Shaws Does... Hygge Home

Embracing the Danish love of cosiness.

With Christmas fast approaching and the winter nights drawing in, we’re all looking forward to spending time at home with our families over the festive period. Many of us will want to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere in our homes to help us relax and switch off from our busy lives. But did you know that the Danish have a word exclusively for this? Hygge (or ‘Hoo-ga’ as it is pronounced) was originally a Norwegian term for wellbeing. Those of you who are familiar with Hygge would be forgiven for mistaking it for a fleeting Scandinavian trend, but you'd be very wrong. It was developed as a way of living and popularised by the Danes as early as the 18th century, becoming a fundamental part of Danish life. The term has no literal translation but is often described as ‘cosiness’ or ‘togetherness’ in English.

As the world of work gets more demanding and with stress levels rising to new highs, the sanctuary of our homes has become increasingly important to many of us. The Danes are the kings of calm and often are ranked highest in the polls of the happiest people on our planet. 

Could this be down to Hygge? Many believe it is, and this tranquil way of living is being embraced all over the world. The concept of Hygge is far more than just interior design, it is a way of living, a state of mind. It encompasses all aspects of lifestyle. 

The picturesque Nyhavn area of Copenhagen
Hygge Living
White Lines Sanders Hotel
White Lines Sanders Hotel
Image Credit: Entrance
Image Credit: Light Locations
Image Credit: Light Locations
Image Credit: Light Locations

Living Hygge.

Hygge is the art form of creating intimacy in any given moment and the best examples of Hyggeligt (Hygge-like) living are very appealing. For example, curling up under a blanket on the sofa with a good book, a log fire and a warm drink is as Hygge as you can get. Another example would be relaxing into a hot bath with the room lit by scented candles.

Hygge is not exclusive to the colder months, it encourages us to embrace social occasions for loved ones to get together, and experience warmth and togetherness all year round (the kitchen is a great social space of course!). It also advocates enjoying quality time alone to calm our nerves and soothe our senses. 

The simple flicker of a candle (preferably scented) is considered one of the most fundamental Hygge moments. As darkness falls Danish homes everywhere reach for the matches. In fact, many Danish homes could be mistaken for a candle shop they are so prevalent, due to their importance to wellbeing. The humble candle, the heavy wool blanket, a crackling log fire, all seem to pay Hygge homage to the simpler, more satisfying life we once lived. 

Similarly a Hygge kitchen isn't about elaborate dinner parties, a Hygge gathering is relaxed and informal. It’s all about simple, wholesome comfort food cooked with the help of your loved ones. Think hearty dishes like soups, stews and large sharing platters, served in hand-carved wooden bowls, and a glass of hot mulled wine for relaxation purposes doesn’t go amiss either! A Hygge kitchen embraces traditional values of craftsmanship and quality materials. A wood burning stove, a fireclay sink, brass taps, a large well-used communal dining table and solid wood work surfaces are all very 'Hyggeligt'. 

Experience Hygge.

Hygge is not a passing trend, it's a traditional philosophy that forms a key part of the Danes’ happiness – and it could be your antidote to the stress of modern life. 

To experience that warm, fuzzy feeling Danes are famous for, why not try the new White Lines Sanders hotel in Copenhagen? Located just behind the picturesque Nyhavn and founded by former Danish Royal Ballet dancer Alexander Kølpin, the Sanders is the latest boutique hotel to open in Copenhagen. It embraces understated luxury typical of Scandinavia, with simple traditional furniture and essential comfortable Hygge touches. 

A city break to Copenhagen will do more than offer an introduction to Hygge, it will satisfy your most fundamental desire to feel good. You will literally feel your stress levels drop as the plane wheels touch Danish Tarmac. takes you from London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Aberdeen and Edinburgh directly to Copenhagen.

For a wonderfully Hygge eating experience visit ‘Reffen’. Located on Refshaleøen, the recently converted warehouse is the home to 54 street food vendors focused on offering organic and sustainable food from around the world. Even the stalls have been constructed, as much as possible, from recycled materials.The range of food is wide and offers everything from Italian polenta and Hawaiian ice cream, to African specialties and much more. Prices for a meal are between 75 and 150 kroner.

In short, this enchanting way of living is about appreciating the small joys in life at all times – THAT is Hygge.