Whether you call it cozy, hygge, or gemütlich, there are some simple things you can do in your home that make it warm and comfortable.
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You may have heard it: hygge. Even though that Danish concept has been very popular lately, it has been around for a long time in Northern European countries.
Germans call it gemütlich (adjective) or Gemütlichkeit (noun). The English language doesn’t have a direct translation but but Wiktionary offers comfortable, cosy, cozy, pleasant, friendly, genial, cheerful, and easy-going.
Especially in the winter season when the days are shorter and colder, creating hygge or Gemütlichkeit is particularly nice.
Growing up in Germany, with dark and cold winters we knew how to infuse our lives with warmth, comfort, coziness … well Gemütlichkeit.
Here are some simple things you can do:
Have a fire
Nothing says coming home more than a fire in the fire place. Whether it’s an open one, a wood-burning stove, or a gas fire place. People used to gather around fire to stay warm, cook, and eat. The warmth, the color of the fire, and the sound of wood burning is the ultimate cozy.
Don’t have any one of those? Don’t worry, you can always
Light some candles
Candles are amazing! Their light is always flattering and creates instant hygge in your home. Overhead ceiling lights tend to be more utilitarian whereas candles light a room in a warm glow. You could have a candle arrangement right in the middle of the room, lets say your coffee table. You can also place candles in window sills, on side tables, or anywhere on the perimeter of the room. Of course, you can place candles anywhere you want.
Add some wool blankets
Even if you do have a fire crackling away in the fire place, it is super cozy to cuddle up in a warm wool blanket. Of course, any blanket works. I prefer wool for its natural feel and warmth.
You might even have another person to cuddle up with underneath that wool blanket!
Wear slippers and/or wool socks
There are a lot of good reasons to not wear shoes in the house. Instead we wear felted wool slippers. When it’s particularly cold (which it can be in this 1910 home that we live in) we like to wear wool socks as well. I got mine in Austria but unfortunately they are a bit pricey in this country. For me, this means being home and getting all cozy!
Cook or bake something
Home cooked food is the best! Even if you can’t find the time during the week, you could get creative in your kitchen on the weekend. When you cook from scratch at home or bake something in your oven, those smells will permeate your house. In the summer, we often find it too warm to be baking or roasting. In the winter on the other hand, we welcome that extra warmth. Just imagine some roast in the oven or the scent of cookies wafting through your house!
Have friends over instead of entertaining
Don’t get me wrong: we love to entertain. However, often that means that there is a lot of cleaning and prepping happening before guests arrive. This flurry of activity is not homey in my book! What is, though, when you have friends over that don’t mind that your house is not completely instagram-worthy. Maybe they come over to cook together, enjoy a meal together, and just hang out. Which leads me to the next point:
Play a board game
Or a card game. Or any game. We often tend to be on some sort of screen but sitting down with family or friends and playing a game is very social and homey. Just imagine the sense of community and laughter! If you don’t have anyone to play some game with you can always
Read a good book
Reading a book and getting engrossed in some well-written story is very cozy and “gemütlich”. Just imagine sitting on your couch, wrapped up in your wool blanket, and having some candles lit! To this you can even add
Enjoy a cup of tea
Of course, you could have a cup of coffee as well. There is nothing wrong with coffee but teas are more calming. There are so many good teas and tea blends out there. If it’s really cold outside you might even have a cup of hot elderberry juice. Elderberry juice has a warming effect and is great for your immune system! And chocolate lovers will enjoy a cup of hot cocoa.
Have some flowers
I love bringing some outside to the inside. Whether that is some beautiful cut flowers in a vase, some potted flowers, or some evergreens. Just a small arrangement with some pine twigs and seasonal decor can add so much Gemütlichkeit to your home.
Maybe you are already an avid knitter or love to crochet. If you aren’t, you could easily find tutorials to get you started. Other people love to quilt and get together with their quilting groups (have you read the Cobble Court Quilts Books?). Felting is a lot of fun and so is any needle-craft. And even if you’re just darning your wool socks. The repetitive motion is very calming and meditative.
Doing a puzzle
When was the last time you did a puzzle? Puzzles are great because you can do them by yourself or with your family or friends. You can try to finish it in one sitting or have a dedicated space set up and come back to it whenever you like.
Playing some music
When I was a kid I played the silver flute. On Christmas eve, my family would play music together. I still remember how much fun that was! Unfortunately, live and kids happened and I haven’t picked up the flute in a long time. In the meantime, we like to listen to music. One of our family tradition is Sunday brunch with the family, where we always light some candles and have some classical music playing in the background.
We love sleeping in! Now this can take many forms. When you have small children, you can invite them into your bed and cuddle with them until they get so antsy that everyone will get up. These days that the kids are grown, I love that my husband brings me coffee in bed on Sundays. I actually look forward to that all week. The point is that you take your time, linger and not rush.
Diffuse some essential oils
There was a time when I would make apple crumble for my children every Friday morning. I prepared individual dishes the night before and set the oven on a timer. The next morning, we would have the scent of apple and cinnamon wafting through our house. You don’t need to be baking something. Instead you can diffuse essential oils. There are diffusers that plug in or warm water over a tea light. You could have scented candles or simply add a few drops of essential oil on top of your candle before you light it.
Get cuddly with your pet
If you own a pet you probably already do that. Cats are professional snoozers and many will cuddle right up next to you. Many people love snuggling up with their dog on the couch. Even if your dog is by your feet, the closeness of another being is just so comforting and calming.
You see, there are so many different ways you can be cozy, gemütlich, or hygge! Try it out!