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Bring more hygge to your home!

Making you feel safe, happy and satisfied in the space where you go to relax and recharge your batteries.

Photographs: Pexels

Text: Natália Šepitková

The Danish author Meik Wiking was my inspiration for my life long before I moved to Denmark. In his newest book, The Hygge Home, he brings the manual on how to make a happy and satisfied place from our homes.

I read it a few days ago, and I've just realised that all these attributes that change your home into a happy home were present in my childhood. I was born in 1991, and until I was eighteen, I lived with my parents and older brother in a small city in northern Slovakia.

The fact that the environment I come from was a simple example of Danish hygge only confirmed that the hygge concept is so universal and connects different nationalities and people worldwide. Maybe we in Slovakia called it "home comfort" or "warmth of home", but it was hygge.

Hygge is not only "a Danish invention" - it is the atmosphere and feeling many of us experienced before the internet, social media and modern technology swallowed us whole. Today, we prefer to look at "hygge pictures" on Instagram instead of turning off our phones and starting to live hygge in our homes.

Cosy home

Slow down and look around if you want to bring more hygge to your home. Close your eyes and try to recognise how you feel in the space you call home. The cosy home is an environment which has value and your own identity. It has stimuli for the senses and objects around you that will put a smile on your face and warm your heart. Try to create spaces where you can stay in different moods.

Set up the corner which gives you the feeling of security and protection. Yes, Danes call it hyggekrog (hygge corner). And, of course, hygge is also about all those well-known things like pillows, soft blankets, carpets, candles and dim light from the lamps. But don't forget that daily light is also essential for the hygge vibe. Now you know why Scandinavians have such large windows in their homes.

"The hygge concept is so universal and connects different nationalities and people worldwide."

Togetherness, food and play

There is no hygge home without love and fellowship. Surround yourself with people you love and are comfortable with. Being alone at home with a book is pleasing, but being around friends and family is equally pleasurable.

In today's fast-paced world, we may not be aware of the importance of dining together, but if you want to slow down and restore relationships, start with family dinners, for example. Warm home-cooked meals, lit candles, putting away cell phones, and deep conversations will make you happier than eating takeout alone in front of the TV.

Another way to establish closer relationships with loved ones is through play. The Dutch historian and cultural theorist Johan Huizinga called the human race homo ludens (a playful person) in his book of the same name Homo Ludens. He wrote that the play gives meaning to our lives, and everything we call "culture" originates in play.

My family and I were sick in the last weeks of December, so we stayed home during Christmas and played various board games. For my 4-year-old daughter, the best game was Memo. I would never say I could play it for over two hours, but you know what? I felt so happy, and when I solved the wooden puzzle, I got a great sense of satisfaction, more than what a promotion at work would bring!

Store hygge in the pantry

If you want to bring even more hygge to your home, you should fill up your pantry and freezer. Jars full of goodies will bring sunshine to any dark winter evenings. And thawed fruit will remind you of the smell of a summer garden.

When we picked apples in an orchard during the fall break and then came home, and when I was baking a lot of apple cakes and trying some new recipes, I understood what Meik wrote about in his book when he described the atmosphere of hygge.

If I am writing about "storing hygge", I don't mean the pointless storage of junk with a hygge label in the shop. Also, Marie Kondo, in her bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, warns us to keep only the things we need that bring us absolute pleasure.

Having a hygge home doesn't have strict rules; it's more about individual feeling, but these tips can help steer it in the right direction.

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