Let's Get Hygge: All About the Danish Cozy Phenom (And How to Master It)

In recent years, hygge has become a phenomenon around the world. While it largely became a sort of code word for cozy decor, the Danish concept, pronounced hoo-gah, is rooted in feelings of comfort, joy, and well-being, and was adopted as a way of life to endure long, dark Scandinavian winters.

Fur blankets and twinkle lights can definitely be a part of it, but the concept is really about finding contentment in a simpler way of life, and, fittingly, it’s actually pretty easy to achieve. Here’s everything you need to know to make your own life more hygge.

Spend Quality Time With Friends, Family — and Yourself

Couple with feet in front of fireplace and mugs of tea on wood floor
Credit: Alena Ozerova/ Shutterstock

Although the temptation to scurry off solo and bury your nose in your phone is strong, the hygge way encourages presence — to turn off devices, watch a movie together, or simply enjoy casual conversation over a meal (and if it’s one you all made together, even better!). Take time to recharge your own batteries with some solo time, too. Spend time on a hobby, read a book, take a warm bath, or catch up on your favorite TV show. The important thing is that you’re comfortable, you’re content, and you’re only focused on what’s happening in that very moment.

Get the Lighting Right

String lights hanging on window with candles and a plant on the window sill
Credit: Syda Productions/ Shutterstock

A major component of the hygge life is soft lighting — think candles, dim lamps, the magic of white lights, or a roaring fire if you have the option (lucky!). You don’t need to redecorate your house — in fact, spending a lot of money and mental energy on achieving hygge might mean you’re missing the point. But if you’re able to, a low glow will help create a soothing atmosphere and a quieted mind.

Embrace Comfort

Person in cozy socks and sweater sitting on couch with cat and a book on the floor
Credit: Alena Ozerova: Shutterstock

Whether inside the home or out, you can make hygge wardrobe choices to help you feel comfortable and content. Think natural, soft fabrics that drape for your day-to-day wear, and change into leisurewear when you get home — not only for comfort, but to help signal a change in your daily pace.

Savor Rituals and Routines

Cup of tea and teapot steaming on table with pillows and blankets in background
Credit: Alena Ozerova/ Shutterstock

It’s easy to let the day-to-day tasks of a household feel like a grind, but hygge is all about embracing them. Something as simple as making a morning cup of coffee or stopping at your local green grocer to grab fresh produce for dinner can be grounding. The goal is not to rush, and not to even necessarily have a goal, but to let these moments exist as consistent and pleasant parts of your day.

Indulge Your Appetite

Plate of cookies with a candle and tea on a wooden tray
Credit: Syda Productions/ Shutterstock

Eat some sweets. Plan, make, and enjoy a rich meal. Bake bread. Sip something warm — or just something warming. It’s imperative to nourish your body, of course, but comfort foods also help nourish the soul. Do it all without guilt.

Get Outside

Two people sitting at the edge of a dock with a picnic set up
Credit: polinaloves/ Shutterstock

Winter is prime hygge time, and it can be hard to find the motivation to leave your cozy, candlelit home. But bundling up for a long walk and breathing the fresh, crisp air is rejuvenating. Of course, hygge isn’t relegated to winter — sit in a tree’s summer shade, walk around your block and appreciate your neighbors’ landscaping in spring, or find some fall foliage to admire.

Slow Down

Woman sitting with notebook and mug of tea
Credit: MundusImages/ iStock

Give yourself permission to get rid of the to-do list, even if it’s just for a day. If the thought of a shapeless day causes you more stress than it absolves, pick just one thing — preferably one you’re not dreading — and take your time getting it done, giving it your undivided attention. But remember: life isn’t merely a task to be completed. It’s okay not to hustle sometimes.

Keep Things Simple

Two candles lit on the floor with a blanket and string lights in the background
Credit: Elizaveta Elesina/ iStock

The happiest times in our lives usually involve special moments with loved ones or quiet and contemplative moments to ourselves. This is the essence of hygge — embracing simplicity, connection, and being present. There’s no need to completely overhaul your life, but you certainly won’t regret carving out time to bask in simply being.

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