Hygge is often associated with knitted throws over the couch and soft gray and white palettes. It is a Denmark-originated design concept meant to evoke comfort and restfulness; and now, work-life balance.
However, hygge is not just about how the home looks. Derived from the Norwegian word that means “well-being,” the Danes think of it as a way of life–-a combination of design, behaviors, and attitudes.
In The Book of Hygge: The Danish Art of Contentment, Comfort, and Connection, author Louisa Thomsen Brits writes, “In our overstretched, complex lives, hygge is an uncomplicated daily practice that engages us, keeping us attuned to our surroundings and open to empathy and wonder.” It makes sense then that some of the most popular design features of hygge can be translated into behaviors that help find balance and live a more comfortable lifestyle.
Hygge is all about comfort
Design Element: If there is one thing that hygge loathes, it is roughness. Think about how blankets and pillows can be used to infuse softness into a room. The auditory similarities of “hug” and “hygge” is perhaps not a coincidence considering that original meaning of the word, “hug” is “to make oneself snug”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
Work-Life Balance Principle: Hygge translates to only doing things that make you feel comfortable. A practical way of achieving this state is learning how to say no. This can apply to refusing extra work to avoid stress, or creating boundaries when it comes to personal space.
Hygge encourages the enjoyment of greenery
Design Element: The Danish love to use natural elements, such as plants, in their design. The easiest way to implement this is to place indoor plants around the home. Having large windows that allow natural light to come in while providing outdoor views is also ideal. This can also translate to using natural materials, such as wood, in furniture.
Work-Life Balance Principle: Bringing greenery indoors is a start, but nothing beats going out and experiencing it for yourself. Make going outdoors part of your daily routine to get fresh air and exercise.
Declutter to achieve serenity
Design element: Hygge shares a feature with minimalism, another popular design trend, in that it encourages to keep the things you love and then get rid of the rest. The objective of hygge is to create an environment that encourages relaxation and feelings of contentment. Aesthetically, this means removing unnecessary objects that make the home look disorderly.
Work-Life Balance Principle: Stress is unavoidable, but it can be managed. If the fast pace of the city – and the weeknight traffic jams that go along with it – is too much, opt to move somewhere quieter.
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