1. Home
  2. Design Ideas

The Danish Art of Hygge

In Denmark, hygge means creating a pleasing, cosy and warm atmosphere, enjoying the good things that life has to offer in the company of cherished people. To some, hygge might appear as an art form, but in essence it is truly a simple concept.

Nature

Nordic design is a discipline that draws from many elements. Nature is a great influencer, where long winters and fewer hours of sunlight are the inspiration behind homey and thoughtfully designed interiors.

RELATED: Hans Bølling: Danish Craftsman And Gentleman

Fjord. Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Fjord. Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Skog (forest). Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Skog (forest). Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Off the beaten track, deep in the wooded Swedish countryside, lies the Vipp Shelter. This smart and compact home is the perfect Nordic lakeside getaway. Image © 2016 Vipp.
Off the beaten track, deep in the wooded Swedish countryside, lies the Vipp Shelter. This smart and compact home is the perfect Nordic lakeside getaway. Image © 2016 Vipp.

A Homey Atmosphere

Nordic interiors often appear effortless, having a clear expression of form. Nordic design emphasises simplicity, elegance and practicality, in a manner that is rarely ostentatious. A homey candle can be used to create a perfect everyday moment of intimacy, where the simple gesture of lighting a wick engenders a feeling of calm and tranquility.

Iittala X Issey Miyake 'Pause For Harmony' collection. This collaboration pairs the intricate and curious worlds of Finnish and Japanese design, bringing a sense of harmony to the home. Image © Fiskars Finland.
Iittala X Issey Miyake ‘Pause For Harmony’ collection. This collaboration pairs the intricate and curious worlds of Finnish and Japanese design, bringing a sense of harmony to the home. Image © Fiskars Finland.
Kaasa Tealight candleholders by Ilkka Suppanen for Iittala. Image © Fiskars Finland.
Kaasa Tealight candleholders by Ilkka Suppanen for Iittala. Image © Fiskars Finland.
The Arabia Moomin winter season mug and bowl (2016) features Moomintroll, Hemulen, Sorry-oo and the Snowhorse from the book Moominland Midwinter. Image © Fiskars Finland.
The Arabia Moomin winter season mug and bowl (2016) features Moomintroll, Hemulen, Sorry-oo and the Snowhorse from the book Moominland Midwinter. Image © Fiskars Finland.

The Art of Hygge

In Denmark, ‘hygge’ is about sharing comfort and warmth with friends and family. In fact, it is said that “Hygge is as Danish as pork roast and cold beer and it goes far in illuminating the Danish soul.” (Source: VisitDenmark) This beautiful Danish concept is about cosiness and togetherness, typically in relation to one’s home and in small everyday moments. In English, hygge is enunciated as ‘hooga’: forming your mouth for ‘ee’ while saying ‘oo’.  Ilse Crawford, the much admired British designer, gives shape to the idea of hygge throughout her work. In an interview with Onoffice magazine, Ilse (whose mother was Danish) discusses hygge as: “[the] idea that you can bring people together [and] that space is a dynamic sociable thing… [something] that was very much practiced in our family.” (Source: Onoffice)

RELATED: 7 Cosy Collections From Danish Brand Lucie Kaas

Using natural materials, layers of textile and sumptuous furniture, Ilse Crawford's Studioilse created this cosy chalet deep in the Swiss Alps. Image courtesy of Studioilse.
Using natural materials, layers of textile and sumptuous furniture, Ilse Crawford’s Studioilse created this cosy chalet deep in the Swiss Alps. Image courtesy of Studioilse.
Swiss chalet by Studioilse. Image courtesy of Studioilse.
Swiss chalet by Studioilse. Image courtesy of Studioilse.

SKANDINAVISK, a Copehagen-based company making artisanal candles, designed a candle that represents hygge, whose scent is imbued with a cosy, snuggly and happy Scandinavian feeling.

Hygge scented candles and diffuser. Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Hygge scented candles and diffuser. Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Deep Glow Hygge candles. Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.
Deep Glow Hygge candles. Image © 2016 SKANDINAVISK.

Hygge comes from comfort, security and warmth, and is found in honest materials, playful details and aesthetic qualities. For example, one might find hygge in a handmade kilim, a tactile throw, a soft glowing light and an absorbing read. Hygge as cosiness is difficult to quantify; however we choose to define or express it, there is no denying its power to improve our quality of life. Denmark is after all the world’s happiest nation, ranked No. 1 in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report. (Source: VisitDenmark)

RELATED: 7 Delectably Danish Objects

Find more hygge in coffee, food and the finest Danish design:

24h Avec Purple by Heikki Orvola for Arabia. Colour and pattern is by Kati Tuominen-Niittylä. Image © Fiskars Finland.
Find hygge in coffee. Served here in the 24h Avec Purple range by Heikki Orvola for Arabia. Colour and pattern by Kati Tuominen-Niittylä. Image © Fiskars Finland.
Karelian pies from Nordic Bakery in London. A delicious rye-crusted savoury snack, the Karelian pie is made with rice or potato mash filling and served with egg-butter spread. Image courtesy of Nordic Bakery.
Find hygge in a Karelian pie from Nordic Bakery in London. A delicious rye-crusted savoury snack, the Karelian pie is made with rice or potato mash filling and served with egg-butter spread. Image courtesy of Nordic Bakery.
Find a superlative level of hygge in Hans J. Wegner's CH07 Shell Chair and CH008 coffee table. Image courtesy of Carl Hansen & Søn.
Find a superlative level of hygge in Hans J. Wegner’s CH07 Shell Chair and CH008 coffee table. According to Carl Hansen & Søn, ‘Hyggehjørne’ is that cosy corner of your favourite space. It’s where you feel most at home and where furniture pieces are quintessential elements of everyday life and lifestyle. Image courtesy of Carl Hansen & Søn.
Find hygge in the Vipp Shelter. Image © 2016 Vipp.
Find hygge in the Vipp Shelter. Image © 2016 Vipp.

Liked the story? Share it with friends.

What do you think?

Booking.com