I first published this post way back in January, in the middle of summer. I’m publishing it again, with some slight editing, for my Northern Hemisphere readers.
I’m 1/16th Danish. In the 1870s, great-great-grandpa Detlef came to Australia, married an English-born woman and more than 100 years later I came along. It’s hardly anything, really. Certainly not enough to say I have strong Danish heritage. But Danish history and culture intrigue me. One thing about Danish culture I’ve been hearing a lot about recently, that stirs up something deep within my ancestral blood, is hygge. It’s difficult to get an exact translation into English, but it’s something to do with being cosy and peaceful. About slowing down and connecting. About finding contentment within the simple things of life.
Hygge is used to bring warmth into the deep, cold winters. Think people gathering together in candle-lit rooms, cradling hot mugs of tea or coffee. Think soft, woollen textures and warming colours. It’s been suggested that the hygge concept helps the Scandinavian countries reach the top of the happiest nation lists despite the bitter winters. I love winter, and hygge makes me love it even more. But, what if I took the concept of hygge and applied it to summer? Summer – the hardest time for me to get through, when the weather outside is inhospitable and my best option is to hibernate and make the most of the indoors. Sounds a bit like a Scandinavian winter!
So, keeping in mind that my tiny bit of Danish heritage makes me in no way an expert, this summer I’ve tried to add a few hygge touches to my home:
Light, cool colours
My favourite colour for summer decoration is mint green or light aqua. Cool, refreshing and it reminds me of water. The list of mint green/aqua items I have at home is quite extensive – cushions, my bed spread, a little side table, notebooks, candles and even my Bible.
I remember coming home from work one day, just as the hot weather was starting to make its presence known. My husband had covered our lounges with white sheets and put a white tablecloth over our dining table. As it was nearly Christmas, he’d put blue and silver tinsel around the walls. It looked like a scene from Frozen! Colour schemes really do help. Keep the colours light and cool with as much white as you like.
I love drinking tea. Whether it’s by myself, with my husband or with friends, I love the ritual of boiling the kettle and then brewing and pouring the tea. But in the heat of summer, not so much!
My favourite summer alternative is fruit infused water. Apart from being deliciously cold, the water has the subtle, refreshing flavour of the fruit. The jug also looks very pretty, infused with fruit slices, spices and mint leaves. Taking the time to share a fruit infused water with my husband is one of my favourite parts of summer hygge.
I always feel more at peace when I’m surrounded by nature. When the weather outside is stifling and oppressive, why not bring a little bit of nature indoors? Maybe a few sprigs of leaves in a small vase or some cheerful flowers. It’s these little touches that help to create that hygge atmosphere. As much as you can, find the cool times of the day when you can enjoy the indoors. But even if it’s too hot to be actually outside, or even to have the window open, just looking out the window at the trees can be lovely for relaxation and connection.
I don’t know what summer’s like where you are. It might be mild sunshine or stifling heat. In my opinion, it’s much harder to achieve hygge in summer, but every little bit helps. Take these ideas as they are, or adapt them to reflect your favourite colours, flavours, plants – those things that bring peace to your soul and a smile to your face in the heat of summer.