Vail Today: Danish secrets to happy, comfortable living space |

Vail Today: Danish secrets to happy, comfortable living space

Tricia Swenson
Vail Today

The key to happiness may be closer than you think. It may already be found in your home, relationships and favorite foods.

The Danish art of hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) loosely translates as a sense of comfort, togetherness and wellbeing. It could be a cozy nook where you can read a book while sipping a hot cup of coffee, or a table where you are playing checkers with a family member via candlelight, or a gathering of friends for comfort food in front of a fire. These are all forms of hygge.

In “The Little Book of Hygge — Danish Secrets to Happy Living,” Meik Wiking writes about all things hygge. Wiking is the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the traits of Danish life and what makes people happy.

Being with other people is a key part of hygge. Wiking says there is a broad agreement among happiness researchers and scientists that social relationships are essential for people’s happiness.

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What’s the secret?

Hygge believes in these 10 principles:

• Atmosphere

• Presence

• Pleasure

• Equality

• Gratitude

• Harmony

• Comfort

• Truce

• Togetherness

• Shelter

Make your home hyggelig

The art of hygge not only focuses on being with your family, friends or “tribe,” as they call it; hygge also focuses on the spaces in which you dwell with those people. A few things that will make your home more hyggelig (hooga-like) are cozy chairs, a fireplace, candles, books, blankets and pillows.

Slifer Designs is embracing hygge and recently hosted events at the Arrabelle at Vail Square in Lionshead Village and the Beaver Creek Club. Guests were greeted at the front door with slippers and ushered into a room full of nooks that centered on the fireplace, cozy blankets and pillows and board games, as well as comfort food.

Home is central to social life in Denmark, and hygge is about making the most of what we have in abundance — the things we experience every day. Adding these simple life pleasures can easily add a little hygge to your home.

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