Hygge—pronounced “hyoo-geh”—is a Danish word that has come to stand for a sense of comfy coziness, but it’s so much more than just that. Hygge is about appreciating life’s simple pleasures: the warmth found from cradling a mug of a warm beverage, the soothing clicking sounds of knitting needles, the quiet time spent reading a book. Although hygge is pretty much a way of life in Denmark and other Scandinavian countries and had already become popular elsewhere, the concept went truly mainstream during the various pandemic lockdowns. Those lockdowns have since lifted, and life has more or less returned to normal, but for many of us, hygge and the self-care it supports have become ingrained into our lifestyle. Whether you’re new to the concept or a seasoned practitioner, read on for some hygge tips for fall.
One of the easiest ways to feel cozy is to snuggle under a fleece throw. The soft fuzziness of fleece is soothing, and the material retains enough heat to keep you comfortably warm without feeling overheated. Even better, fleece is easy to care for. Just toss it in the washing machine and then dry on low heat. Be sure to have enough throws for each family member. With so many patterns, you can even have each person pick their favorite. Don’t forget to add a couple of extra throws for guests.
Having too much clutter can be stress-inducing, which defeats the purpose of hygge. So, for example, to keep your collection of throw blankets from piling up on the couch when not in use, keep them neatly folded in a couple of seagrass baskets. You can keep the baskets on a nearby shelf or in the corner of the room. Baskets have other uses, too. If you’re a knitter, you can keep your yarn and knitting supplies in one. The same goes for pet toys. If your dog (or cat) has a tendency to leave its toys scattered about, collect them into a basket. Eventually, your pet will learn to take its toys from the basket—and with training and bribery (we’re talking treats here), your pet may even learn to put the toys back, too.
If you’re fortunate to live in a home with a window seat, a reading nook pretty much creates itself. All you need are a couple of throw pillows and a spare blanket. If not, create your own. Find a spot in your home near natural light, whether from a window or skylight. Group together a comfortable armchair or rocker, a reading lamp (for those evening reading times), and a small side table on which to keep your stack of to-read books. Leave a little space for your mug—having your favorite hot beverage handy contributes to the cozy feeling that is a trademark of hygge. Make yourself comfortable and get lost in your book for an hour or two.
Hygge calls for wearing your coziest clothing around the house. That might be putting on their college sweatshirt and a favorite pair of leggings or joggers for some people. It might mean donning some comfy loungewear in their favorite fabric for other individuals, be it cotton, flannel, fleece, or velour. Don’t forget to add a thick pair of socks and some fingerless gloves. After all, it’s hard to feel cozy when your toes and fingers are cold.
Use scented candles or essential oil diffusers to add to the cozy ambiance. Diffusers are a good choice for bathrooms—no need to worry about an accidental fire—or if you prefer your scents to be subtle. Candles tend to have stronger scents; moreover, the longer a candle burns, the more you’ll be able to smell its odor. Candles come in so many different scents that it should be relatively simple to find one that evokes comfort when you smell it. Some popular scents are vanilla, chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, and baked bread. These scents all evoke comfort foods, although it’s possible to take the idea too far. Somehow, a chicken-soup-scented candle doesn’t seem quite as cozy. Regardless of what scent you favor, always extinguish candles when you’re going to be away from the room for more than a few minutes to maize the risk of fire.
Like fleece, flannel fabrics are soft and soothing. Use fall and winter’s cooler nights as an excuse to treat yourself to a set of flannel sheets. The coolness of cotton sheets is great for summer, but there’s something to be said about surrounding yourself with cozy flannel on colder nights. Add a down or down-substitute comforter; you’ll appreciate having the extra warmth without feeling weighted down.
Hygge is a state of mind, but incorporating these tips for fall will help you more easily achieve it.