Rather than focusing on materiality, Kike Pavlik talks us through a Scandinavian approach to interiors that values ambiance over aesthetics.
Hooga? Hhyooguh? Heurgh? It is not important how you choose to pronounce or spell ‘hygge’. After all, whenever Winnie the Pooh was asked how to spell a certain emotion, he said: “You don’t spell it, you feel it”. Similarly, Hygge is all about an atmosphere and an experience.
‘Hygge’ in Danish means cosy and it is without a doubt the secret ingredient to the Scandinavian design and lifestyle – that good vibe that animates everything in the vicinity. It’s used to describe the wonderful things in life and the positive attitude that we should all embrace. Originally a Norwegian word but now popularised in Denmark, both countries enlist the tenets of Scandinavian design and embrace positive lifestyle.
The phrase describes simple gestures that nourish the soul and enhance the quality of life; a long bracing walk, time spent with a close friend or laying eyes upon a beautiful design or landscape. Anything can bring more Hygge into your life, but you have to seek these simple gestures and appreciate them. Make them happen, as it’s up to you to improve your quality of life. However, this by no means infers that you have to spend money but instead, learn to appreciate nature, light and simplicity.
Beautiful Autumn & Winter brings colourful leaves, rainy afternoons and long evenings. Consequently, it is the perfect time to make your home more hyggelig. The one thing that every home needs is a hyggekrog, which roughly translates as ‘a nook’. It is the place where you love to snuggle up in a blanket, armed with a book and a cup of tea. It could be any aspect of the room, but it is fair to say that a fireplace may be the ultimate headquarters of hygge. It’s somewhere we sit by ourselves to rest while experiencing those coveted feelings of cosiness and warmth, or spend time with our loved ones to intensify our feelings of togetherness.
If you can’t enjoy the smell of burning wood from a fireplace, light the candles! No recipe for hygge is complete without them! Danes feel the need to bring the entire forest inside. Any piece of nature you might find is likely to invoke hygge. Leaves, nuts, twigs or small pieces of wooden blocks will all suffice.
As you’ve likely discerned, a hyggelig interior is not about how things look, but how they feel. Letting your fingers run across a wooden table, a warm ceramic cup or fluffy blanket is a distinctly different feeling from being in contact with something made from steel, glass or plastic.
Hygge is humble and slow. It is choosing rustic over new, simple over elaborate and calmness over excitement. You cannot buy the right atmosphere or a sense of togetherness. The art of creating intimacy cannot be bought, it’s fashioned over time, interest and engagement with the people around you. This Winter, have a hyggelig time!
Kike Pavlik is a Paisley-based interior design student at The Glasgow School of Art. Follow her on Instagram kike.pavlik.