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by: Rachel Sokol

Does your home make you feel warm and cozy? When you come home at night, do you get a sense of peace and tranquility from your surroundings? Honestly, you should.

Our homes are a personal extension of ourselves; so when you walk through the front door, you should feel relaxed and calm. If you’re not, it’s time for the family to do what the Danes do, and embrace Hygge.

Hygge (pronounced: Hoo-Gah) is the Danish concept of creating a cozy atmosphere in your home. According to Marty Basher, Home Organization Expert for Modular Closets, Hygge is also the acknowledgment of a feeling or moment.

Considering United Nations World Happiness Report lists Denmark as one of happiest countries in the world, we think those content Danish may be on to something with their quest for Hygge!

But bringing the Hygge concept into your home doesn't mean a complete renovation. There are simple ways to make your home more cozy.

Here are some ways you can incorporate Hygge into your surroundings:

1. Replace Harsh Lights

Use soft light bulbs or darker lampshades to get rid of bright lighting, or consider lighting candles around your home. (If you're worried about open flames, try LED candles.) Candles and soft lighting produce a calming ambiance, says Hygge expert Bee Heinemann. “The idea is to create a space that looks and feels softer, calmer and more relaxing.”

2. Cook at Home

Hygge cooking is all about comfort food; warm, hearty dishes that make you feel all cozy inside. And cooking them as a family only makes it Hygge-ier (can we say that?).

Obviously, says Heinemann, doing this saves money, is healthier and bonds the family when they’re sitting around the kitchen table. “Encourage family participation in meal planning, food prep and cooking. Whenever a child has had a hand in meal preparation, they are more inclined to want to eat what they’ve cooked.”

3. Promote Relaxation in the Home

Hygge: Promote Relaxation

Stress should float away the minute you enter your home. (Okay, easier said than done, but at least try.)

Bad day at work? Move on, and make time for yourself and for your family, says Heinemann. “Say good morning and good night to your loved ones, remember to ask them about their day or to say ‘good luck’ on that test. Give hugs when you leave and come back home.”

Also, disconnect from electronics, social media and television. Consider covering your TV with a pretty fabric when not in use; its energy can be a distraction.

Ask yourself: Do you really need to check your cell phone constantly?

4. Conquer Your Clutter

“Fully embracing Hygge means conquering clutter,” says Marty Basher. “Clutter is an outward expression of a lack of caring for something in your life. It may be a byproduct of a missing self-care routine or misalignment of priorities within the time you have. Embrace Hygge by evaluating the root cause(s) of the clutter in your home and care for them. As you care for those, the clutter clears and the visual evidence of the Hygge feeling can be seen.”

Think twice about bringing ‘random’ items into a small home. Do you really need another mermaid/moustache/bacon thing? Every object that enters a small home, says Basher, must have purpose and be cared about or it diminishes the feeling of cozy invitation.

“Maintain Hygge in a small home by choosing items that are both functional and sentimental, keeping in mind the feeling you will have when you bring it home.” Will the item add to the feeling of care and comfort in your home, or just become clutter?

5. Organize With Bins and Baskets

Use rustic baskets or bins in warm colors to organize after you declutter.

“Remove everything without a practical purpose or the stuff that doesn’t contribute to the overall look of your home,” echoes Lily Cameron, Cleaning and Hygge Expert at Fantastic Services. “Invest in handy organizers and your place will definitely look more spacious and organized. Removing the visual clutter around will help you keep your mind clear and help you achieve inner peace.”

As for playrooms, Cameron says store toys in different labeled boxes and bins. “You will not only organize the playground but make the kid’s job much easier when it comes to bringing the toys back to their right place.”

6. Surround Yourself with Happiness

It’s okay to bring some items into your home, but make sure they’re sentimental items that evoke happy memories, says Heinemann, echoing Basher’s thoughts. “Think framed photos or artwork, a vase with seashells, a beautiful rock collected from the ocean, a bowl of your great grandmother’s or something you picked up on your travels abroad.”

7. Bring Nature Indoors

“Plants make the air fresh and their green color is a remedy for our eyes and nerves,” says Cameron. “Improve your place by placing more plants inside the home. This will also make the room brighter and cozier and let you breathe way more fresh and clean air.”

8. Consider Music and Aromas

Hygge: Music and Aromas

Hygge isn’t always about the interior, stresses Cameron. “Hygge must be felt with our other senses, too.” Along with the visual pleasure, adding some ambient music and aromas to your home will also improve the home atmosphere—as long as the scent or music is soothing and not overbearing.

9. Use Soothing Colors and Textures

If you want to go all-out Hygge, consider repainting your space.

Look around your home and really take in its color scheme; room by room. Do the colors feel inviting? According to Vänt Wall Panels Interior Design Expert Bee Heinemann, a home with soothing shades and soft textures sets the overall mood.

“Think tranquil blues, greens, greys, whites and beiges,” she says; and opt for soft furniture with rounded edges and hardwood floors with soft area rugs.

If Hygge isn't quite your style, that's cool. Check out 10 other affordable ways to make your home feel special.

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