Minimalism and hygge are two popular philosophies these days. Both require intentionality and mindfulness. Both have Scandinavian design pendants. And both ultimately rest on the desire to live a meaningful life. On this basis, here’s an overview of the similarities between the Danish art of hygge and modern minimalism.
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After visiting Denmark a couple of years ago, I became fascinated by the Danish way of incorporating coziness and conviviality into various aspects of life.
Although the word “hygge” has no English equivalent, it could be defined as a simple, cozy way of life. And this concept of hygge is everywhere.
On Google.dk, you can find “hyggelig” cafés in your area. Design stores sell hygge-inspired furniture. And people proudly brandish their hygge lifestyle.
So, what does a hygge lifestyle entail, and how does it coincide with modern minimalism?
How minimalism and hygge go together
First, we have to dive deeper into the origins of hygge and what it represents today.
Secondly, the similarities between hygge and minimalism concern the aversion to clutter.
Another major parallel is the importance of intentionality.
And finally, hygge can be a result of minimalism. In that scenario, combining the two will lead to more satisfaction, more purpose, and less stress.
What is hygge?
The word has its origins in medieval Norse and other Nordic tongues. Its use in the Danish language started in the late 18th century and it has since become a cultural phenomenon, portraying a self-understanding of the Danish lifestyle.
Even though many people translate the word into “coziness” or “homeyness”, Danes perceive hygge as a much larger concept – a convivial atmosphere that transcends the comfort of your home.
Along those lines, the word “hyggelig” represents a neat, tidy house without clutter, but it also englobes a comfortable, warm atmosphere.
A hyggelig home is a place where you want to spend convivial moments. It doesn’t have to be a large estate, the comfort factor is more important. That’s where minimalism and hygge overlap.
Clutter: an enemy to coziness
If you’re into furniture design, you’ll know that Danish brands value clean, functional lines over glitter and pomp.
Every object has a purpose and decorative clutter is not part of the equation.
In this context, a clean, tidy home is a prerequisite to a hygge experience with friends and family.
Just look at those Scandinavian cabins. Their comfort levels are to die for. And they generally score points with a decluttered, simple interior.
Why? Because clutter becomes an enemy to coziness by taking our thoughts away from the essence of living.
Clutter prevents us from enjoying simple yet meaningful moments with our friends. The art of hygge showcases its minimalist traits in this regard.
Hygge and minimalism both require intentionality
Both philosophies rest on a similar foundation: intentionality.
By prioritizing homeyness and conviviality, we deliberately choose to organize our life in a certain way.
In this context, hygge encourages us to savor simple, joyful moments. We develop an intentional connection to convivial everyday moments.
In simple terms, the Danish art of hygge allows us to focus our energy on simple, mundane pleasures.
In that same vein, minimalism only works in conjunction with intentionality.
Intentional consumption becomes our main mantra and we consciously prioritize. We concentrate our efforts on the things, moments, and relationships that matter most to us.
Here’s an example of intentionality in both philosophies: instead of filling your living room with the latest gadgets and scene-stealing TVs, spend your money on high-quality, supremely comfortable couches.
Hygge enthusiasts will highlight the intention of designing a convivial, homey atmosphere instead of a tech-driven lab.
Hygge can be the result of minimalism
Minimalism can become a catalyst to create a hygge atmosphere.
By removing the clutter from your home, hygge becomes a byproduct of a minimalist lifestyle.
Your living spaces serve a homey purpose. They aren’t a mere exposition of the stuff you own. And this meaningful setup creates an ideal environment for the Danish art of hygge to blossom.
The same applies to our lifestyles. We buy, consume, and act purposefully – according to values and principles, not cues.
The result can be an accentuation of coziness, friendliness, and simplicity – a picture-perfect illustration of what hygge stands for.
How to combine hygge and minimalism in your life
After analyzing the similarities between hygge and minimalism, it’s time to adopt a more practical approach.
Here are a few simple tips to combine minimalism and hygge in your life:
- Fill your home with things you both love and use. Try to find a balance between joy and functionality.
- Create a convivial environment that focuses on people’s wellbeing and comfort, not an over-reliance on technology.
- Decorate if you love decoration. Don’t brim your home with decorative elements just for the sake of it.
- Use candles and dimmers to create a relaxing ambiance.
- Add more hygge to your everyday life. Value your coffee break at work. Slow down your life with minimalist habits. Spend time with the people who truly matter to you. And don’t try to have too many irons in the fire.
- Learn how to prioritize in different areas of life. Utilize your time and resources wisely. Invest them in endeavors you truly value.
- And finally, always use things and love people, not the other way around.
Books about hygge
- The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking on Amazon
- Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures by Charlotte Abrahams on Amazon
Coffee table books to embrace the hygge lifestyle
- ScandiKitchen: The Essence of Hygge by Brontë Aurell on Amazon
- The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Erdberg on Amazon
Useful links on Minimalism and Hygge – How Coziness and Essentialism Go Together
- more in the section “Culture”
- read 6 Mindful Ways to Slow Your Life Down
- read Intentional Consumption Explained – 8 Minimalist Consumer Habits
Don’t miss a beat!
Jack Krier is a writer, photographer, and full-time globetrotter. Thanks to minimalism, he built his ideal lifestyle around travel and online entrepreneurship, becoming a digital nomad in the process. On Minimalist Focus, he shares his ideas on minimalism and lifestyle design, helping thousands of readers improve their lives by focusing on the essentials.