Move over feng shui.
Step aside Marie Kondo.
There’s a new kid in interior design town, and it’s called hygge. No longer do we have to worry about the alignment of the furniture with the windows, to create a positive energy flow around the house. No more throwing out what we no longer need, decluttering to the point of tidy but boring minimalism in the name of sparking joy.
No. Hygge is all about the cosy. The warm, the enveloping, the hunkering down in one’s environment, being embraced and feeling safe and loved.
The Danes should know. They have been voted the happiest people on the planet for several years in a row. They must know a thing or two about being happy. And apparently, a lot of it has to do with this hygge.
Despite being plunged into cold and darkness for more than 17 hours a day during the winter months, the Danes have found a way to happily survive. Perhaps not surprisingly, it has a lot to do with light. Not glaring sunlamps that we bombard our senses with to trick us into thinking it is a sunny day when we are staring down a few dark months and a bout of seasonal affective disorder, but candlelight and soft, diffused lighting that inspire cosiness and comfort and warmth. The kind of lighting that inspires one to curl up with a cup of tea and a good book.
Cocooning, if you will.
It’s a word that the Danes invented a couple hundred years ago, although the Norwegians lay claim to it also. In fact, there are several countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and even Canada that have their own word for the same idea.
In Canada, the word would be hominess. But I like hygge. Not only is it pronounced in a way that reminds me of the chef on Sesame Street, but it has also taken on a life of its own.
The Danes now use it as a verb, an adjective, even a noun, and who wants to argue with the Danes, the happiest people on the planet?
Clutter? Very hygge!
Too much furniture crowding the room? So hygge!
If it inspires cosiness and comfort and well being and safety, well, so be it.
Perhaps property stagers should take note, when invited to stage a house that is coming on the market. Forget that less is more. That potential buyers want to be able to picture themselves in the property. With hygge here, they will indeed want to stay.
Perhaps they will even ensconce themselves by the fire, in the cosy chair, or a corner nook and avail themselves of a cup of hot cocoa and some shortbread cookies. Perhaps they won’t want to leave.
The rooms will seem so inviting, so hygge, that the property will sell itself.
I think it will be the next New Big Thing. If it is not so already.
A quick search on the internet and one can find hundreds of videos, books and articles of all kinds about this mysterious hygge. And especially now, after the year we have had, with a global pandemic forcing us homebound, we could all use a little hygge right now.