Hygge and Minimalism: Can They Coexist?

Since clutter is traditionally known as the antithesis of cozy, it may seem that as a minimalist, the art of hygge (pronounced “hoo-geh”) wouldn’t be possible to exist in the same circle, perhaps their paths wouldn’t even cross. We beg to differ. 

Too often, minimalism decor is perceived as sterile, neutral colors only, having nothing to enjoy. On the contrary, minimalism is living an intentional life, having an existence that includes people and items that are meaningful, that do bring hmappiness, or a feeling of being pleased. One would assume that to be in your home, your sanctuary, that same existence would align with similar feelings of being warm and cozy, or content: hygge.  

Let’s get a bit deeper into hygge. Similar to minimalism, hygge seems to be sort of a buzzword of the moment. It is stitched onto pillows, coffee mugs, and it gets some notoriety as the “it” practice for the time being, but the practice of hygge first appeared in Danish writings in the 1800s. In fact, it can also be found in an issue of The New Yorker from 1957 in the article, Letter from Copenhagen, describing Denmark’s “worship of coziness,” aka hygge. Since the Danish created this concept, it’s no wonder they are one of the happiest countries in the world! 

Our living area, small and simple, is only lit by candles in the evening. Betty White seems to enjoy it as much as we do.

Rather than assuming that one cannot cultivate a hygge lifestyle as a minimalist, understand that the hygge lifestyle can be the result of a minimalist lifestyle. By living intentionally, your home can be the sanctuary of your choice, one that fosters contentment, and coziness. Slowing your life down to enjoy it, couples the hygge lifestyle with minimalism. While hygge evokes all the warm and cozy feels, it does not intend the person experiencing them to have a bunch of stuff sitting around, like your granny’s sitting room full of porcelain kittens and doilies. Actually the Danish style of decor, and most homes prefer a sleak, clean feel, rather than jumbled full of stuff. The thought is that a simple, clutter-free interior allows us to be able to enjoy conversation, and visits with our family and friends, whereas an environment full of things, prevents our minds from being fully engaged, in tune to one another. 

We feel that our home summons a fondness for relaxation, feelings of ease, and calmness. We also want to generate a hygge essence- a sense of living well, enjoying the warmth that our home offers, through the simple aesthetic of what is important, while allowing the conversation, the people, or just the mindfulness to be the intentional focus. 

Subtle items such as our Buddha statue and our salt lamp produce a meditative ambiance.

Here are some ways that minimalism and hygge coexist for us:

  • Candles – we find that we rarely depend on actual light. Once the sun sets, the candles are lit (soy because they are much healthier). In Danish, candles are instant hygge, aka living light. If it is too dark, just add more. You’ll find, after a stressful day, your mood automatically gets better, and your blood pressure immediately gets lower. 
  • Reducing technology- we have talked about this many times before, in regards to our minimalist lifestyle, but in the art of hygge, technology isn’t seen as essential. All else ranks highest. Turn off your phone, set the intention of having meaningful conversations, or being aware of your own thoughts. We have started a habit of putting our phone to bed at night. Yes, we actually have a ritual of putting our phone in another room, on the charger, away from our bedroom, so that we have a technology-free environment. It’s very hygge! 
  • Create an environment where comfort and wellbeing is the top priority. While we do not have many items we do not need, we do have items in our home that create comfort, such as a loveseat and big cushy chair that we (and Betty White) adore. There are some decor items, like a salt lamp and a Buddha statue that creates an ambiance that is calming and meditative. 
  • Have a textured blanket to cozy up to on warm evenings. It is nice to have layers on, especially on colder days. Rather than turning the heat to a higher temperature, try wrapping up, either with a blanket, or a fluffy sweater. The layers are comforting, and often feel so pleasant, and like a warm hug. 
  • Be present and thankful. The hygge lifestyle isn’t just about decor, contrary to what the latest decorating magazine would lead you to think. As we have discussed, it is a way of life. The essence of hygge, similar to that of the backbone of minimalism is not a new trend for stylized Instagram posts, it is a way of life. 

If you are a minimalist, or even if you aren’t, implementing hygge into your life will undoubtedly create many wellness benefits. Since the winter doldrums have been known to increase depression and decrease feelings of self-worth, incorporating hygge during this time can help bring you more comfort, peace, and a connection to yourself.  Of course, it is no surprise to us, since minimalism has also allowed us to be more focused on what is important, while opening up space for nurturing our own souls, the relationship we have with each other, and having the time to be here now. We have no problem seeing that hygge and minimalism do indeed, coexist, and they do so in harmony. 

*Note: the candle from the feature photo at the top of this blog is from Carlee Farm. It is 100% soy wax, hand poured into a hand crafted dough bowl. This was a gift, and we love that it will have another use once the candle is completely finished.

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