In the past few years, we’ve been hearing about ‘hygge’ everywhere. But what does it mean? How to pronounce it? And most importantly, how do we achieve this in our homes?
Let’s get the pronunciation down first before moving on to the meat of this article. It is a Danish term roughly pronounced as /hyoo-guh/.
Quite hard to pronounce, hygge has no direct English translation so there’s no one way to definitively describe it but ‘cozy’ comes close.
As it exploded in popularity, your social media feeds flooded with images of really cozy situations, moments and decor, all captioned with the term ‘hygge’. Especially after the year we had and the continued challenges of social distancing and lockdowns, we want to achieve hygge in our lives and homes more than ever.
The official definition of hygge is: a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)
In essence, it reflects the Danish way of living of creating a warm, safe, comfortable space and atmosphere where you can enjoy life with people close to your heart. Hygge illuminates the Danish soul, maybe that’s why they are some of the happiest people in the world!
Photo source: Unsplash | Max Adulyanukosol
Hygge was originally an old Norwegian word meaning ‘well-being’. In the 18th century, it appeared in Danish writing and the Danes have embraced it ever since. As an encompassing terminology about mindset or lifestyle, it can be applied in all aspects and manner of life to attain that overall happy feeling.
The home is an essential element of hygge and this is fully embodied in Danish decor. Simply put, it is simple, pure, serene. Best news yet, you don’t need to go to Denmark to feel this – you can recreate that hygge lifestyle in your home.
Although it might seem like hygge is only suitable for the cold climate, this way of life does not take a break during the summer. There are also ways to hygge your home and life during the summer! It just requires a few simple tweaks…
In this article, we’re going to show you 10 really doable ways to transform your space (and life) with hygge in the hot summer days. Mind you, it contains a lot of outdoor fun.
1. Outdoor living
Photo source: Pexels | Maria Orlova
Hygge during the summer is best followed by getting back in touch with nature. Instead of spending it curled up at home and buried under the covers with a good book, summer hygge brings it all outdoors.
If you have a backyard, lanai, porch or terrace that can comfortably fit a small group of people, you can quickly do a makeover to enjoy that summer hygge right outside your home. Set it up with some tables and chairs, a cool pitcher of flavored water (or sangria!), some pastries or cake, and entertain your friends for a relaxing afternoon or maybe prepare to have some quiet ‘me time’.
Of course, you can always throw in a few pillows, blankets chair cushions and rugs to soften up the whole cement/concrete look.
2. Camp out!
Photo source: Pexels | Tatiana Syrikova
In a similar vein, on your lanai or patio or backyard, bring out your living room furniture and put them outside. But make sure it’s a nice day out!
Lay a rug, add some pillows, get a comfy throw, then put up a tent over those cozy cushions and camp out (or glamp out). Easier than going to the woods, set this up at your own space and spend the night under the stars with your favorite someone.
Or better yet, watch a movie on a big projector, or grab your favorite book and read it while snacking on your favorite summer treats. Get that summer hygge feeling as you engage all your senses and appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of balmy summer nights.
3. Relaxing pool parties
Photo source: Unsplash | Jed Villejo
If it’s a pool you have, keep to the same cold, refreshing drinks, prepare trays of yummy, finger food you can enjoy as you lounge by the pool side or when dipping your legs in the water. Don’t forget to inflate those extra large swan, donut or unicorn floaters!
Sunset pool parties make everything warmer and more relaxing with that golden hour filter. Plus, it makes for great photos. Add floor lights around the pool area to bring that coziness to the next level if your pool-party-slash-lazy-summer-day with friends rolls into the night.
4. Pops of color
Photo source: Pexels | Mark McCammon
We’re so used to the neutral palette but perhaps during the summer, a way to bring in some of the fun outside is through color.
Probably the easiest way to bring that hygge feeling into your home is to add some fresh flowers. A simple arrangement of fresh flowers on a windowsill, atop your kitchen counter or TV console will be able to give that space a fresh pop of color and breathe new life into it.
If you’re not into flowers or allergic to it, why not try getting a large fruit bowl, carefully arrange some colorful fruits in it and make it a centerpiece in your kitchen or dining table. Another way is to change the covers of your throw pillows and give it a little more oomph in its designs.
5. Getaways and road trips
Photo source: Pexels | Roman Odintsov
If you’re looking for an escape from spending too much time at home, there are always short getaways and road trips to take. First, make sure they’re safe. Next, have fun.
You could channel the Danish spirit and get on a bike – get some fresh air, have some exercise and enjoy the day with friends and family. Or go on a hike, take a quick weekend getaway atop a mountain to feel that summer breeze and truly unplug from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’ll also be slightly cooler on the mountains.
Another choice is to go for a quick trip to the beach (lucky you if you live close enough to the shore). Grab your friends and take your fun out to the sand. Enjoy the great outdoors, get that much needed dose of vitamin sea and enjoy the sea breeze.
6. Picnic the old-fashioned way
Photo source: Unsplash | Jojo Yuen
While you’re on that road trip, find a nice park or field of grass or a nice spot near the water where you can set up a picnic and soak up the sounds and scents of the outdoors. This should be calming and relaxing as you sit, eat and laugh with family or friends.
To add a bit more to your picnic, bring some games like cards or board games to keep the entertainment and conversation going or a radio to play some music in the background, and maybe to dance later!
You can also bring this to your backyard if that day out is not enough. Most importantly, talk to each other, keep your phones away – nothing more stressful than obsessing over updates on social media.
7. Host a party
Photo source: Paper and Stitch
What better way to spend those lazy summer nights than hosting an intimate dinner party with your closest friends? Depending on where you’re comfortable, you can have this indoors or outdoors.
Inside, you have a few areas to choose from – on your regular dining table but just zhuzh it up a bit with more cozy trinkets or have it by your comfortable couch and lay out the dinner on an ottoman. You can also place a rug by the fireplace and have a picnic style dinner at home!
Outside, bring out your furniture and set up a little table on the grass, add some pillows and throws to soften up the whole area, maybe touch up some dried foliage or flowers as table decor. And finally, break out those twinkly lights to warm up the entire ambience.
8. Let there be rain
Photo source: Unsplash | Tanny Do
Not exactly the first thing you’ll think of but rain gives you great hygge opportunities.
If you’re lucky to have a covered patio or lanai at home, then this will be the perfect time to sit outside, get cozy with a blanket, a hot cup of tea or cocoa and watch the rain come down. Reading a good book is also a good idea.
If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, then you can put on a pair of rain boots and invite your friends to go for a walk under the rain or jump on puddles. Or just come out from under the roof and dance in the warm, summer rain. It might be silly to think about it but won’t it be so much fun to do something crazy sometimes?
9. Linen and loungewear made right
Photo source: The Times UK
During the winter, hygge might mean wool sweaters, thick, fluffy duvets and comforters and layers upon layers of soft throws. But in the summer, you need to lighten up on the fabrics.
Put those wooly sheets away and bring out the linen. Light bedding is the way to go to hygge during the sweltering heat of summer.
With linen, you can easily layer up to warm yourself if your air conditioner is on, or remain cool with just that one layer – perfect when you’re only looking for that comfy feeling, or watching the rain come down from your window or balcony. Plus, crumpled linen beddings with a lot of pillows can really give you that hygge atmosphere.
Lazy summer days and nights are also the perfect opportunity to put on your cute loungewear and set yourself up in your little cozy space to relax and unwind.
10. Summer treats
Photo source: Unsplash | Daniel Öberg
What better way to enjoy the summer than enjoying all those summer treats?
Take advantage of the season by loading up on fresh summer fruits and making pastries, cakes, popsicles out of them. Create yummy snacks for yourself, or better yet, share them with your family and friends during that dinner party or movie night you’re planning to host.
A few more desserts never hurt anyone and surely these delectable sweets will be the first to go at any get together.
After all, the hygge way of life says you should live a little and give yourself a bit of fun as you break away from the constant constraints of healthy eating or diet.