Jessica Lagrange Interiors LLC

How To Beat The Winter Doldrums? Embrace Hygge With A Touch Of Lux

Bring hygge to your home with natural textiles and sumptuous skins. Image: Fibre by Auskin

A Chicago winter’s cold, blustery days and long, dark nights can put anyone in a gloomy mood.  But we have a solution:  do as the Danes do and add hygge—the concept of finding comfort, contentment and joy in the little things in life—to your daily lives. The practice has clearly made them happy—so happy that they consistently rank at or near the top of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. (In 2018, the U.S. was no. 18 while the Danes were no. 3!) 

The U.S. needs to work at happiness; the 2018 World Happiness Report shows us far behind most of our peers. Image: worldhappiness.report

In fact, there’s solid evidence that hygge has huge benefits for our physical and emotional wellbeing.  So how to hygge?  It’s about creating the right atmosphere and experience, “and being with the people we love,” explains Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute, author of “The Little Book of Hygge” and, of course, a Dane. But as luxury interior designers, making homes a touch indulgent is in our DNA. So we propose notching up the experience by adding a little luxury to the equation.  Here’s how to do that—and one thing to keep in mind:  hygge isn’t just for winter. It’s about taking sustenance in these activities every day.

Make something mouthwatering and break bread with friends. Image: NYT

1. Eat with friends:  Recent research from the University of Oxford shows “ the more often people eat with others, the more likely they are to feel happy and satisfied with their lives.”  Why not double the effect with special mood-boosting food and drink?  Think your favorite hearty casseroles, creamy soups, a great bottle of wine, really fine coffee, tea or hot chocolate—or any special fare that warms your soul.  Two of our favorite tried-and-true recipes (we think of them as gourmet comfort food) are a mouthwatering French Onion Panade from the New York Times Magazine and seductive double-baked potatoes topped with baked eggs (and a few extra irresistible ingredients).

Do as the Danes do and make the mood in your home warm and mellow with candles. Images: Broste Copenhagen

2. Light up.  “Because hygge is about atmosphere, lighting is important. Lamps are important. Candles are crucial,” Wiking said recently on Freakonomics. In fact, the Dane’s burn twice as many candles yearly than any other European country —13 pounds per person compared to Austria, the runner-up at half that (and only no. 12 in the World Happiness Report).  We’ve written about the powerful effect light has in our homes, on our moods and so much more) and are believers. Diptyque Paris is a great go-to brand, but since the candle business is clearly booming in Scandinavia, we’re going to take a page from their playbook and give their top brands a try (see this Scandinavian candle guide).

It would be hard to resist snuggling in this sheepskin beanbag chair. Image: Fibre by Auskin

3. Snuggle. Here’s where the comfort part of the equation comes in. It takes two to cuddle, but anyone can feel snug, sheltered and warm with the help of the right trappings. Lay a fluffy rug down in front of a roaring fire. Bring on the plump pillows, a cozy wrap or both. Plop down on a cushy chair or a welcoming sofa, pull on a pair of thick, fuzzy socks and break out a gripping book.  The sumptuous, natural fiber furnishings and textiles of Fibre by Auskin, a global manufacturer that designs and produces products out of exotic wools, skins and leathers, are perfect for adding hygge to your home.

07 Jan 2019

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