How to Use Hygge: A Danish Design Style That Promotes Comfort

What is Hygge? Why do you want it in your home? How can you get it?

By Ande Waggener


If you live under a rock, you might not have seen hygge. But if you’re ever on the computer, you’ve likely encountered – whether you know it or not - a bit of hygge style. It’s quite popular these days.


As a knitter, a lover of sitting in front of the fire on rainy days, and someone who insists on comfort, cuddles, and coziness, I was delighted to learn about hygge.




A Danish word, hygge bears a distant relationship to hug. But it’s not about the actual act of hugging. Hygge isn’t so much a hug as a hug-like feeling. In terms of interior design style, hygge is about warmth, rich sensory experiences, coziness, and simplicity. Think hot chocolate and snuggly blankets and candlelight. Doesn’t that sound delightful?


Hygge is the perfect interior design style to make your home a place where you can destress, relax, and feel … hugged. Whether you have someone to cuddle with or not, if your space is hygge, you’ll feel enfolded in caring anyway. If you do have loved ones sharing your home, hygge makes it easier to enjoy each other in harmony.


If you want this look in your space, it’s easy to get. Here are the seven steps to adding hygge styling to your interior décor:


1. Keep Interior Design Elements Organic

Hygge achieves its cozy impact by bringing the outdoors in. By using lots of wood, natural fibers, and stone in architectural design elements and furniture and also by adding plants to your décor, you’ll get the hygge feel you’re going for.




2. Use Simple Furnishings

Stick to simple furnishings placed close to the floor. In hygge, the eye needs to be guided downward to where cuddling happens.




You can have elements that are taller, like the screen and lamp in the room above, but if you do, be sure your other furniture hugs the floor. Tall pieces like armoires or massive pieces like chests of drawers don’t fit this style.


3. Emphasize Textiles in Your Design

All manner of textiles are a perfect fit for a hygge space. Fur, knits, quilts … you can include them all. If it’s cozy, it’s just right for this style.




4. Include Handmade Items in Your Décor

If you love to knit like I do, or you’re a fiber artist of any kind, hygge is for you. The hygge interior design style is a perfect way to display the knitted, woven, or crocheted afghans, pillows, or wall hangings that you or your family love to make. If no one in your family is appropriately crafty, no problem. Handmade items in your favorite colors are easy to find online.




5. Create Layered Styling

In hygge design, you never want to use one pillow or one throw. Pile them on.




It makes sense; the hygge look is supposed to bring to mind cozy togetherness.




6. Make Sure Rooms Have Lots of Light

Even though the mood created by hygge is cozy, it’s not the kind of cozy that calls for a cave-like ambiance. The warmth of hygge comes from light. So get as much natural light into your spaces as possible (less is more in window coverings), and if you can’t get as much as you’d like, fill the room with the glow from bright light fixtures.




Or be liberal with candles.




7. Fire It Up

A true hygge look needs a fireplace. It doesn’t have to be a grand stone fireplace, although if you have one, getting hygge into the room will be easy.




Without too much expense, you can add an ethanol fireplace to nearly any space.




See how the one above combines with the natural elements of wood and stone, sunlight, and low furnishings to create a cozy hygge feel to what would otherwise have been a less inviting modern room?


Are you getting a sense of why hygge is so appealing?


Not only does hygge nurture your senses, it also cares for your spirit. And it’s wonderfully versatile. You can add a hygge sensibility to nearly any style of décor. The seven steps above can be applied in ways that run the gamut from modern to traditional.


So are you ready to give your home a hygge? Or are you already into hygge? If you are, what have you found that brings that hugged feeling into your interior design?


Images used with permission, courtesy of

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