Last summer, I was in a bookstore when a friend pulled out a giant coffee table book off the shelf and said, “This book is basically me.” I don’t remember the exact book title, but I do remember what it was about: Hygge. Pronounced “hue-guh”, Hygge is a Danish concept that’s hard to explain in words; it’s a feeling typically associated with comfort and awareness within a space.
It’s not a thing and anyone telling you different either doesn’t understand it or is literally trying to sell you something that has nothing to do with the concept. You can’t buy a ‘hygge living room’ and there’s no ‘hygge foods’ to eat. Hygge literally only requires a conscious appreciation, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.
After going down the YouTube rabbit hole, I decided to take on the design challenge of Hygg-ing my own apartment into an intentional, creative space. I was fresh off the KonMari method but the space itself wasn’t right. I started sliding furniture around and stopped when my neighbours below called to see if I was okay. I even drew up some plans:
I decided to focus on the couch area since it had the most Hygge potential. I piled on the throw pillows and blankets and plopped down in the middle: It felt hue-guh. This newly defined space has helped me feel more at peace than any other part of my apartment (sorry bedroom!).
Good for: Someone who’s comfortable with decorating their home trial-and-error style. Design and aesthetic is both visual and emotional, sometimes one more than the other. When it comes to personal spaces, my rule of thumb is to keep moving things around until it feels right. Bonus: If I can fall asleep in a newly designed space, that’s usually a good sign.
Hard pass: If you’re on either end of the design spectrum, that is, you don’t care or you need everything to be perfect. Hygge is not about perfection but intention is required.
Creative High-Fives is a series discussing the things that unexpectedly spark inspiration for creativity, design thinking and productivity.