Embracing Hygge

What started as a work expedition turned into love as we  travelled to Iceland in the hope of discovering  makers during Design March and found so much more. Yes, I had heard that the Scandinavian countries had some of the happiest people on earth but why was that? And how does happy and creative go together? What is it about that place? Could it be “hygge”?

Hygge (pronounced “Hoo-Ga”) is  a completely new concept for me. I understand that the term originated in Denmark and, as a lifestyle, has morphed across Nordic borders and is loosely understood as wellbeing through coziness. It’s a response to everyday busy lives from which we seek to unplug, sit back, relax and slow down. It’s an attitude of creating a warm safe calm peaceful space through friendliness and good cheer throughout the cold Nordic months and all year. The influence of Hygge can be seen in many of the designs we saw throughout Design March.  

It was only upon returning home and coming upon this term, Hygge, that I realized why I enjoyed the sights and spirit of Iceland so much.

Here are some quick pics I took in Iceland that illustrate Hygge and are inspiring new design ideas for My Storied Home ~

The warmth of candles and soft light can be found in any restaurant, café, or where people are gathering. We were happy to find-tapers, tea lights, fireplaces, and lit candelabra throughout the day (starting with breakfast) . At Design March as part of the 1+1+1 exhibition, mix and match tapers were used to create new designs from using different variations and configurations.

The same concept was also used with furniture

Fuzzy, chunky textures, and  sheepskin blankets, wooly blankets, and rugs make home interiors hyggelig. The iconic fuzzy benches at Epal Design Store are truly cozy.                            

Textured hand thrown tabletop pieces are often used in homes and restaurants. We visited the Kaolin Gallery where a group of ceramicist envisioned how each of their placesettings would come together to create a unified and yet diverse tablescape. Tabletop ceramics and chefs are collaborating to create their own storied tables.


Small moments of pleasure are hyggelig. The simplest of pleasures, such as  drinking a cup of tea from a hand-thrown cup with perfectly comfortable grip is hyggelig. Relaxed casual gatherings in cafes through the cold hours is  hyggelig and we jumped right in with new friends during a city walking tour with Pink Ice.      

Natural color, form, and simplicity finds it’s way into interiors and ceramics and every art form.  No matter the weather, the people in Iceland wrap up and go  for walks outside and in nature. “No such things as bad weather, only bad clothing” is a phrase you hear. Simple seasonal foliage from nature is brought inside to soften interiors.  Ceramic designs are often inspired by natural shapes, orbs and  volcanos.

We’re collecting inspirational images of Hygge on our Nordic Style Pinterest Board and we hope you will visit us there!