You move. You move a lot. You buy homes, sell homes, rent homes, live on and off base, live in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.
With all that moving into unfamiliar homes, it can be hard to feel comfortable, never mind cozy. But if there’s anyone who knows coziness, it’s the Danish people. The Danish quality of coziness (called hygge, pronounced “hooga”) can help you feel more at home, no matter where you are. Here are some simple ways to bring hygge into your life:
Candles. Lighting is an important hygge element. Hygge experts recommend avoiding harsh overhead lighting and creating lighting from many different sources, like floor and table lamps and candles. There is also the danger of particulate air pollution, however, so make sure you air out your home after burning candles, or buy flame-less candles – yes, they don’t have the same cozy appeal, exactly, but they’re becoming so well made today that you sometimes can’t even tell the difference.
Blankets. Invest in a cozy blanket. I love faux fur and Barefoot Dreams blankets – you’ll never find anything cozier. Drape them over the couch, over dining chairs outside and on your bed. Keep one in your office too.
Bring in Nature. I love a good piece of driftwood in the middle of the dining table or on a bedside table (you can buy them from West Elm, by the way). Danish homes use a lot of natural wood elements in furniture and accessories, so now might be the time to invest in that raw-edge wooden dining table you’ve been eyeing. Another idea I love: collect sand or shells from every beach your family has been to and display them in glass jars.
Books. Nothing makes a home cozier than a pile of books. To really get the full effect, showcase your hardcovers and take off the paper covers. Stack them on tables with a candle or vase on top, and keep a few by every bed. I personally love buying first editions of my absolutely favorite titles and keeping a small collection of those. Create a reading nook by a window or by piling some floor pillows in a corner with blankets and a lamp.
Whites and Creams. If you’re able to paint your home, choose whites are creams. Light, natural, simple colors are best. You can always find inexpensive white curtains at every home goods store, so it might be worth the cost to put curtains up in your new home to make it cozier. Cream blankets, towels and bedding are an easy way to hygge your home no matter how often you move.
Bake. Choose a “baking day,” like every Sunday. Have your family rotate choosing what to bake. The smells of baked goods instantly make a home cozier. You don’t even have to do it from scratch – pre-made cookie dough is fine too. Buy a glass cloche or cake stand to show off what you make.
Sisal. If you’re buying a rug, try jute or sisal. It will bring a calming effect to your room.
Pick up a Hobby. Knitting isn’t just for grandmothers anymore. Knitting is one of the best “hygge” hobbies, and you can do it anywhere. Knitting groups can also be a social activity and a way to meet new people. If you’re not skilled with crafts, try an Afghan loom. You can buy them in any craft store, and they’re very hard to mess up.
Pillows. Lots of them. Keep the textures and colors natural, like linen and cotton.
Tea and Coffee. Find a favorite mug or teacup that you bring with you wherever you move. Ceramic is best. Handmade is best. Avoid the ones you find in boardwalk gift shops.
Slippers. Invest in a warm pair of cozy faux fur slippers. Not only will you avoid tracking dirt into your house, but putting them on every time you come home will signal to your body that it’s okay to relax.
Simplify. You don’t need a house full of expensive Scandinavian furniture to get the hygge feeling. Just get rid of stuff you don’t need, especially if you’re moving a lot. Identify a list of your top ten favorite “hygge” items and bring those with you to every new home.