I’ve become fascinated recently by the Danish cultural idea of “hygge.” Hygge, much like our idea of “homey-ness,” is all about the feelings of bonding, peacefulness, comfort, and cheer which you might get at Christmas time when you’re all bundled up and drinking hot chocolate while exchanging presents with friends.
Christmas aside, “hygge” is something which some Danes aspire to have all through the year. And if you’ve ever experienced it, you know it’s one of life’s great pleasures.
So why not make your home a vehicle for “hygge” or homeyness? Especially if you are living in an apartment, it’s important to create a space which can host great life experiences for you and your loved ones.
I love the concept of “hygge” so much in part because it maps well onto my experiences in designing my home space. Here are 10 things I have done to make my apartment space more “hygge.” Remember, four dimensions to think about (among others) are bonding, peacefulness, comfort, and cheer.
1. Install a freestanding fake electric wood stove. Dancing flames are just as cozy, homey, and hygge when they’re not real.
2. Get some candles. According to The Little Book of Hygge (my gateway to all of this “hygge” stuff, by the way), the Danish burn more candles than any other country in the world. They understand that there’s nothing like candlelight (or at least lamplight) glow to create warm, comfortable environments.
3. Put up pictures of good memories. A couple of my Canadian traveler friends used a clothesline of pinned photos to decorate a wall of their apartment when they lived in Atlanta. This is a homey, practical way to show off a bunch of photos from different friends and parts of your life. I also include some letters, notes, and postcards on my clothesline as a way of capturing memories.
4. Fill the floor space. Don’t leave big gaps of floor space or wall space unused. A big element of hygge is coziness, and a big element of coziness is filled space. Fill that floor space with useful furniture – more than you need – so you can have friends over for hygge evenings.
5. Show movies on a projector. Televisions are not hygge. Projectors are. There’s a fundamental difference in the experience of watching a projected movie vs. watching one on a screen. If you want to create a cozy, old-fashioned movie night, check out this option.
6. Have a decent tea and coffee selection for guests. At peak times (i.e. at events I host), I have had several kinds of coffee and even more kinds of tea available for guests. These hot drinks help with putting myself or my guests at ease at the end of long days.
7. Put up some good wall art. For a man cave like mine, I’ve got a banner of Winterfell, a banner of Rohan, a Jason Isbell concert poster, a blockchain industry poster, and another one from the bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. Decorate your walls enough so that *you* feel at home with it, and there’s a good chance your guests will feel more at home also.