Incorporating Hygge Into Design


While feelings and sensations are hard to project into actual matters or objects, Danes do not fail to transport ‘Hygge’ into their homes.

By Sally Farhat and Lauren Gee

The monotony of short days, cold weather, and dark nights are some of the reasons that led to the integration of the concept of “hygge” into the Danish life.

“We don’t know when the concept was established only that it is now a very common thing within Danish culture,” said Isabella Arendt, Analyst at the Happiness Research Institute.

The timeless concept grew smoothly and swiftly to soon start defining almost all aspects of Danish life. Whether it be brewing coffee or studying, Danes unconsciously incorporate hygge in their day-to-day activities.

“We believe it is a part of the everyday life of almost all Danes,” said Arendt. “I think it is part of the normal life even though we might not think about it very often,” she added.

While the concept might not have an exact translation into the English language, it means to find happiness, comfort, and coziness in all moments; in other words, hygge can denote the act of enjoying all the little things that life has to offer.

Although it might be hard to translate feelings into absolute objects, Danish citizens do this anyway. Through furniture, lighting, and the simplest of details, Danes amalgamate hygge into their houses and thus, alter a settings’ aura and mood creating a warm and enticing ambience. The notion has grown so big to the extent that it started to even play a huge role in home décor and interior design.

The picture shows a living room setting that is considered to be hygge. (Photo by Lauren Gee).

Hygge and Design

According to architect, furniture designer, and salesman at Nova Furniture Mark De Vos Dalhoum, people spend a lot of time on selecting the most fitting and suitable furniture for their home. From vast pieces like couches, tables, and chairs, to the smallest details like vases, candles, and planets, Danes make sure that each added factor upsurge the cozy mood.

The picture shows one of the most desired chairs by Danes. (Picture by Sally Farhat)

“In Denmark, we have this tradition for simplicity and minimalism but, you need to find something to make the setting warmer and appealing to human beings,” said Dalhoum.

In order to create this warm and cosy aura, the expert stresses on the importance of material and color. Dalhoum considers wood as one of the most popular materials that Danes usually choose for their furniture and décor. The temperateness of the matter along with dimmed yellow lights illuminating Danish households establish the desired heartfelt sensation.

“Teak wood is one of the most famous wood material used here because it is really warm wood, dark, and has a red glare,” described Dalhoum.

When it comes to color on the other hand, Danes are most likely to choose grey. According to Dalhoum, this color is easy to play around through adding any other colorful décor. Other desired colors are usually mustard and blue.

One of the most desired colors and wood type for Danes. (Picture by Sally Farhat).

Beyond the material, minimal details such as the carpet and pillows are added to the setting. These simple features add a ‘soul’ to the room and gives it a character as expressed by Dalhoum.

“You need to have something natural that appeal to people like wool carpets or wool couches,” Dalhoum said. “It is something that we respond too really well.”

The expenses of integrating hygge into one’s household

While affordable stores such as IKEA exist in the city, Danes are ready to pay double or even triple the price in order to buy the most perfect furniture and décor pieces to fit the hygge mood.

According to Dalhoum, people like to connect to the things in their houses. This means that even the tiniest details such as the candles should mean something or add anything to the lives of those living in this house.

“You can tell a lot from the relation between material and people,” said Dalhoum.

Picture by Lauren Gee

Dalhoum adds that whenever there is a history behind the piece, the more likely that it will sell. In other words, although affordable home fixtures and ornamentation exists, people are prone to spend on expensive subjects that carry a story behind.

“Hygge is a feeling of wellbeing and comfort,” said Dalhoum. “Whatever helps you achieve this feeling is something people will do.”