Making Space for “Hygge”

Friends, we’re in what Kim France so aptly calls “the long haul to springtime”. She recommends a heavy dose of sweatpants, moisturizers, and vitamins. Those sound pretty appealing, but I’m more in the mood for getting a fresh clean start to this new year. This winter, instead of hunkering down, I’m making room for everything I want more of in 2016.


Coming out of the holiday season, we have reached full knickknack saturation. Every shelf has its elf, every couch its throw blanket, every table its dusty pine cone centerpiece. Boots are starting to pile up by front doors, and coat pockets fill up with lone gloves and tubes of chapstick.

But is all this hunkering down for winter working for us?

It’s not working for me. This is the time of year to have less stuff, not more! As winter sets in, we need all the light and airiness that we can get. The Danish, you may know them as the inventors of hygge, know just what’s needed. Hygge means coziness, warmth, good food and good company to while away the cold dark months. But how can we enjoy these things in a tight, stuffy, heavy space? The Danish know what to do!

Here are a few easy changes that you can implement right away to create a beautiful, airy, Danish-inspired space to enjoy this season.

  1. Clear off all surfaces and give them a good shine. Tabletops, floors, shelves, and counter tops. Reduce your items to things that you use each day or find unspeakably beautiful. Everything else can go in a drawer or closet. If you forget about it out of sight until next week, you have my permission to throw it away.

Suddenly there is more light, and a feeling of freshness. This is a perfect backdrop for all the cozy times you’ll have here in the next few months.

2. Create spaces where you can do the things you love to do. Can you spend hours playing board games, or creating scrapbook pages? Position your table or desk in the best light in the house so you can get those last rays of afternoon sun. Are you planning a movie marathon this January? Make sure that your TV is dusted and not surrounded by clutter. Be sure to have a place to rest your snacks and a cup of tea! When your space is ready and waiting for you to do the things you love, you’re much more likely to do them. It’s science.

3. Incorporate your favorite color. Make it something that will make you smile when you open the door after a cold walk home! Choose the blue that reminds you of your trip to Greece, or that perfect watermelon-pink that always lifts your spirits. Make your mark!

“I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art.”
– Helena Bonham Carter

4. Make it bloom. Bring in some succulents inside to remind you that spring is never that far away. Touches of freshness and nature help you cheat the winter, and make your home feel more alive and happy.

5. Call up some friends and bake something delicious. Hygge like the Danish do, with good food, good friends, and the space to enjoy it.

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
-Mary Oliver



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