The Secret to creating a cozy atmosphere through the holidays and beyond

Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) is a Danish word that has been gaining recognition of late, and it’s one we find especially important in the design world.

Hygge is a quality. It’s about a sense of comfort, peace and togetherness. According to Meik Wiking, the author of “The Little Book Of Hygge,” hygge is about “an atmosphere and an experience. It is about being with the people we love. A feeling of home. A feeling that we are safe.”

Hygge comes from the Danes’ world, one suffused in fuzzy rugs and candles; a place where comfort and coziness are essential in order to survive the dark winter days. And we find it the perfect way to survive a moody Michigan winter as well.

That might all sound a little abstract, but we promise: there are real and physical ways to practice hygge in your home, both during and after the holidays! Today, we’re sharing our favorites:

Incorporate soft lighting

Lighting is key to hygge. The Danes know all about long, dark days, and their answer is to fill their homes with cozy lighting. Think candles, fireplaces, warm table lamps and twinkle lights: anything that creates a rich and inviting glow, rather than a harsh, intense light.

Winter decor over Christmas decor

Instead of holiday-focused decor, try purchasing items that can be used all throughout the winter. Opt for thick, but neutral, blankets and throw pillows over holiday-themed choices so that they can be left out all season. Use white twinkle lights around your favorite houseplants or string them across a shelf; they’ll look festive for Christmas, but they won’t look odd if left out afterward. By choosing flexible, winter-themed decor, you’ll extend your use of items and keep your home cozy all season.

Add houseplants

Houseplants can help you destress, add life to your home and help purify the air. Just make sure to choose easy-care ones that aren’t going to add to your workload. This also is a great way to help tide you over until the warmer months if you’re missing the great outdoors.

Plan a post-holiday gathering

Family and friends are a huge part of hygge. It can be hard coming down from the sense of togetherness that the holidays bring, so if this is the case for you, plan a relaxed gathering in advance to look forward to in the mid-winter months. Plan a game night or to simply sit by the fireside and chat over wine. Whatever you do, keep it cozy and relaxed.

Slow down and be present

One of our favorite tips is to simply slow down. Turn off your phone. Put on your favorite slippers. Have a long conversation with a loved one over a mug of tea. Creating hygge isn’t just about your environment, but also about what you’re doing. If you’re not choosing to be in the moment, you could have the coziest house ever and still not enjoy it at all. Choose to be present, and that alone will start you down the path to hygge.

This story can be found in the November/December 2021 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. To get more stories like this delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here

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