mahabis guide // how to create hygge in your home

photo: splitshire


If you have visited Denmark in winter, you will be familiar with the warm, cosy and relaxing atmosphere that emits from coffee shops, bars and homes. People come together with their friends and family to create the perfect ambience in which to enjoy delicious food, warm up against the bitterly cold temperatures outside, and to simply enjoy each other’s company. The Danes have an untranslatable word that sums up this feeling: hygge.


Hygge is a constant in Denmark, something that is unconsciously achieved without any real effort or planning. It may be more closely associated with the winter months, as a way to enjoy life despite the weather, but it is practiced all year long, and is a daily necessity in Danish life.


photo: thomas martinsen in københavn, denmark


But how can we create this cosy ambience in our own homes?


Perhaps the most essential part of achieving hygge is to create the right ambience with warm, soft lighting. Bright overhead lights simply won’t do, as the light they cast is harsh and unflattering. Instead, use lamps placed in corners with warm bulbs and scatter candles around your rooms. The warm, flickering glow emitted from candlelight is perfect for creating hygge. If you have a working fireplace, turn off the central heating and warm yourself around the fire, lighting kindling to intensify the warm glow in the room.


Mix minimalism with memories. Whilst the Scandi regions are experts in sleek, minimalist design, avoid coming off to clinical. Bring in natural woods, textures, and choice personal decorations. We love how Ashley Nielson has styled her living room in Arizona. 


photo: @ashleyanielson 


Be proud of your home and the items that you place into it. Danes are very keen on creating stylish interiors, and the country has a prolific history of great designers who influenced interior design all around the world. One reason that the Danish are so house proud is because they spend so much of their time entertaining within their own homes due to inclement weather outdoors. It is important to create a home that you love to spend time in and want to invite people into in order to create a sense of hygge.


Invite your loved ones into your home, and fill the rooms with great company and constant conversation. Hygge is all about spending time with friends and family, and enjoying the company of others. It is impossible to recreate hygge in your own home if you do not invite guests over to help you set the table, enjoy deep conversations over dinner and just to enjoy each other’s company.


photo: pavan trikutam 


When you invite guests over, ensure that the cupboards and fridge are fully stocked, with something warming bubbling away on the stove. Entertaining the Danish way means asking your guests what they would like to eat and drink as soon as they step through the door, and the smell of freshly baking or mulling wine drifting through your home is ideal for evoking hygge.


photo: @ashleyanielson  


But don’t think that this means leaving your guests to look after themselves whilst you cook; entertaining the Danish way means involving your guests in the meal preparations and allowing them to assist you in the kitchen, enjoying each other’s company whilst you cook.


photo: kaboompics


Although hygge can involve getting cosy on the sofa and watching a film with a partner or friend, most instances of hygge are best enjoyed without technology. Put your phones and laptops away, switch off the TV, and let the conversation flow. A game of cards or a favourite board game is a great way to create the desired atmosphere. Alternatively, hygge can be enjoyed on your own by enjoying a hot bath with a good book and candlelight.


photo: @ashleyanielson


Finally, to create the perfect hygge in your home, you should slow things down and avoid rushing. Cook a meal at your own, relaxed pace; linger over the dinner table rather than rushing to tidy up. Laze around your living room into the early hours without worrying about hurrying your guests to leave. Kick off uncomfortable shoes and slip into your mahabis. Hygge is interconnected into slow living, and is a state that can only be achieved with a relaxed pace.


Keep it simple. Keep it slow. 


photo: @littlegreenshed


"You know those mornings when there are eggs poaching and sourdough toasting?  Its passed 10am, its drizzling with rain and no one plans on leaving the house any time soon.  The kids are in the colouring ‘zone’ and the mocha pot is bubbling fresh coffee.  All is well with the world..." - Lou Archell



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You can also check out more of Ashley's photography here. You can also read about more untranslatable words from around the world

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