What the Heck Is “Hygge”? Get the Low-Down on the Buzzy Design Trend

If you’ve been seeing the word “hygge” crop up on just about every lifestyle blog this season, you’re not alone. Pronounced hue-gah, the Danish expression has no direct English translation, but roughly connotes a sense of coziness and warmth—and everyone is after it (we mean everyone). To get to the bottom of the buzzy design trend, we reached out to Mette Hay, co-founder of renowned Danish design house Hay, who gave us the DL on mastering the art of of it.

While the expression has been around for centuries, Hay agrees that hygge is certainly having a comeback. She says, “The Hay collection is more hyggeligt (that’s the adjective for “hygge”) today than it was five years ago, so we feel that it’s more in focus now than ever before. We are busy with travel and work and haven’t had as much time with our families or ourselves, so we need to make an extra effort to be together and to be present in those moments. Hygge certainly helps with that.”

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Hay adds, “When I think of hygge, I often think of food, wine, or hot drinks. But even though it might be great fun, hygge is not a word to describe a wild party. It’s more about quiet evenings or mornings with the people you love and care for. It’s also about creating the right atmosphere,” she explains. Hay conjures hygge in her workspace and home by “lighting a candle, turning down the lights, or making a cup of tea—preferably in front of a fire. Below, a list of hyggeligt must-haves.


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