When you are at home, do you feel tense and on edge? Are you so busy thinking about the things you need to do that you are unable to relax and enjoy your family? Part of the problem may be your surroundings.
Look around your home. What emotion comes up as you take in your space? Do you feel cozy, welcomed, relaxed?
If not, it is time to make some changes.
I love to come home. Even when my house isn’t tidy, it is a cozy home. It feels warm and welcoming. There are beautiful things to look at, comfortable places to sit. Before I even knew the word, I knew it was my goal to have a hygge home.
Hygge (pronounced “HOO-ga”) is a Danish word that isn’t directly translatable, but generally means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life. It is a philosophy more than a decorating scheme, and it seems to work. Denmark, where the tourism pages talk about what is hyggelig just as much as they talk about what to see and do while visiting, frequently tops the lists of the happiest countries in the world.
What does having a cozy home have to do with being a peaceful mom?
Your home should be more than where you sleep at night. Your home should feel like your safe place. It should be where you recharge and ground yourself. It should be your family’s place to unwind. It should be a place where you look forward to reconnecting with each other, a peaceful sanctuary.
Maybe you need a calm and peaceful refuge from a hard day job, or from the news. Maybe you are trying to survive your two-year old, or your child who doesn’t sleep.
Creating a cozy home by introducing more hygge elements is about having a home you love to be in, so when you walk in your shoulders drop and you exhale. It is about having a home where your family loves to be, creating more relaxed family time. It is about having a home where your friends love to visit, that feels welcoming and warm. It is about being comfortable with having those friends over, without feeling like you need to clean and prepare your house for them. It is about creating a space where connection and relaxation is the default. It is about a focus on natural, not man-made materials, and soft inviting textures over hard, cold angles. It is about taking deep breaths, slowing down, feeling safe and comfortable and recharged.
Creating a hygge home is not:
- buying a bunch of new stuff
- becoming a minimalist
- spending all your free time tidying up, or wishing someone else was
- redoing your home entirely
Here are 10 simple and easy ways you can create more cozy in your home today.
Pick one or two to tackle right away or do them all for the most hyggelig home ever.
Twinkle lights in the kitchen
Hang a string of white or colored lights around a window or over your cabinets. Try turning off the overhead when you are doing dishes after dinner and make that chore so much more lovely.
Invite in good smells
Isn’t it nice when you walk into a space that smells nice? I dislike strong, perfume-y scents, but there are many ways to have lovely smells in your home. I use soy or beeswax candles (look for candles marked “all natural” to avoid chemical fragrances) and scented dish soap. I also diffuse essential oils throughout the day. But the smells that get the most comments are the yummy cooking smells. A pan of onions will make your dinner guests salivate (even if you dinner doesn’t have onions in it), and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel comforted by the smells of baking bread or cookies.
Group your plants
If you don’t yet have any plants in your house, get some. If you already have some, experiment with grouping them. I recently moved all the plants that were scattered around my living room to a table directly in front of the window. Not only are the plants happier (more light!), but the grouping has a bigger impact than a single plant. Suddenly I’m noticing that I have plants – living things! – in my space, instead of them just blending into the decor. Also, they now provide a nice soft screen for the not-especially lovely view out of that window.
Make your bedroom more inviting
When my daughter finally (mostly) stopped sleeping in my bed, I started thinking about what I really wanted our bedroom to feel like. Back when I was single, I re-did my bedroom into a lovely, sensual space just by changing the duvet cover, hanging a curtain on the wall, and adding one beautiful lamp. Most of that got lost in new baby season, so I consciously brought it back. I brought in a comfy chair and made sure it had soft pillows and a nice throw (see next tip), hung new curtains, and refreshed that duvet cover again. What a difference! What small changes can you make in your bedroom that will make it feel more like a restful sanctuary?
Blankets and pillows
Nothing says soft, warm and inviting than pillows and soft blankets. I visited a friend recently who had a blanket casually draped over nearly every chair and couch in her home. My visit was during a heat wave, but even though we weren’t using them, they lended a softness to the space. I think the trick here is to be really intentional about how you want this to look. Go all neutral, if your space feels small, so that they don’t overwhelm. Or go bright for more fun and playful look. Are you a DIYer? Pillows are an easy project, and homemade afghans and quilts have so much personality.
Candles aren’t just about smells. There is something so warming and cozy about flickering candle light. As I mentioned above, look for beeswax and soy candles marked “all natural” to avoid introducing scary chemicals into your home. Even if you have small children, you can still burn candles safely if they are up and out of reach and away from any edge they might tip over. Also make sure there is plenty of room above a burning flame and never leave a burning candle unattended (ask me about that time I set a house plant on fire during a holiday party).
Create hygge stations
This one is all about making cozy easy. Sure, make your couch really cozy to sit on, but then double the cozy by keeping a great book or a recent magazine right there to pick up when you sit down. Install a light with a soft white bulb so you can read comfortably. Create a little tea station, so you don’t need to find the tea and the cup and the honey – all of it is right there waiting for you. Keep a blanket on the chair you love to sit in, so you can easily pull it around you. Keep a basket of favorite kid books where you like to cuddle together. Put your current craft project, an art journal or a coloring book in a cute box and put them in arms reach of where you sit with your kids to do homework. Double up the cozy!
Everything in its place
When you live with kids, stuff is a fact of life. To keep your stuff from being clutter, make sure everything has a home, and make those homes easy enough to access that even the little kids can put things away. When our daughter was a toddler, we kept her books and toys in baskets in the living room. Now that she’s bigger, all her toys live in her bedroom, and are stored in bins and baskets that she can pull out to play with and easily fill back up and put away. In the last few months I’ve worked hard to instill the habit (for all of us!) of cleaning up before bed every night. That means I can relax after she goes to bed, instead of running around cleaning. It also means we wake up to a tidy house, which makes our mornings so peaceful.
Sit down to meals together
It is hard to get everyone at the table at the same time, especially when you have school-aged or teen kids. But it is worth the effort. Scientific studies on families who eat together have identified a number of benefits, ranging from closer family relationships, better eating habits, and even better grades. Getting a meal on the table, let alone everyone around it, may feel like a herculean task, but it is worth some experimentation to make it happen. Try menu planning, a menu plan service like Fresh20, or one of the many meal delivery services now available. To further raise the hyggelig factor, make soup. What’s more cozy than soup on a cold day?
Tap in to gratitude
While you are all at the table together, share one thing you are each grateful for in your life today. Focusing on gratitude is another science-backed practice that is especially important in our divided political climate. By focusing on what is good in your life, right now and right in front of you, it will help balance the fear and stress you may be feeling about what is happening in the larger world and ground you so that you can continue to take action.
Creating a cozy home doesn’t have to be hard. You can make your home feel more hygge today just by moving some things around and being more purposeful. What will you try right away to make your home more cozy?
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