The beauty of autumn has rung its final curtain call, the trees are bare, the days are short and darkness has set in for a few months, some of us have even been lucky enough to have snow. But it doesn’t have to be a Bleak Mid-Winter as the carol suggests. This is where we turn to the Scandinavians, who know a thing or two about long dark winter days and how to create a sense of happiness and ease during this time. They even have a word for it, ‘hygge’, which doesn’t have a direct translation into English, but essentially means a heartfelt contentment created from a feeling of cosiness. It is pronounced ‘hue-guh’. And there is no better place to create this during the winter months, than at home. So, we have created our top five tips for generating the art of hygge in your home this winter:
There is something magical and comforting about candlelight. Make the most of the darker days and nights by keeping the electric lights to a minimum, using perhaps only a table lamp or two, and fill the room with candles. There are many different options here, including some wonderful scented candles that have the added bonus of filling your home with a gorgeous smell. We also recommend tea lights, popping them in old jam jars or little votive candle holders creates a really beautiful effect. You can buy long burning ones as well, to get the most out of them.
Fairy lights are not just for Christmas! The gentle sparkle of fairy lights are a wonderful addition to the glow of candlelight and add a wonderful atmosphere to a home in the darker winter months. There are many different options to choose from, and ways of displaying them. Try for example placing a bundle in an un-used fireplace, or a basket, or place them across pictures or even around a larger house plant.
Blankets and throws
Keeping warm and cosy and creating a haven away from the cold world outside your window is a big part of hygge. Make sure you have plenty of blankets and throws around. These can really add to your décor as well. Try perhaps creating a pile of beautiful blankets on top of an old wooden chest. Or place some on the sides of sofas and chairs. For real luxury add a sheepskin throw or two, which look wonderful across the back of your soft furnishings and will definitely keep you warm.
A warm fire
If you are lucky enough to have a working fireplace or stove, stock pile your wood and ensure you always have a cosy fire going. Pop on your woolly socks, your loungewear, light some candles, grab a book or magazine, a cup of tea and snuggle up by the fire – this is guaranteed to create a sense of wellbeing. If you don’t have a fire consider buying a DVD of a fire which does a surprisingly good job of creating the same sense of wellbeing. Or you can focus on your candles instead, there are even candles scented to smell like a wood burning fire, which certainly help to create the illusion.
Winter is not the time for diets! The Scandinavians choose this time wisely to focus on lovely warming comfort foods. They have their own ideas about this, but the British versions would certainly involve things like delicious soups and stews, home baked bread fresh from the oven with plenty of butter melting onto the soft doughy insides. Jacket potatoes, macaroni cheese, roast dinners, apple crumbles, sticky toffee pudding… The list goes on and the best thing about this is that you can choose the food that gives you the most comfort, it’s all about treating yourself well and kindly, so that you emerge in the spring happy and ready for all the joy of the new season.
So whether alone or with family or friends, ensure your home is a haven of hygge. We wish you a very happy winter!