If you like keeping an eye on style trends, it’s impossible to have missed the huge interest in the Danish concept known as Hygge. It is everywhere at the moment: in books, blogs, in articles all over the Sunday supplements and style magazines, advising us on how to emulate the Danish way of life and achieve a sense of wellbeing through simple pleasures.
Pronounced ‘hoo-gah’, the word doesn’t have a direct translation in English; it is best to think of it as an idea or feeling for our word ‘cosy’.
Hygge can mean anything that gives you a warm glow: snuggling up in a favourite chair with a steaming mug of cocoa or a walk in the autumn leaves wrapped in lovely warm knitwear. The key here is that everyone has their own individual ideas about what hygge means to them and this is why it is such an accessible style trend.
In terms of design, hygge has had a huge impact on style trends for both fashion and interiors and as winter approaches we can all think about how we can bring a little hygge into our homes.
How can I bring hygge into my kitchen?
The kitchen, with its hard surfaces and high-tech gadgets and appliances could be seen as the antithesis of hygge but even contemporary kitchens can introduce the key elements of scandi-style and achieve the cosy look. A relaxed environment where people want to linger over a coffee is the ultimate expression of hygge and can be achieved with a few simple elements.
Creating a warm glow is perhaps the single most important element in achieving this look – harsh, stark overhead lighting is out; soft, warm candlelight and tea lights are in. Admittedly, candlelight is not the most practical option for busy family kitchens but where possible, introduce some strategically-placed candles to enhance warmth and give that all important glow.
Lamplight is a great way to create cosiness and lamps can be used in kitchens just as we do in other rooms in our homes. A gloomy corner can be transformed with soft lamplight and will help to give your kitchen a focal point for relaxing and cosy quiet times.
Don’t feel you have to stop at candles and lamps; embrace all things twinkly and experiment with fairy lights and tea lights in vintage glass jars. They are great for softening hard surfaces and look lovely twinkly away on work surfaces and shelves.
All about texture
Textiles are a great way to add warmth to the kitchen and soften hard surfaces and they are definitely not just for sitting rooms and bedrooms. Creating a warm and welcoming space for friends and family is what hygge is all about.
If you are lucky enough to have space for a sofa or a cosy armchair, you can really indulge and use a variety of country-style fabric to add warmth. Throws and blankets of different textures add cosiness and look great draped over the ends of sofas or a favourite, comfy chair.
Cushions also help to create the look and opt for fabrics in natural materials to get the nordic-style.
Soften hard flooring with rugs which can also help define particular areas of your kitchen and feel great underfoot.
Bring the outside in
Hygge is all about celebrating the great outdoors and taking pleasure from being near nature. Seasonal displays of flowers and foliage can be enjoyed everyday and think of them as essential features rather than special occasion indulgence.
Think back to the old-school style nature tables and display finds and treasures from country walks. Fir cones look great in large dishes and are not the preserve of the festive season alone.
Mix it up
Hygge is all about warmth and relaxed living – kitchens should be the heart of the home but it is hard to achieve this idea if the space is cold and clinical. A look that is too uniform and streamlined is not very hygge so think about mixing old and new. Vintage stores are a great place to look for up-cycled free-standing cupboards, butcher’s blocks and plate racks and they look great mixed in with new units. Think about using a variety of textures for your cabinetry and worktops if you are planning a new kitchen which will add interest and individuality and create a relaxed, homely space.
The coming festive season is the ultimate time to hunker down with friends and family so get cosy and celebrate all things hygge.