How To Hygge This Summer

By Kealia Reynolds
Photo by Prudence Earl

Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish term that refers to enjoying life’s simple pleasures, a conscious appreciation and recognition of the present. Used as a noun, verb, and adjective, the Oxford Dictionary describes the word as “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being.”

Think: a warm cup of tea on a rainy day or a lavender-scented bubble bath with flickering candles, and Bach playing in the background. The decadent aroma of bread baking in the oven. The feeling you get as you sit by the fire wrapped in a flannel blanket. It’s the intimate gathering of loved ones in a relaxed atmosphere, but also the solace found tucked away in a nook, reading a captivating novel. It’s a state of mindfulness and a lifestyle, a philosophy, and a feeling.

There was a recent surge of U.S. interest in this Scandinavian concept, likely due to the idea that happiness can come from simple and smaller things that money just can’t buy (or at least that’s what the Danes made it seem like). With bustling schedules, mounting stress, and unending work days, us Americans seem to miss out on the small, hygge things that lead to a better quality of life. Instead, we focus on the mundane, the day-to-day, the “essentials.” Hygge gives meaning to those tasks, making them joyful and beautiful in their own regard.

Though hygge is emphasized most during winter months, we can’t help but want to experience it year-round. Here are nine ways to find hygge this summer.

Photo by Alice Achterhof

1. Capitalize on sunlight

Maybe it’s the warmth I feel whenever sunlight hits my face or the way it passes through a kitchen window, illuminating the entire room. All I know is that the presence of sunlight always puts me in a calming, more introspective mood. Experience hygge this summer by setting up a daybed in your sunroom or on your back patio to maximize comfortable lounging opportunities. If you don’t have room in your home for a traditional daybed, create a makeshift daybed by arranging a soft, quilted blanket and throw pillows under a window that provides plenty of light.

2. Decorate your home with flowers

Gather fresh zinnias or peonies for your coffee table to bring the cheerfulness of summer inside your home. For other summer flowers to include around your home, try daisies and sunflowers. I prefer to go to the farmers market to handpick marigolds wrapped in brown butcher paper. Seeing the burst of color every day and smelling the sweet fragrance of these cut blooms every time I walk through my door is one of the little things that brings me joy.

3. Plan a picnic

Nothing says summer hygge quite like a mid-day picnic. Break out the floral blanket and cheese board and venture to a local garden or find a quiet, shady spot in your backyard. You can even have an indoor picnic during rainy days or for days when the heat is unbearable. Sharing finger food and bubbly with a few of your closest friends (or spending time alone and taking in your surroundings) is the perfect stress-free option for slowing down and unwinding.

4. Light candles

While candles are typically thought of as fall and winter must-haves, they’re great for summer hygge. Scents like Capri Blue Volcano, Waikiki Beach Coconut, and Blue Ocean Waves remind us of lazy days by the pool or on the beach, and put our mind at ease amidst the stresses of everyday life.

Photo by Jennifer Pallian

5. Host Sunday brunch

What better way to be intentional and appreciative than to spend late Sunday mornings with loved ones. Invite friends and family over for a weekly brunch and indulge in delicious comfort food: french toast with blueberry compote, cinnamon oatmeal with granola, eggs benedict, and homemade biscuits and gravy. Make the space more inviting by opening a window to let in the warm, summer breeze. If you want to host a summer evening get-together, go over these golden rules of gathering.

6. Spend time in your garden

Whether you’re a beginning gardener or experienced green thumb, spending time in your garden is the perfect summer activity to channel hygge. What could be more satisfying than watching seasonal flowers bloom outside your kitchen window or picking fresh herbs and vegetables for dinner each night. Consider starting an organic garden in your backyard or create a vertical vegetable garden within your home if you’re pressed for outdoor space.

7. Appreciate the outdoors

There’s something so peaceful about taking a leisurely stroll through your neighborhood or inviting friends over for a yoga session in your backyard. If you’re not much of an exerciser, wake up early one morning to watch the sunrise or find a special place to watch it set. Cozy up with a light blanket and shut off all electronics. Take in the peace and quiet and reflect on the good in your life.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc

8. Invite friends over for a fire

Sure, it’s not a fireplace on a cold, wintry night, but it’s definitely the summer equivalent. Friends. S’mores. Shared stories around a fire. This is the quintessential hygge landscape—slowing down, being intentional, and connecting with others. Before building your own fire pit, keep these safety tips in mind to ensure everybody has a worry-free night.

9. Enjoy a glass of wine (or two)

Hygge is all about enjoying life’s simple pleasures and being kind to yourself. If you’ve had a rough day at work or a day filled with errands, take a step back and pour a drink for yourself. Maybe it’s a glass of your favorite Chardonnay or an ice-cold Moscow Mule. Or maybe it’s a delectable blackberry vanilla mocktail. Whatever your drink of choice, celebrate the end of your day and the start of a new one.

Above all, remember that hygge doesn’t have to meet rigid standards or rules. It’s all about the pursuit of happiness, finding comfort in personal moments, and being intentional about things that bring more joy to your life.

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