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The Hygge Edit : Everything you need to know about the Danish art of happiness

You might have already noticed that hygge is hitting it big this autumn. But what exactly is it?

Pronounced Hoo-ga, Hygge is a Danish word that roughly translates to mean cosiness, conviviality, kinship and intimacy. ‘To Hygge’ means to light a scented candle, to go on a bike ride, to drink hot chocolate by the fire, to have coffee and cake breaks with a close handful of friends, to wear fluffy socks and drink red wine or to stay indoors to watch Netflix and (literally) chill.

Blue skies can by hygge, blankets can be hygge, Harry Potter or a softly furnished living room can be hygge. It isn't just a thing or a trend but a philosophy and way of life. It is a  Nordic take on the French 'Joy de Vivre'- a moment of comfort and contention garnered out of experiences rather than material things. It's even, some would say, the remedy to the chaotic and abrasive year of 2016.

Indeed, the origin of the word hygge comes from an Old Nordic expression to mean seeking refuge, protection, and shelter from the raging of the outside elements. It was first documented in Denmark in the 18th century and has been crucial to Danes ever since. In Denmark it exists all year round, but in translation it's been fixed to winter months- especially this winter when more than ever before hygge is being used as a marketing mechanism for Autumn/Winter, and many new books are being published on the subject ( The Little Book of Hygge,  Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness,  The Art of Hygge and  How to Hygge are set to top UK and US bestseller lists this Christmas.)

That 2016 has also been a year spiked by a Trumpocalypse, Brexit, and the loss of many beloved cultural icons is not lost on hygee experts, with many quick to speculate that hygge's target audience are those of us missing the political stability and comfort the Danes enjoy in spades.

How to Hygge

Denmark is regularly voted as the world's happiest country, and it also does cosy like no other nation. Coincidence? We don't think so. Danes may have a head start in the hyggeligt (adj) way of life but here's how to get in on the act.


Light a Candle

The Danes light more candles than any other nation- and they're also the world's happiest people! Hygge can be defined in many ways but it's almost always associated with the pleasure of lighting a scented candle.

Grotto Fabulous

According to hygge expert Jeppe Trolle Linnet "a home that is hyggeligt is neat, tidy, and clean. It doesn’t have to be a palace or mansion – indeed it must not be too grand or pretentious in any way. But neither can it be dirty, harsh or chaotic."  The middle ground? Grotto Fabulous.

Get Comfortable

To have a hyggeligt home, you need a certain level of comfort.  Create a cosy corner to relax in with blankets, pillows, throws and soft materials that will give you that warm, content feeling that hygge is all about.

Be Kind To Yourself

A crucial concept to hygge is enjoying life's simplest pleasures, which means eating the cake if you want the cake and drinking the wine if you want the wine. Helen Russell, author of "The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World's Happiest Country" says that "Hygge seems to me to be about being kind to yourself - indulging, having a nice time, not punishing or denying yourself anything."

Home Made Treats

Homemade bread and sweet treats are so important in Scandinavian culture. In fact, their idea of homelyness is rooted in home baked goods. The more personal elements you can bring into the kitchen the more hyggeligt it's perceived to be.

Make time for your friends

Danes often say that you can only have hygge with someone you know really well. It's not just about getting cosy by the fire- it's about spending quality time with a close handful of friends with whom you can really be yourself around.  In Danish "Hyggeligt" is a word offered as a compliment to a host, so try turning nights spent alone into dinner parties or gatherings with friends.


Fika - the Swedish ritual closely associated with hygge, basically means to ‘meet up, have a coffee and a chit-chat’. Togetherness and community is something that is very important to hygge and Scandinavian culture.

En sådär lite bättre fika med en lite bättre vän och kollega ?? #fika

A photo posted by fia anderberg ? (@fiaanderberg) on


Fashion That Feels Good

In Denmark there is a famous saying "there's no such thing as bad weather- only unsuitable clothing". A hyggeligt wardrobe is about the tactile experience of clothes- try opting for clothes that feel good rather than look good when out and about this winter.


 Soak up the Outdoors

One of biggest changes in consumer habits over the last decade is that people choose to spend money on experiences rather than things. Intrinsic to hygge is the pleasure from  moments and experiences rather than material things. Bike rides in Autumn, a stroll in the park or soaking up a beautiful landscape are very hyygeligt activities.

Autumnal Treats

Although hygge is present all year round in Denmark, high season hygge starts as soon as the dark nights descend. Getting into the Autumn Spirit with things such as conker hunting, carving pumpkins, celebrating Halloween and enjoying a daily dosage of hot chocolate is very important to the hygge way of life.

Fireside Hygge

Intrinsic to hygge is the concept of lavishing your full attention on ordinary moments such as a reading book by a fire. The Book of Hygge is a great place to start if you want to know more about the Danish art of happiness.

Feeling inspired? Get Hygge in your home with Utility 


Click here to shop more Hygge Homeware 

What's your secret to hygge? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter 

Time for more? How to Declutter your home | Interior Trend : The Dark Colour Palette | Interior Trend : The Natural Home


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