Often we think of hygge as sitting on the couch with a blanket, soft pillows, a good book, and a mug of tea, but you can certainly create a hygge kitchen as well!
Some elements of a hygge kitchen and dining room include warm, soft lighting, spending quality time with family and friends, and eating good food.
Incorporating elements of hygge design into your kitchen decor like nostalgic items, light colors, elements of nature, and hand made decor can also go a long way in creating a cozy kitchen at any time of the year!
To make sure we’re on the same page about what hygge is, I’ve included a description of it with examples of what is hygge. If you’re already familiar with the concept feel free to jump ahead to the hygge kitchen ideas using the links below.
There is no specific hygge checklist of hygge things to do or buy, but I have included product ideas you can use as inspiration.
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I’ve included Etsy shopping links for those who prefer handmade items or want to support small businesses, and I’ve also included Amazon links because I know how convenient they are to many of you!
What is Hygge?
Hygge in Danish actually translates to “coziness” in English. It’s the idea of having a warm comfortable atmosphere and a feeling of nostalgia.
An example of hygge would be relaxing with friends or family over good food or drink into a comfy atmosphere through books or games – whatever makes you feel cozy. So if somebody’s saying something is hygge, they are describing a mood that is relaxing and positive!
Put it simply, hygge is the feeling you get when everything feels just right.
As a Canadian, I’m very familiar with the feeling of hygge although it’s not one of our traditions (but it sure can help with our long, dark winters!).
I associate hygge most closely with Christmases spent at home.
Outwardly people might associate Christmas with decorated trees, stockings hung on mantles, and lights strung on windows but even more than these tangible things there’s just this feeling of warmth, coziness, and nostalgia associated with that time of year. It’s that coziness and closeness that wraps around you tightly rather than some specific object.
Another good way to describe hygge might be the taste of hot chocolate with marshmallows while wrapped in an old knitted blanket watching your favorite movie.
There are many ways you could be hygge-like – reading by candlelight while nibbling a cookie, browsing through your grandmother’s photo album from over 60 years ago, realizing someone still spreads out their lunch napkin when they eat… the list goes on.
So now that we know what Hygge is, how do you hygge a kitchen? The following ideas will give you some inspiration, but remember that Hygge is very personalized. What feels cozy and nostalgic to you might be different from what someone else likes.
For instance, I lean towards hygge minimalism.
Hygge Kitchen Ideas
These hygge kitchen ideas are conceptual and don’t require you to have or buy anything in particular. They’re ways to get the FEELING!
Here are some ideas:
- baking cookies (bonus points if it’s a favorite family recipe!)
- create a routine out of making your favorite tea or coffee and take time to savor it while drinking out of your favorite mug
- yummy smelling food cooking in the slow cooker
- cooking or baking with family (try a Chopped cooking challenge)
- a candle-lit dinner
- listening to Christmas carols while baking
- sitting in your favorite spot at the table
- wear your Grandma’s vintage apron
- the tradition of hosting the annual thanksgiving dinner at your house
- use a recipe card or recipe book rather than digital recipes (bonus points if it’s well loved with splatters, revisions or written in a loved one’s handwriting)
A lot of these ideas revolve around cooking and eating food in an intentional and mindful way. It’s about taking time to appreciate these little moments rather than rushing through the tasks as we can sometimes tend to do in our busy Western society.
But hygge can be more than just our routines and habits. It can even be more than the special traditions we do at certain times of the year.
The rest of this article focuses on the ways you can physically design and decorate your kitchen and dining room area to make them a bit more hygge!
Hygge Kitchen Design
There are lots of ways to get a hygge kitchen without *things* as you can see by all the ideas above, but you can add to that feeling with some curated hygge items as well! If you’re looking for some hygge kitchen design ideas, here you go!
Hygge kitchen design shares a lot of elements with Scandi-minimalist kitchen design.
- bright, light color palette with a heavy emphasis on whites and neutral tones
- soft, warm, muted lighting
- natural elements such as natural wood tones
- electronics are hidden out of sight when not in use
- what appliances can’t be put away will ideally have a simple design in light colors (no stainless steel or black appliances!) without digital displays or a bunch of buttons and knobs. Smeg appliances are a perfect example of these.
Hygge Kitchen Decor
Some specific decor elements that help enhance the hygge feeling are:
- nostalgic items like Grandma’s recipes or kids artwork on display. I love the idea of getting family recipes printed on dish towels from Etsy so they’re both functional and on display.
- warm neutral colors
- elements of nature such as house plants or herbs, and wooden decor items displayed on an open shelf
- a runner or small area rug adds warmth under foot. These washable rugs are perfect for the kitchen
- something vintage or old, like antiques
- new decor with wabi sabi or shabby chic design like an imperfect handmade earthenware piece
Hygge Kitchen Lighting
Soft lighting is quintessentially hygge and is one of the easiest switches to make.
Start by switching out any light bulbs that give off a cool tone of light for ones that give off a warm tone.
Or you can get smart light bulbs like these that can be adjusted for coolness/warmth as well dimmed.
Lighting some candles does double duty by creating a welcoming atmosphere in your kitchen with the soft, glowy light, pleasing scent and the warmth cast by the flame.
Turn on some fairy lights for some extra inviting sparkle and glow. Avoid the lights getting in the way of cooking by putting them inside a glass front cabinet, in a clear vase, on an open shelf or windowsill, or above the kitchen cabinets.
Decorating the top of kitchen cabinets is one of my favorite places to decorate the kitchen for Christmas!
As the sun goes down, lower the overhead lights and rely on the other sources of light like under cabinet lights to create a cozy glow.
Hygge Kitchen Accessories
Add an element of hygge with your kitchen accessories by choosing things with special meaning, like your favorite mug, or a pretty mixing bowl you got as a gift from a friend.
Kitchen accessories that have other hygge elements like vintage/shabby chic/wabi sabi with a bit of patina and character help. Some ideas of these would be great grandma’s baking dishes or even just a set of vintage dishes that may have a chip or two.
Accessories that incorporate natural materials like wood, fabric, or natural stoneware can be very important in adding a warm and cozy feeling to your kitchen as well!
Hygge Dining Room
The dining room is an important part of the kitchen and really helps set the hygge mood. That’s because so much of hygge is about connection and where better to connect than over the dinner table!
Invite a small group of friends and family over or enjoy some serene time to yourself with a cookie and a mug of coffee.
Use all the hygge kitchen design tips listed above to create an inviting and cozy hygge dining room, plus incorporate any of the following ideas that you’re able to:
- Create a cozy eating nook. This works really well with a table with a corner bench. In Danish, this cozy nook would be referred to as a hyggekrog.
- Add an area rug under the dining room table to add warmth and style under foot. I would go for an easy care rug like these stylish & washable ones from Ruggable
- Add fabrics to soften up the seating area. Consider using upholstered seating, add cushions on seats, or drape a sheep skin over the back of a chair.
- An open concept or eat-in kitchen is ideal for hygge because it allows you to visit with family and guests while cooking
- Add soft lighting such as candles on the table and a dimmer switch for the overhead lights.
Now that you know the answer to “what is hygge” and you’ve seen all these ideas for how to create a hygge kitchen, including hygge kitchen design ideas, hygge kitchen decor, lighting, and accessories, and even hygge dining room ideas, I hope you have at least a few new ideas that you can start implementing right away to make your kitchen cozier!
Minimalist Hygge: Coziness Meets Minimalism
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