It’s more than just a design buzzword: hygge (an untranslatable Danish word that is a combination concept of cozy, warm, inviting, and homey) is a way of life. As the winter winds bring their harshest chills to Northern Virginia, make like the great Danes and transform your home into an oasis of tranquility with just a few simple touches. And, in case you wondered, it’s pronounced HOO-gah or HUE-gah.

Light some candles

Warm candlelight is a cornerstone of hygge, one that might be said to be a critical component. Group candles in odd numbers and create inviting pools of light in which family and friends can bask. Nothing glows quite as cozily as flame, and any place that you can replace electric light with candles, you should. Obviously, if you have a fireplace, light a roaring fire before having company over. 

Get back to nature

In wintertime, the trees are denuded of leaves and there is nary a sight of green to be sighted. Cure your seasonal funk by cultivating indoor plants. Succulents are very popular right now, they require virtually no maintenance, and they are able to be potted in tiny, adorable vessels that accent your home. If you truly have a black thumb, some high-quality silk ferns will do the trick nicely. If you are furniture shopping, considering going with wooden items that bring a natural feeling inside. Pale birch is very trendy right now, but you also can’t do wrong with the burnished walnut of mid-century modern fixtures. 

Choose warming hues

I’ve heard tell that blue is a calming color, but cool shades have no place in a hygge home. Walls can be both neutral and comfy in off-white shades like cream or beige, and add rosy touches to your decor with some carefully-selected throw pillows and mirrors/picture frames in tones of yellow or rose gold. 

Build a nook

Cozy nooks are another mainstay of the hygge home - the 2020 equivalent of those dated 80s/90s conversation pits that caused trip-and-fall hazards in the living room. Use of curtains or room dividers, or even strategically-placed large furniture can close off small, intimate spaces where you can curl up with a good book (reading, in lieu of electronics use, is very hygge), drink a steaming mug of tea, and while away the hours in quiet and comfort. Load your nook with plush cushions and warm, tactile-pleasing throws, and you’ll never want to leave. 

Hygge makes a home extra lovable all year long, but no time more so than in the winter. With a mini makeover, your home can be the cozy getaway that you can’t wait to run to at the end of the day.