The Scandinavian root of the word (Norwegian, to be precise) means “wellbeing” and undoubtedly constitutes a response to the particular environmental conditions in those countries. This type of feeling/sensation is becoming widely used both to indicate contemporary lifestyles and as an extremely popular aesthetic trend in furnishings and interiors.
Other cultures employ similar words: the Anglo-Saxon world would use cosiness, gemütlichkeit in German – to conjure up that feeling of wellbeing that comes from good food, a drink and good company – but only partly manage to render the concept of hygge which, as the translator ToveMaren Stakkestad says, “was not formulated for being translated but for being lived”.
Hygge is rather more speaking of an existential attitude to being self-indulgent and indulgent towards others, without denying oneself the small pleasures in life but, most of all, it speaks of the place of choice in which all this happens: the home.
Hygge stands for a way in which we live in our homes, that realm of comfort and receptiveness to which most people aspire, each with their own particular style, without being aware of its precise meaning.