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How to Create a Cozy, Hygge Home

On New Year’s Day, I like to take down all the Christmas decorations and start fresh. Yet with long winter nights and no sparkling lights or ornaments, the house can seem cold and bare. That’s when I go to work, adding those special touches to every room to create a warm, relaxed and welcoming feel to my home. The Danish call it “hygge,” defined as “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.” Here’s a few ideas to create that hygge vibe in your own home.

Add lights and sparkle

Don’t put all those holiday lights away. A string of battery-operated, mini, white lights in a glass jar or vase adds a warm glow to a room. Or place an odd-numbered group of candles on your coffee table or mantel. For better indoor air quality and safety, I use mostly battery-operated candles.

Pink roses and moss-green sofa.

Pile pillows and throws on your sofa

Pillows are a great way to change up colors and add texture to a room. Try adding a couple of faux fur pillows and a warm throw. Pink pillows paired with flowers and other natural elements provide hints of spring on the horizon.

Make a fire

There is nothing more delightful than snuggling into your comfy sofa by the fire on a cold, winter’s evening. If you don’t have a fireplace, wood burner or pellet stove, play one of the many YouTube videos of a roaring fire on your TV. Or if you have a mantle without a working fireplace, group nine or more candle under the hearth to create the illusion of dancing fames.

Enjoy a mug of your favorite hot beverage

While gazing at the glow of the fire, it’s the perfect time to enjoy a cup of chai tea, a hot chocolate or whatever your favorite beverage might be. Just because the holidays are over doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a pumpkin latte or a mug of hot mulled wine. In Scandinavia, mulled wine it’s called gløgg. In France, it’s vin chaud and it’s enjoyed all winter long. Here’s a recipe for vin chaud.

Layer blankets and throws on your bed

It’s time to get warm and snug in bed as you cuddle up with a good book. Pile on soft layers such as a luxurious down duvet followed by a fleecy throw or a Pendleton wool blanket. Try adding a shaggy, faux fur blanket for additional texture and softness.

Connect with others

Another aspect of hygge is conviviality, the art of connecting with friends and family in a relaxed, intimate way. This year, as I settle into my sparsely-decorated house in France, with a few new things and pieces gifted from the previous owners, I’ve enjoyed incorporating hygge touches to create a home that new and old friends will find cozy, comforting and welcoming.



Hi, I’m Lori Cronwell. As a writer and frequent traveler, I admire the values most Europeans embrace: choosing quality over quantity; residing in smaller, more sustainable homes; working less and spending more time with friends and family.

Those values were key in my decision to drastically downsize to a 700 sq. ft. accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with the goal of creating a simpler, more sumptuous life with time for travel.

Slow travel, that is. Spending more time in one place — even if it’s just a week. You'll not only spend less, you'll discover a deeper and more meaningful travel experience.

Please subscribe below and join me on a journey to find affordable ways to explore Europe in the slow lane and to live a more European lifestyle every day of our lives.

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