Hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is "the Danish ritual of enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Friends. Family. Graciousness. Contentment. Good feelings. A warm glow. Cozy."
There are many loose definitions, but the term "hygge" was best described in that New Yorker article. No, not the one from 1957, where we find out about "the force opposing Hygge called skadefryd." And not even in the one from 2016, which declared "this concept of Scandinavian coziness [had] made inroads with an international audience." No, we're talking about the one from 2017, which dared to ask: Is this hygge?
It's a hard question to answer, because hygge is basically just the idea of being cozy and warm? But here's a cheat sheet: is it sheepskin, knit, a wall hanging, on fire, or macrame? It's probably hygge. At least, it's how to make your home look like someone's home who understands hygge, if any such person exists.
KNIT: Do you know what is very expensive but also very hygge? Anything that is of the "giant knit" variety. Those giant knit blankets will cost you if you want one that's large enough to cover more than your shins—you can find a lot of nice ones on Etsy though. This one has a more unique pattern than most, and will cost you $395+. A shop called Woolaty also has a number of large knit items, including this super chunky knit scarf for just $36.
WALL HANGINGS: Woven wall hangings are very hygge, but be warned: there are good ones (look for a thick puffy roving wool detail and maybe a tree branch) and there are bad ones (a bunch of strands of yarn hanging off a stick). Etsy has a ton, and you'll need to shell out a little more for quality—there's this $500+ splurge , but you'll be able to find some in the $100 range, like this one. Macrame wall hangings, like above, are also plentiful—here's a large one for $399.
CANDLES: Dim lighting and flickering candles greatly enhance the hygge vibe during long winter nights. These votive candle holders from Glassybaby ($44) are ideal; dropping a small candle inside turns them into glowing orbs. Who needs a crackling fire when you've got a few of these colored stars illuminating your February hygge hut? (Though if you do have a crackling fireplace, that works too—can we be hygge buddies?) If you want some olfactory hygge, these soy wax scented candles are the thing, "smoky and sweet, reminiscent of a walk down residential Union Street, with the first fires of fall and smoke curling from brick chimneys."
MACRAME: You'll also need a macrame plant hanger, like your parents had in the '70s. Again, you'll find a ton of Etsy (and you could easily make your own), but eBay has some perfectly serviceable ones for much less. Check them out here. Or you can loosen the pursestrings and go the extra hygge by getting one of these, which feature a real stick.
SHEEPSKIN: There's a lot of real sheepskin out there, but the faux sheepskin stuff looks just as good. I purchased this one years ago and it still looks great draped over my super cheap desk chair. (Various sizes, prices.)
Those are your basic hygges—now, here's how to take your hygge to the next level. Oh yeah.
NATURE: Sweet, serene nature. This photograph is called "Sunrise Forest," and it's been blown up just enough that you can stare at it and feel like you are in your own little, cozy forest. Goddamn Kevin Russ, you're the Bob Ross of HYGGE. ($189 - $289)
FAT LAVA: Where are you going to put those flowers your boyfriend got you for National Hygge Day? (You better believe a marketing company is creating that fake holiday right now.) You'll want to get yourself what is called a fat lava vase. These were all around my German household when I was younger, and I have a few now that I've purchased on Etsy and eBay. They tend to be fairly inexpensive, but the shipping is where it will add up—here's a nice smaller one for just $35 total, and the one pictured below will total out at under $70. You may find some slightly better deals on eBay—here's a nice fat lava jug vase for $30 total.
WRAPS: Wraps and shawls are pretty much the hygge uniform—above is Pendleton's knit blanket shawl (a splurge at $169, but they are very supportive of our National Parks and I like them). For a less expensive option, check out Nordstrom, where you can get a blanket wrap for $69. There's nothing more hygge than a blanket you can wear.
LINEN: There is an Etsy shop that I love, and the lovely family that started it seems to embody hygge (just check out their Instagram). Linen Bees is run out of Latvia, and I can vouch for the high quality of their goods—they sell dresses, tablecloths, blankets, loungeware... all made out of linen. I highly recommend them for all your hygge and non-hygge needs—maybe start with this linen pajama set.
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