For the past few years the Danish art of Hygge has become trendy throughout the world, in fact Hygge peaked in worldwide internet searches in both the winters of 2016 and 2017, and will likely peak again this Christmas. But what about Hygge in summer?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, Hygge is defined as “To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday”. But why do most of us associate this to an exclusively winter concept?
Well-being, warmth and celebrating the everyday can and should apply all year round, so here are some ways to Hygge in the heatwave.
Opt for lighter bedding
Whether you’re clued up on Hygge or not, if I were to ask you where you felt the cosiest, and arguably the happiness, it would probably be in your bed (who doesn't like a lie in?).
To Hygge in winter, the most popular suggestion is to get the blankets out, but in summer Hygge is all about putting the blankets away.
Being comfortable is the most important thing and while Hygge traditionally focuses on ‘warmth’, summer tis the season to focus on being cool. Therefore, I would suggest taking a step back from the bed and evaluating the type of bedding you’re sleeping on and in.
A lighter tog of duvet, a lighter colour and breathable fabric of bed sheet is going to keep you cool during the long hot nights. Linen for example is natural, breathable and allows cool air to pass through it moving more freely around your body. According to the Secret Linen Store, it can also absorb up to a fifth of its weight in water before feeling damp (although i'm not really sure I wanted to know that)!
Of course the suggestion of lighter bedding is pretty obvious but preparation is key so for me, planning summer and winter bedding options is just as important as planning a seasonal wardrobe – and I recommend you give it a go.
Invite more plants into your home
Focusing again on well-being, plants have a huge subconscious effect on how we feel as well as a physical effect on the indoor air quality by trapping pollutants. Plants are natural air filters and often help us get a better night sleep.
In fact according to the Royal Horticultural Society, the psychological benefits of indoor plants include an improved mood and reduced stress levels, physical health benefits include reduced blood pressure and reduced fatigue.
House plants are important to homes all year round, but in summer a trip to the garden centre and the availability of farmers markets are more prevalent. Therefore spring and summer are the ideal times to buy, plus the plants will often thrive in the warmer weather.
Plants and looking after plants also add a social element to your home, providing a talking point for visitors and providing a task for children to get involved with. They also help to make a room look nicer and often feature heavily in interior design by adding life and texture to your surroundings.
Some of the best plants to help achieve this include Heartleaf Philodendron (I have one in my kitchen), Creeping Fig, String of Pearls (very popular on instagram) and Inch Plant (famed for its dark purple hues) which are all vines and climbers. Other popular plants which are also relatively easy to look after include succulants, cheese plants and 'Mother in Laws Tongue' - which are great plants if your looking to create an urban garden.
Mix up your food choices
I came across a great Hygge inspired recipe and lifestyle book recently called Nordic Light. The book outlines a section of healthy Scandinavian meals which, after a recent trip to Denmark and Norway, I’m desperate to recreate. Of course, regardless of the season or your food preferences, Hygge is about being happy so really you should still opt to eat all the foods you love.
In summer though there are simple ways to put a lighter twist on the winter necessities; for example a spatchcock chicken with lemon, garlic, roasted Mediterranean vegetables and new potatoes can replace the traditional Sunday roast. And typically anything cooked on a BBQ is summer appropriate, right?
Outdoor alfresco dining is always a must in the summer and the social element of this activity fills the Hygge hole. Mixing mealtime and social time also provides the ideal excuse for summer cocktails and extravagant desserts – after all, every day is a celebration (according to the Hygge definition!).
If you are looking at adjusting your meals for the summer months, or even if you aren’t but you want to expand you food horizon, here are some of my suggestions:
Revamp your outdoor space
Alongside the suggestion of alfresco dining, revamping your garden or outdoor eating space is another great Hygge way to make your home a summer social hub where you can enjoy the midsummer moments.
I unfortunately don’t have a garden so bringing the outside in isn’t very easy. Thankfully I do have a top floor flat and there are a lot of large windows that I tend to throw open to enjoy both the breeze and the beautiful views.
If you do have a garden or a form of outdoor space, you should dress it up or down however you choose. Your outdoor place should be as you want it to be, whether that’s a quiet space or a social lounge area for family or friends. Making your outdoor space Hygge is choosing whatever makes you happy.
Host a party
When I say party, this could be a party of 1, 3 or 13, depending on the type of party you want to have and the amount of people you can fit in your home, so here are some Hygge party ideas for the selection…
A party of 13: A garden gathering, a dinner party or even an afternoon tea are a great way to enjoy the moment and celebrate life. And if you’re looking to go all out, these tips on ‘The Golden Rules of Gatherings’ include menu planning, personalised drinks, tips to making your guests feel warm and comfortable and bringing the night to a close.
And if your looking for a soundtrack for your party, we have just created a 'Cool Sound of Summer' playlist on Spotify which you can enjoy here.
A party of 3: This is the ideal number for a movie night, take away or Love Island marathon. My personal tips for a small summer gathering include a comfortable setting, chips and dips, a large pack of Malteasers and Aperol Spritz – the trendiest drink of summer (according to the 782k posts under #Aperolspritz on instagram).
A party of 1: Eat what you want, drink want you want, do what you want. Happy Hygge!