At times, living a minimalist lifestyle can come across as aloof and cold. People envision dull white walls with a single wooden chair and a standing light in the corner. While this may be what minimalism looks like for some individuals, it’s not the only way it can look. There’s a stark difference between minimalism as a lifestyle, and minimalism as a design aesthetic.
Another concept you may have heard of lately is Hygge, the idea of creating cozy spaces in your daily living. Many think these two are mutually exclusive. But that’s simply not the truth. Today, I want to dive into the concepts of Hygge vs. minimalism and talk about how they can coexist and complement each other in both your lifestyle and design.
What is Hygge?
Hygge (pronounced hoo-guhh) is a Danish word without direct English translation, but the general sentiment of the word is “the atmosphere of comfort, contentment, and safe.” It’s a psychological state of mind that can be brought upon by certain possessions or objects. Think of your cozy blanket the Grandma knit you as a child or sitting with your friends by the fireplace in your favorite coffee shop. In the award-winning book, “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” written by Meik Wiking, there is a list that outlines The Hygge Manifesto:
- Atmosphere: Turn down the lights
- Presence: Be here now. Turn off the phones.
- Pleasure: Coffee, chocolate, cookies, cakes, candy. Gimme! Gimmie! Gimmie!
- Equality: “We” over “me.” Share the tasks and the airtime.
- Gratitude: Take it in. This might be as good as it gets.
- Harmony: It’s not a competition. We already like you. There is no need to brag about your achievements.
- Comfort: Get comfy. Take a break. It’s all about relaxation.
- Truce: No drama. Let’s discuss politics another day.
- Togetherness: Build relationships and narratives. “Do you remember the time we…?”
- Shelter: This is your tribe. This is a place of peace and security.
What is minimalism?
To be a minimalist, you must embrace the concept that “less is more.” It is to live with the essentials in life and establish intentionality promotion of the things that we value most in life and remove those that distract us from those values. For many, minimalism brings upon a sense of freedom from the all-consuming idea that humans must possess everything they desire.
The intersection of Hygge and minimalism
While creating coziness is a significant aspect of Hygge, it is certainly not everything. It may seem that it centered around buying things that will make you feel like a warm hug of the universe is embracing you – Hygge is not about “things” at all. Instead, it is about the idea of slowing down, being present, and valuing all aspects of your life. Take ordinary moments and celebrate them, making every day special.
When thinking about Hygge from this lens, it is easy to see how the two can fit together. Minimalism is about deciding what is most important to you, removing anything that distracts you from that. It gives you the tools to eliminate clutter and business from your life, allowing you to simplify and slow down so you can focus on appreciating things around you, and people you love.
Being able to live more mindfully, you are creating more space and time in your life to be present. Hygge takes this ability, and steps even further, encouraging you to savor and find contentment in every moment. You can slow down to find connection and happiness in every moment, leading to gratitude and satisfaction.
We must cultivate a stable relationship with both of these concepts, and allow ourselves to let go of what does not benefit our overall wellbeing. Collect things that add value to your happiness and productivity, but also contribute to your sense of comfort. You don’t need a lot of things to feel happy, but a few sentimental items can go a long way.