorating a home.

If you would like to integrate Hygge into your a Scandi-inspired living space, these tips will help you get started.


With Hygge and with Scandinavian home decor the emphasis is on the simple. Nothing loud or garish, nothing that challenges the mind. Simplify your space by removing clutter and anything that doesn't serve a purpose. Colours should be simple and muted, calm and serene.

Keep The Light Low

Soft lighting is integral to Scandinavian home decor and to create that cosy 'Hygge' feeling. The easiest way to achieve this is with candles, and lots of them. You can also embrace low light lamps, lampshades that conceal light bulbs and possibly even coloured bulbs in the right setting.

Display Happy Times

Recent trends in Scandinavian home decor have explored displaying homemade art or photographs around your living space. This ties in beautifully with Hygge which is all about being happy in your environment. Take simple glass frames or perhaps block pastel colour wooden frames and put happy memory photos in them.

Make Everything High Quality Or Meaningful

Because everything in a Scandi-inspired space is there for a purpose, and because Hygge is all about the meaningful, everything in your space should be thought about. A chair might perfectly position you for total relaxation, or a table might be crafted beautifully by a local carpenter to perfectly fit that cosy nook in your living room. Everything needs to be meaningful or well thought about in order to fit the whole premise of living in a meaningful way.

Keep It Natural

Scandinavian home decor is all about natural materials and being at one with nature. Bringing nature into the home is known to boost the mood and is a central part of creating a sense Hygge and well-being. Think handcrafted wooden furniture, natural wood floors, textiles made of natural fibres, plants and making the most of any natural light. 

hygge and scandinavian home decor

 Embrace Your Fireplace

The fireplace is a strong part of Scandinavian design and very much brings people together by creating a focal social space. Bring Hygge to your fireplace with a basket of blankets like this gorgeous pink geometric blanket or this serene modern blanket plus a chunky log store, candles and perhaps a beautiful book box.

Make It Cosy

Because the Danish winters are notoriously long and cold, 'cosiness' is a central part of Scandinavian design and Hygge . Adding plenty of blankets, knits, chunky rugs and beautiful textures and materials will add a cosy and layered feel to your home.

Create A Retreat

Create a little sanctuary for yourself so that you can create your own Hygge moments whenever you want. Make it super cosy, super comfy and super quiet. It could be a corner of your bedroom, it could be in a heated summerhouse, or perhaps just a window seat. Wherever it is, make it your own and be sure to make time to enjoy it.

Invite People Over

Since Hygge is all about feeling cosy and happy amongst friends, it makes sense to invite people over! Have friends round for cosy hot chocolates and board games, or even just a glass of wine and a natter in front of the fire. With others, enjoy the space you've cultured and Hygge will naturally follow.

enjoying hygge and scandinavian home decor with friends

To watch a useful video on Hygge, checkout this useful 'On A Quest For Hygge' video by Karen Perkins. You might also want to have a look at the many Hygge inspired posts on Pinterest. Just try to enjoy yourself learning about it, and integrating it into your home. Afterall, there's no point in reaching for Hygge in your Scandinavian home decor and not enjoying yourself at the same time!



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