Hygge: feeling warm, comfortable and safe. This Danish concept advocates enjoying the simple pleasures and treating yourself with care. During Chicago winters, we could all do with a little dose of hygge: the perfect antidote to Zoom overload. Here’s how.
Clear out clutter
To ensure the simplicity required for this concept, some decluttering is required. Make this an opportunity to donate items, then clear everything out of sight into some large, natural hampers.
Bring in cozy
Wool blankets, faux sheepskins, baskets of slippers. There is nothing better than snuggling with your family and embracing the best of togetherness.
[Related: From slow to go! Balancing life post-pandemic]
To complement the soft textiles, add some earthenware bowls for soup or glass jars filled with pinecones for a pleasing aesthetic. Bringing nature in promotes the tranquil vibe.
Display those memories
While we can’t see extended family members as much as we would like, displaying photos brings them closer. Or, dig out old mementos and arrange treasured items on shelves where they bring back happy memories.
Read and listen
Reading and listening to music are soothing pastimes for many of us. Select some poetry or a beautiful photo book, create a playlist, and chill out in a nook made from a bean bag chair or throw pillows.
Embrace changing seasons
Embracing the seasons is a part of hygge that we all have to accept in Chicago. Bundle up on sunny days, invest in a sled for the snowy ones, and makeover your bedroom hotel-style for the really ugly ones.
Set a fire
Whether you have a fireplace indoors, a fire pit outside, or just a visual on YouTube, fires are immensely relaxing. Rearrange the furniture around this focal point, replacing the TV with conversation.
Enjoy a cuppa
Make 2021 the year to up the ante on winter drinks. A hot chocolate bar is a fun, low-key activity for all the family. Alternately, cover a box with beautiful fabric and fill it with a range of teas for a home tasting.
Bake a treat
Though cookie exchanges are a no-no, take the opportunity to explore comfort foods from across the globe. Baking bread is another wonderful way to bring in the hygge, filling your home with an enticing aroma.
[Related: Family-friendly slow-cooker meals for cold snaps]
Bathe in light
If candles are problematic with children and pets, there are plenty of realistic battery versions. And of course, strings of tiny fairy lights add a magical effect strung up a little haphazardly.
Put away tech
Central to the theme of hygge is simplification, and that applies to technology, too. Identify a place to put away these items at the end of the day, such as a sanitizing station or a charging drawer.
Embrace neutral decor
To fully embrace the required Danish décor, repaint a room in neutral colors of grays, greens and creams. For a low-commitment fix, try adding new pillows or replacing the bold with calming artwork.
As we continue our winter living with COVID, it is so important that our homes become our sanctuaries — and not our cells. While traveling and experiencing a refreshing change of scene remains problematic, setting up our dwellings to provide respite is hugely beneficial to our wellbeing.