Updated: Nov 9, 2019
Hygge is becoming a huge thing in America. Hygge-brand yarns are showing up in crafting stores; sheepskin or faux lookalikes are available in most home goods shops; and even a home security system advertises that it will protect your "hygge". Honestly, it all seems a little strange to me that it is being used so broadly because in Scandinavia, living a cozy way of life is just part of the norm. Hygge is something talked about often, but nothing more out of the ordinary than complimenting someone on how nice they look or how good the coffee was. It is unintentionally a part of everyday life and conversation in the Scandinavian culture.
Hygge is personal and has so many interpretations, but I do want to share what I believe to be the best and worst of Americanized hygge, coming from my Scandinavian background.
THE BEST OF HYGGE:
If you read my blog regularly, you know I love all that is handmade. Because when you make something by hand, a little bit of your heart and soul goes into it, giving it more meaning than something store bought. You can buy handmade items on Etsy and other websites easily, but honestly, the best is what you make yourself because so much coziness comes from the experience of making the item...perhaps crocheting while watching a movie, painting a picture while sipping on coffee, or creating a wreath out of flowers that you picked from your own garden. Receiving something handmade is second only to making the item yourself. In Scandinavia, knitting and crocheting are so common that little yarn shops can be found on almost every street corner!
Hygge is all about creating a cozy, warm place, and sheepskin does both well. Sheepskin makes a nice cushion for hard chairs and the floor, which is why you often see it used besides the bed or sofa. It's also really warm and perfect for draping over a blanket. Check out how I used sheepskin to make a reading nook out of an old hope chest!
Light and Bright
If you have ever been to Scandinavian countries during the winter, you know that days can be very short with little sunlight. Scandinavians compensate by keeping their walls and decor light and bright. White walls, light furniture, and open curtains have started to take over, especially in farmhouse designs. Keep it up...it's modern, beautiful, and cozy all at the same time!
Hygge certainly does not need to be expensive. One of my favorite ways to decorate is to take old items and make them beautiful again. Whether it's refinishing a piece of old furniture or repurposing an old family heirloom, making something old like new again brings hygge to a home.
Candlelight is such an important part of hygge. Any candles will do, whether they are real or battery powered, store-bought or handmade, or in a holder or a lantern. Scandinavian homes and shops are full of candles, and candles are nearly always present at dinner, during coffee, and in the bedroom.
THE WORST OF HYGGE:
Hygge is personal, so definitely keep doing what makes you happy, even if you disagree, but these are some of the top ways I believe hygge has been misunderstood and misused.
Hygge has sometimes become synonymous with the hippie lifestyle, even though they are not related at all. Hygge is all about enjoying nature and the little things in life, but the similarity stops there. You do not need to quit your job and live out of a van, or fill your home with grungy-looking items, to have hygge in your life.
I spend a lot of time at home goods stores, looking for the perfect items to cozy up my home. One trend I have come across is paper-thin blankets being categorized as part of 'hygge collections.' Hygge is all about feeling physically warm...it is much better to have a blanket with some substance to it that will actually keep you comfortable on cold days.
I am a big believer that hygge is for everyone, not just those with a big paycheck. So one of the things that bothers me the most is hygge being used to describe items in order to account for a hefty price tag. Nope. Hygge is made of ordinary items that anyone can afford. If you think it's too expensive for what you're getting, it probably is.
So there you have it...what I believe to be the best and worst of hygge trends. Fill your home with decor that is cozy, practical, does not take your whole paycheck, and above all else, makes you happy! Looking for the perfect hygge gift? Check out our gift guide for ideas and inspiration.