The Hibernation Guide

6 steps to creating a hygge-inspired haven at home

Words: Rosie Goddard | Photographs: Seth Zworestine + Il Retallack | Styling + Art Direction: Charl Edwards

Last week, I read an inappropriate amount of ‘hygge’ definitions. For those strong enough to resist the allure of gimmicky buzzwords, hygge (pronounced hue-gah) is the name of a Danish lifestyle trend that centres on enjoying life’s little pleasures while promoting well-being and cosiness.

After one too many variations of “Hygge is sitting in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a great book while rain patters gently against the window” followed by a disturbing amount of think pieces (have we reached peak hygge?) my smugness levels reached unprecedented new heights. I was ready to invest (someone else’s money) in cashmere socks, a candle collection and new dinnerware.

While this approach to life is newsworthy now, its tenets are timeless. As autumn draws closer and we look to recalibrate, our homes become little hibernation pods.

Creating your own hygge-style nest is about so much more than investing in a heater or throwing some extra blankets on the bed. It’s blending various mood- and atmosphere-enhancing features to create a space so inviting, it could make you choose staying in over drinks and dinner. For us, that means natural fibres, warm colours, bringing the outdoors in and combining the comforts of home with an air of nonchalance. Read on to get the look.


Key items: lighting, candles

Your choice in lighting can make or break a room. Too dark and it feels depressing, too light and it feels clinical. This is easily solved with the right light and lamp shade choices. Basket-style shades have a softening effect, while additional table lamps lend a warm glow.

Hygge-ometer reading: 10/10 – lighting is the first step when it comes to creating a soothing, inviting atmosphere.


Key items: cushions, throws, rugs

Soft textures, cuddle-me cushions and soothing fabrics are to nesting what melted butter is to hot toast. Use rugs, throws and cushions to replicate the comfort and security of your bedroom throughout the house.

Want to feel extra smug? Get a basket of carefully folded blankets going in the corner of your living room.

Hygge-ometre reading: Off the charts! Rainy weekends indoors and nights at home would be nothing without mountains of cushions to camouflage yourself into and blankets to swaddle yourself in.


Key items: books, music players, board games

If you don’t want fomo to get the better of you, you need to plan entertainment for days and nights indoors. Put down the TV remote and leave your laptop at work – focus on your wellbeing and indulge in some hobbies like reading or music. Racks will keep your magazines and books organised, while a music player will create a happy, homey atmosphere, even if it’s just for you.

Hygge-ometre reading: 8/10. Once you’ve got the basics down, these act like a finishing touch and are essential to feeling content in a space once you’ve set the scene.


Key items: plants in vases, natural woven textures, wood

Bring the outdoors in with soothing botanical features and natural fibres – think wooden tables, woven rugs and rustic baskets. The warm hue of wood and woven pieces adds soft, intelligent layers to a space. Plants are instant day brighteners, too.

Hygge-ometre reading: On the up and up. Nature is a mood booster, which is why it’s so important to incorporate it any way you can.


Key items: decor accessories, furniture

Personality is key when it comes to creating a welcoming space. When you surround yourself with your favourite things and furniture pieces, you can’t help but feel a sense of ease and contentment. Also, how else are you supposed to show your friends what great taste you have?

Hygge-ometre reading: 9/10. A house isn’t home until you’ve made your mark. Beautiful objects and sentimental furniture are a crucial component of the journey towards hygge Shangri-la.


Key items: hand-painted crockery

Your nest is nothing if you don’t have people to share it with, and most get-togethers revolve around food. Beautiful crockery makes cosy dinners and afternoon chill sessions all the more enjoyable.

Hygge-ometre reading: 9/10. Tea on its own is great, but tea in your favourite new mug, accompanied by a scone on a hand-painted plate? Now that’s true happiness.