Think about your favorite memories from when you were young.
Seriously … take a minute …
Some of your memories may be about a gift or a vacation or a material thing, but I’ll bet many of your favorite memories also involve the people who were there, sharing it with you, or a feeling of relaxation and connectedness.
I would even guess that most of those favorite memories don’t really have anything to do with “stuff” at all. Maybe there was a certain atmosphere, warmth, and love, surrounded by your favorite people. Maybe it was taking joy in something simple but breathtaking and magical to a child your age. You might even remember soft textures, a warm drink, a fire in the fireplace, or soft lighting.
If you can imagine these things, you are close to finding “Hygge,” a Danish concept that wraps up all those warm feelings into a word that is not found in the English language.
HYGGE AND MINIMALISM
Hygge (pronounced HOO•gah) can be both a noun and a verb in the Danish language, and is described in The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg as making a conscious decision to find joy in the simple things. It is a cozy feeling, but that doesn’t quite describe everything that’s wrapped up in the word.
“With Hygge,” Edberg says, “we create a safe haven where we can relax without pressures to be anyone else but who we are. We invite those we love into our world and create an environment of togetherness.”
When people talk about “cozy minimalism,” many of them are also talking about the concept of Hygge. When we apply Hygge to our homes, we make it a place that is free of distractions and clutter, and surround ourselves with things that create warmth and foster togetherness. Hygge and minimalism intersect at the simplifying and paring down of things, but Hygge includes cozy furniture, soft textures, soft lighting, and whatever brings that feeling of warmth and connectedness for you.
I’ll bet there are some of you out there like me, who were all about Hygge before you even knew the word existed. A cozy and intimate gathering at a coffee shop or someone’s home, with soft lighting, warm drinks, and a relaxed atmosphere are some of my favorite things.
How to create hygge in your home
- Declutter! Too much stuff can catapult us into a feeling of stress that is anything but Hygge.
- Add soft textures – Try to think about making each place to sit cozy and comfortable.
- Add soft, warm lighting – Candles or a fire in the fireplace are perfect for creating Hygge.
- Put on some music – Try music that is warm and rich, or brings back fond memories.
- Cook something or make a warm drink – Both the smells and taste of delicious food and drinks can add to the atmosphere
- Take a moment – Hygge doesn’t always have to involve other people. Curling up with a good book can bring a sense of connectedness and time to enjoy your own thoughts.
- Invite close friends over – Share your home with people you love and can be yourself around.
- Make memories – Talk, eat, laugh, work on a project, clean up together. All of these things can be Hygge when you make a point to enjoy the simple things.
Adding Hygge to Our Living Room
This week, we focused on the living room, which we have actually been simplifying and creating a more Hyggeligt (yes, that’s a word) atmosphere for the past three years since we moved in. The living room is where we do a lot of our homeschooling, but since our house is small and this is our main living area, I didn’t want it to look like a homeschool room.
To achieve this, we have been slowly adding soft details, lights and textures over the past year or so, choosing furniture and storage that feels cozy and homey, and paring down our belongings.
This week, we finally reached the point I have always wanted to be at by decluttering with a packing party! We also went through ALL of our books and media (including the ones from all over the house and basement), and got them completely organized and simplified. I’m going to talk more about books and media in a separate post coming up.
Note: If you haven’t read the first post in this series, it will explain the Packing Party we are doing. You can find it here: Decluttering and Minimalism for Families: It Doesn’t Have to be so Hard
Here are a couple quick before photos of the room:
Living Room: Before
We were already pretty close to where we wanted to be in the main part of the room, with the exception of a little bit of clutter. Also, the cabinets were packed full, and there were books other places in our house that needed to be able to fit.
Living Room: Before
The biggest eyesore was at the other end of the room. Believe it or not, we used to have a bunch of other furniture at that end of the room too. Before our packing party, we were still hanging on to the desk and file cabinet, which collected junk on top of them all. the. time.
Living Room: After
We spent quite a bit of time packing up excess from the closet and drawers, and also decided to move the desk and the file cabinet out. We are setting up an office downstairs after we get the basement cleared out. I think the space in the living room seems much more open and inviting now, and the desk will no longer be a magnet for junk piles.
Here are the coat closet and the drawers in the entertainment center:
I was so excited about the extra drawer we didn’t even need in the entertainment center!
A few of the details we have added to the rest of the room to create Hygge are lanterns and candles, warm wood tones, a soft gray sweater blanket on the couch, textured baskets under the chairs, and a few nostalgic/homey pieces like the vintage ladder bookshelf (which my husband made) and the vintage-look guitar.
A note about the media unit: We purchased the four-piece unit from IKEA one piece at a time, as we could afford to pay cash, and it is one of the few pieces of furniture we’ve actually bought new! It holds pretty much all of our books and games, plus a lot of homeschool items. (The rest of the homeschool items for this year are in the baskets under the chairs).
Here are a few more pictures of the completed living room. (I took them at night in semi-dark so you can experience a little more of the Hygge feel):
I hope you can be inspired by our living room tour to create your own Hygge! Remember that minimalism and Hygge are going to look different to different people. I can’t wait to hear about whether you are incorporating these concepts and finding Hygge in your home and life!
For those of you who are simply working on paring down your stuff… this post was obviously a lot more about creating a Hygge feeling and not so much about the practical steps to minimalism. But I PROMISE there will be a part two to this post coming soon, with more practical steps, and our books + media packing party! I cannot wait to talk to you about how we organized and cut back on our books, including all our homeschool books!
Talk to you soon.
See the previous posts in this series here:
- Decluttering and Minimalism for Families: It Doesn’t Have to be so Hard
- Packing Party in the Kitchen! Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #2)
- Stop Toy Clutter for Good | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #3)
- How to Declutter Kids Clothing with a Capsule Wardrobe | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #4)
- Minimizing our Master Bedroom + Toddler Items | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #5)
- Your Questions about the Packing Party | Minimalism and Decluttering for Families (Post #6)
- Finding “Hygge” and Decluttering the Living Room | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #7)
See the next posts here:
- Decluttering the Books! | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #8)
- 14 Alternatives to DVDs, CDs, and Media Clutter! | Decluttering and Minimalism for Families (Post #9)
- The Art of Letting Go | Minimalism and Decluttering for Families (Post #10)