The Art of Living Cosily

Clare Ince considers the Danish concept of hygge as winter approaches

Photography: Sarah Redman
Photography: Sarah Redman

Welcome to month number 10 of 2016.

It seems impossible that another year is coming to a close, ready for new beginnings. October is a month in turmoil for me. A month when the nights start to draw in, the days and nights become colder and the feeling of hygge becomes an almost necessity.

Hygge is the Danish art of living cosily. There is no direct translation for the word (pronounced “hoo-gah”) but the concept is a beautiful one. Hygge is the ritual of enjoying the simple pleasures in life. A cup of coffee, warm socks, a lit fire. Cosiness.

I therefore think that October is the perfect month to incorporate some cosy Danish rituals into Falmouth life.


A whole month has passed since a lot of us said goodbye to our families and friends from home and made the long journey down to Falmouth. When the prickles of tears strike after a particularly trying day, put on your fluffy dressing gowns and fluffy socks and pick up the phone for a homely chat. A hot chocolate wouldn’t go a miss either.


Stuck with no money and a bored flat? Hygge your flat. Pile your mattresses into the school-like corridor and have a flat-family movie night.


Made some poor choices? Or just got caught up in a hurricane of drama? First, create some ambience in your student bedroom, wrap up in a blanket and jumper and put your cosiest, warmest lights on. Now, take a flat mate. Put the kettle on/warm the mulled wine. Sip and chat and laugh and cheer up.

I promise I’m not talking rubbish. The enduring, chilly winters of Denmark have provoked the hygge movement, though it’s not just a wintery concept. It is brought around by the need to spend more time indoors due to the icy outdoors. Having moved to drizzly autumn Falmouth, from Essex (one of the driest counties in the UK), I feel the need for hygge.

Hygge is not just about tucking up and getting warm, it’s an entire lifestyle attitude which, as Denmark is supposed to be one of the world’s happiest countries (on par with Switzerland), is a choice which appears to me to be a viable route to happiness.

Perhaps we all just need a little hygge.