Scandinavians’ Peace and Happiness Philosophy at Home: Hygge

The Scandinavian countries are now known not only by their unique sense of home decoration, but also by high happiness index.


When you think of Scandinavia, what first comes to mind? Perhaps freezing temperatures that last most of the year…or maybe the region’s extraordinary  ‘white nights’, where daylight melds into night? Yet Denmark - one of those chilly countries - outperforms many sunny Mediterranean countries in the global happiness index, despite a widespread perception that warmer places deliver more joy.The secret to Denmark’s happiness ranking is often said to lie in a unique philosophy rooted in the home. Let’s delve deeper into the concept of Hygge - a ‘home sweet home’ philosophy born in Denmark and now extending across Scandinavia and into the rest of the world.

What is Hygge?

Hygge, pronounced as ‘huggah’ or ‘hoge’ in Danish, lacks an exact counterpart in Turkish – or many other languages.  Hygge refers to ‘being enveloped with a sense of unity and security’; a simple, safe feeling, created by seemingly minor details. This idea of a nest-like haven arose due to the region’s harsh climate: when the weather is cold, the ground is icy and the skies often dim, the home is considered a warm, safe refuge. Even now, many people in Scandinavia continue a tradition of placing a yellow / daylight bulb on the outside of their windows, to help illuminate a dark and sometimes oppressive climate.

Creating the Ideal Hygge Environment

Hygge is so important in Denmark that the Danish Institute of Happiness Research put forward a comprehensive report on the contribution of Hygge's adoption as a philosophy to human psychology. The Institute, established to raise the happiness coefficient of the Danish people and to investigate the causes of happiness / unhappiness in other societies, proposed  seven steps that can be applied to maximize the Hygge effect in living areas:

1- Activate the senses

The most rapid way to activate emotions is, naturally, to stimulate the senses. Scent is an ideal vehicle for creating an environment of peace, happiness and confidence in the home. Fragrances that can uplift the spirit may come from a favourite aromatic candle, a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow before bed, or the wonderful smell of fresh-ground coffee beans in the morning.  

2- Generate warmth

One of the most important ways to achieve Hygge is through a warm home. A fireplace is delightful – but not always necessary. Lighting in warm tones, strategically placed candles or luminous colours that evoke cosiness also heat up a home.

3- Relax amid soft comfort

Fluffy blankets for cold winter days, comfortable poufs or a vintage rocking chair can bring a snug, restful feeling to any room.

4- Bring nature into the home

The Hygge philosophy embraces nature and its revitalising energy. Keep plants and live greenery in your home. Open the windows when it rains, and let the fresh smell of wet soil come into the house.

5- Use colour to create atmosphere

The effect of colour on the human psyche is well documented. Tones preferred in a Hygge habitat are calming pastels that enable easier concentration. If you want to be as happy as the Scandinavians, avoid very dark or overly bold colours in home decoration.

6- Spend quality time at home

The Danes believe that the home is the source of true happiness and peace. Almost every Danish family will organize indoor activities and games, dinners and parties, to enjoy quality time at home in accordance with the Hygge philosophy. However, it goes without saying that, to achieve Hygge, creating your own time is as important as spending quality time with your loved ones.

7- Craft a sheltered environment

Close your eyes for a moment and return to childhood…Imagine a playground or a tree house. This pure feeling and sense of confidence can be generated at any age: satisfy this instinctive emotional need with tulle nets over the bed, personalised winter gardens and wonderfully heavy quilts during the cooler months.

28.09.2018 - Decoration