Creating a Refuge

What is Hygge and Do I Want it in my House?

An unfamiliar word started cropping up a few years ago in books and articles about lifestyle and homemaking. That word is hygge (pronounced hue-gah – with “hue” sounding like a cross between “hyoo” and “her”)

Hygge is a Danish or Norwegian word that describes a feeling or concept, not a particular style or line of products. It is that aura of contentment, coziness, comfort, belonging, and relaxation. Some things that have come to be associated with hygge are scented candles, twinkle lights, firepits, greenery, fresh flowers, soft textiles, warm drinks, favorite books, relaxing music, good foods, and gathering with people you love.

It is a concept that resonates deeply with me, and I find myself often looking at my surroundings and my interactions through a “hygge lens”. While my heart is full of coziness, my house doesn’t always reflect that! I am a very “relaxed” housekeeper, and I’d rather read a good story than put away the clean laundry that’s landed on the living room couch. My favorite organizational method is “piles”. When my kids were young I could blame the controlled chaos on having five kids home all the time, but now that they are all grown I don’t really have anyone else to blame. So although I find my home cozy and comfortable, there is too much to clutter and disarray for it to truly be relaxing and welcoming. There are soft afghans and fluffy pillows on the beds and couches, family photos on the walls and good smells coming from the kitchen, but also dirty dishes in the sink and papers covering the dining table. So I am realizing that what is missing in terms of hygge is the welcoming aspect, or feeling that my home is ready for company! Although I am an introvert and homebody, I would love to gather with family and friends for meals, movie nights, games, backyard cookouts, bible study, or tea and cupcakes. I need to work on making my home comfortable for not just my husband and I, but also for others.

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