Warm & Cozy: Creating Hygge-Inspired Interiors for Winter Comfort

As the winter chill sets in, our homes become our sanctuaries, a place where we seek warmth, comfort, and peace. In Denmark, this pursuit of everyday happiness and coziness in the home is encapsulated in a single word: Hygge (pronounced ‘hoo-ga’). The Danish design philosophy is all about coziness and contentment, and it’s famous worldwide for creating stylish spaces that feel warm and cozy.

I literally just got home from a trip to Old Quebec City, Quebec. If you’re looking for a cozy, charming travel destination full of Hygge, I highly recommend it!  And the Quebeckers genuinely seem content  as they happily navigate their snowy world in mid-December.

We stayed at the gorgeous Auberge St. Antoine.  Here is a photo I took of their warm and cozy lobby.

I would say that they have figured out Hygge. Other aspects of this hotel that made our stay especially comfortable:

 – a swivel rocker in the room – so comfy and cozy for curling up and reading my book (I’m reading The Covenant of Water right now)

 – heated bathroom floors and a heated toilet seat!

 – a snuggly robe and slippers

 – incredibly luxurious bedding and pillows

Understanding Hygge

Hygge is all about creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. It’s the warmth of morning light streaming through your window, the joy of a hot cup of cocoa by the fire, or the tranquility of curling up with a good book in a comfortable nook. In interior design, Hygge translates to creating a space that is not only visually appealing but also emotionally comforting.

How to achieve Hygge?

As an interior designer, I would suggest the most important first step is to plan your space properly.  If the furniture is all lined up against the walls, or your furniture isn’t “talking to each other,” then you may end up in a cold or uninviting room.  Having properly scaled pieces that relate to each other, and colors that are inviting to the eye and coordinated would be my initial step to achieving Hygge in your own home.

Soft Textures for Comfort and Warmth

One of the easiest (and one of my favorites) ways to bring Hygge into your home is through layering of soft textures. Soft blankets, cozy carpets, and comfy pillows make a room feel warm and inviting. Using natural materials like wool, cotton, or fleece in textiles makes any space warmer and more inviting. Don’t shy away from layering different textures; a chunky knit throw over a smooth leather sofa can create an interesting and cozy contrast.

The Glow of Warm Lighting

Oh how important lighting is to create a cozy vibe!  Those newly built homes that eschew traditional lighting for all recessed lights will never create a sense of cozy warmth. Lighting is a crucial element in creating a Hygge-inspired interior. In countries with long, dark winters, like Denmark, creating a feeling of warmth through light is especially important. Opt for soft, warm lighting over harsh, bright lights. Mixing floor lamps, table lamps, and candles can create a soft glow that enhances the coziness of a room. Lighting should be coming from various sources and at varying heights. Lanterns and string lights can also add a whimsical touch to your Hygge home.

Comfortable Furnishings: A Key to Coziness

Furniture in a Hygge-inspired home should focus on comfort. Choose sofas and chairs that invite you to sit down and relax. Pieces that are plush and deep, with plenty of cushions, can create an inviting space that encourages relaxation and togetherness. Pair these with a cozy footstool or ottoman for ultimate comfort.

There’s been a big push in fabrics and furnishings toward comfort and coziness recently.  Have you paid attention to all the boucle chairs and sofas?  Here’s an article about the hot trend. 

A Palette of Calming Colors

Color plays a significant role in setting the mood of a space. Hygge-inspired interiors often feature a calm and muted color palette, with shades of cream, beige, soft grays, and pastels. These colors can create a serene backdrop that’s comforting to the senses. Pops of color can be added through accessories like pillows, vases, or artwork.

Creating a Sense of Togetherness

Hygge is as much about togetherness as it is about comfort. Create spaces in your home that encourage gathering and conversation. A cozy nook with a couple of armchairs, a warm rug, and a small table can be the perfect spot for a heart-to-heart with a loved one. In the dining room, a long, inviting table can be a focal point for family gatherings and shared meals.  This ties back to my first step – space planning!

The Importance of Natural Elements

Incorporating natural elements into your home decor is another way to achieve a Hygge atmosphere. Wooden furniture, stone accents, and plants can bring a sense of the outdoors inside, adding to the feeling of comfort and grounding. Natural materials have a timeless quality and can bring an element of the organic world into your living space.

The Art of Decluttering

Hygge is also about simplicity and mindfulness. A cluttered space can feel chaotic and stressful. Embrace a minimalist approach and keep only those items that bring you joy or have a functional purpose. Thoughtful storage solutions can help maintain a sense of order and tranquility in your home. I am about to pull the trigger on a new piece of furniture for my entry hall – a chest of drawers that is so handsome!  But it will also serve to help us keep the clutter out of the way – I really enjoy a slightly minimal look to my spaces.

Engaging the Senses

Hygge is not just a visual experience; it’s about engaging all the senses. The soft touch of a wool blanket, the soothing sound of crackling firewood, the scent of baking in the oven – all these elements contribute to a Hygge atmosphere. I love adding scented candles and soft music to engage our senses and enhance the coziness of our home. I literally go around and fluff and karate chop our pillows daily!

Personal Touches Make a Home

Lastly, infuse your space with items that have personal significance. Family photos, heirlooms, or a collection of books can make a space feel uniquely yours and add to the feeling of comfort and warmth. Hygge is about creating a space where you feel completely at ease, surrounded by things that have meaning and bring happiness.

As you embrace the Hygge philosophy in your interior design, remember that it’s not just about the physical elements of your space. It’s about creating an atmosphere of warmth, community, and contentment. By incorporating soft textures, warm lighting, comfortable furnishings, and personal touches, you can transform your home into a haven of coziness and comfort this winter season. When I embrace hygge, I find that the dark, cold days of winter can be some of the most heartwarming and enjoyable of the year.


Holley Pokora Interior Designer, Lafayette Hill, PA

Hi, I’m Holley Pokora, and since 2001, I’ve worked with builders, realtors, and homeowners creating beautiful, swoon-worthy spaces that are right for you. Are you ready for a designer home of your dreams? Book a consultation!

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