Here's to Hygge: This Cozy Danish Lifestyle Will Change Your Life

Candles and mulled wine? Goodbye, winter blues and hello, hygge. 

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Well, the secret's finally out. If you've ever wondered how those Scandinavian countries with long, cold winters (read: up to 17 hours of darkness a day for months on end) manage to be the happiest nations in the world, we have an answer for you. It's called hygge.

Pronounced "hoo-gah," this Danish expression is an attitude towards life that emphasizes finding joy in everyday moments. Rather than drudge through the winter, hygge is about celebrating coziness, warmth and family, as well as practicing mindfulness — and TBH, we love it.

CI-Laurie-March_Scandinavian-Christmas-Entertaining-hot-chocolate_h

CI-Laurie-March_Scandinavian-Christmas-Entertaining-hot-chocolate_h

©Marc Kelly

Marc Kelly

This year, trade the seasonal stress for a hygge-happy lifestyle. The Danes really know what they're talking about.

Soften Your Space

Bohemian Style Contemporary Living Room With White Ship Lap Wall, Brown Leather Sectional and Macrame Wall Hang

Bohemian Style Contemporary Living Room With White Ship Lap Wall, Brown Leather Sectional and Macrame Wall Hang

The DIY coffee table is made from a broken clock face transformed into a live edge table with hair pin legs. A white ship lap accent wall creates a white on white texture display with the unbleached macrame fiber art. A large leather sectional is decorated with a mix of patterned pillows and throw blankets. Wicker baskets provide decorative storage.

Photo by: Amy Bartlam

Amy Bartlam

Make even small acts like entering your home more enjoyable with soft fabrics. We love how designer Natalie Myers layered faux-fur blankets, woven area rugs and a knit tapestry to make every inch of this living room feel warm and cozy. It's a hygge haven if we've ever seen one.

Introduce Natural Woods

Sleek, Midcentury Modern Kitchen

Sleek, Midcentury Modern Kitchen

A modern, minimalist and midcentury-style kitchen with natural materials. The homeowner loves white and initially wanted an all-white kitchen. But because she feared that it would be hard to maintain with her two kids, she went with natural walnut cabinets instead, along with a few white cabinets and white countertops. “This way she would not have to feel as though her kitchen had to be in perfect condition,” says designer Kristianne Watts.

Photo by: Chipper Hatter

Chipper Hatter

Wood furniture, too, can warm your home life by making you feel closer to nature. Live-edge coffee tables, reclaimed wood chairs and rich walnut cabinets like those in this kitchen from designer Kristianne Watts are all ways to bring the beauty of the outdoors into your space.

Display What Makes You Happy

Parisian Café Inspired Dining Room

Parisian Café Inspired Dining Room

This quaint dining space was designed with a Parisian café in mind. Elegant European rattan bistro chairs surround a mango wood dining table with classic cabriole legs, providing the space with cozy seating. Sunlight floods into the space, while apricot blossoms add to the outdoor bistro feel. Family photographs and vintage objects create an eclectic gallery wall among heirlooms, plants and books, making this space the perfect place to cozy up with a newspaper, croissant and cappuccino.

Photo by: Joyelle West Photography

Joyelle West Photography

In many ways, hygge is about prioritizing what makes you happy. Take a page out of designer Barbara Vail's book and transform a blank wall into an eclectic display of your favorite family pictures and artwork.

Clear Your Workspace

Mod White Home Office With Mustard-Yellow Desk Chair

Mod White Home Office With Mustard-Yellow Desk Chair

The mustard midcentury-modern chair in this home office lends vintage pizzazz to the clean white space. The white desk adds a modern vibe, while the task lamp evokes an industrial feel.

Don't let clutter weigh down your mood. Instead, organize papers and other odds and ends, so that you can enjoy a clear desk and peace of mind. With a clean table and midcentury-modern chair, this office from Charlotte Jenk Lewis allows for focused writing or journaling.

Simplify Your System

Open Kitchen Shelving

Open Kitchen Shelving

Open shelves in dark wood, white Calcutta marble backsplash and library sconces give this updated kitchen a fresh farmhouse look, designed by Lindye Galloway.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin

Ryan Garvin

Simplifying daily tasks can also help you decompress. In this modern kitchen from designer Lindye Galloway, open shelves replace heavy cabinetry, which both lightens the space and makes cleaning up effortless.

Soak It In

White Modern Spa Bathroom With Soaking Tub

White Modern Spa Bathroom With Soaking Tub

The economic design of this master bathroom gives the space a bright and open feel. Wood floating shelves above the tub break up the sea of white and let simple brown bottles become a part of the design.

Photo by: AVID Associates

AVID Associates

Multi-tasking might be the American way, but hygge is about slowing down and enjoying the little things, like a hot bath in the evening. With floating shelves and a freestanding tub, we could spend hours soaking away our troubles in this ethereal bathroom by AVID Associates.

Cherish the Candlelight

Candle Santa Runway

Candle Santa Runway

A DIY project with candles makes a santa runway up the stairs.

©Janell Beals

Janell Beals

Evoking a cozy atmosphere is key to enduring the colder months. Create your own by trading fluorescent lights for scented candles. While you curl up with a good book, they'll fill your home with a gentle glow and a pleasant aroma.

Savor Warm Sips

Merry Mexican Hot Chocolate

Merry Mexican Hot Chocolate

Take your hot chocolate to the next level by combining cayenne pepper to the cocoa mix along with milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add marshmallows and garnish with cinnamon sticks. Yum!

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Keep the winter blues at bay with a drink that warms you from within. A steaming cup of hot chocolate, freshly-brewed coffee, tea or mulled wine (a Scandinavian staple) before bed are guaranteed to lift your spirits.

Sip This: Mulled Wine

Make Time for Your Tribe

How To Set the Table

How To Set the Table

Coffee or tea cup

Good company is essential to a happy life. Set the smart phones down and reconnect with your close friends and family over an evening of warm food and intimate conversation.

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