Adopting Hygge to Enjoy Long Winter Nights in your Custom Home Built Home

The first week of the New Year is initially a welcome time of year for many families after a long stretch of holiday celebrations and commitments. It is a time to refresh, refocus and perhaps even relax before new demands and commitments set in. Even keeping decorations around for the launch of the long winter season can lend a cheery start to enjoying the warmth of your custom home and encourage unplanned and unplugged leisurely family evenings.

Veterans of Wisconsin winters know that this season can be a challenge, with uncertain and extreme climate variables and limited daylight hours. Inviting the Danish art of “Hygge” into the home is a great way to prepare for the winter ahead. Denmark is regularly considered the happiest country in the world, valuing simple things, low-cost activities and cozy ambiance that lack materialism. Even the most luxurious custom built home can adopt some of their simple strategies to complement the family’s lifestyle, creating spaces that will become havens and welcome retreats during Wisconsin winters.

In the process of transforming custom spaces into cozy retreats, certain props and accessories can easily achieve maximum comfort with minimum effort during these cold months. Hygge is a Danish word that has no direct translation, adopted throughout Scandinavian countries as style of creating comfort in the colder northern climates. The Danish are masters of the art of hygge, which relates more to a feeling when one creates a warm, ambient space; it’s about atmosphere rather than things. Imagine having friends over for a hearty stew to eat in front of a fireplace with good conversation, or sipping hot chocolate by candlelight with a cozy blanket.

When it comes to Scandinavian design, there are no set rules, yet they tend to keep their homes simple and pared down. Coziness is created with layers of textures, soft pillows and throws, sheepskin and chunky knits over dark woods and leather. Each layer or item added to the space should have a practical purpose and not overwhelm the space, and keeping it neutral with earthy tones associated with nature helps with the balance and harmony. Even more importantly, the textures should have a lived-in feeling to welcome casual relaxation.

As Scandinavian countries tend to have limited natural light particularly in winter months, as in Wisconsin, ambient lighting must be created. Danes take hygge lighting very seriously, used to make spaces feel relaxed and warm. Candlelight and dim lamps along with a lit hearth are all essential ingredients. Strategically placed tea lights throughout the room are a simple way to create even more ambiance with their subtle glow. A candle glowing in the window evokes comfort both outside and within the home.

With minimal effort, the gathering spaces in your home can invite imagined excuses to retreat and enjoy both in solitude and with company, embracing our cold season. Check out our Pinterest board on Hygge for some ideas.