Hygge in Hogtown: How to jump on the Danish lifestyle bandwagon in Toronto
If last year’s home improvement efforts were dominated by the clean-sweeping KonMari Method—the Japanese edict that dictates ridding your life of anything that does not bring you joy—this year belongs to The Little Book of Hygge. Written by Meik Wiking, the CEO of Copenhagen’s Happiness Research Institute, this twee tome explores the Danish concept of hygge (pronounced hoo-guh), which, depending whom you ask, translates roughly to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things, or delighting in coziness.
Creating your own hygge-ified lifestyle is as easy as burrowing under a blanket with a good book and a hot cup of tea. But if you threw out your thick woollen socks and your hyggebukser (sweatpants) in your KonMari purge last year, don’t fret. Here are the top Toronto sources to help put the coziness back into your life, Nordic style.
Step 1: Let the light in
Chapter One in The Little Book of Hygge is called “Light,” with candles being the solution to instant hygge. So don’t be a lyseslukker, the Danish word for “spoilsport” which translates literally to “the one who puts out the candles,” and get yourself in hyggehjørnet (the mood for hygge).
Twenty-eight per cent of Danes admit to lighting candles on the daily, while 31 per cent light more than five at once, with a preference for unscented wax. This set of 72 (!) votive candles by Mississauga-based Yummi Candles will give you a jump start. $40, 654 Queen St. W., 647-348-1100, yummicandles.com.
PH5 Pendant Lamp
Designed by famed Danish lighting designer Poul Henningsen in 1958, this pendant lamp’s layered shades disperse light while concealing the light bulb. From $1,230, Design Within Reach, 214 King St. E., 416-977-4003, dwr.com.
Muskoka Campfire Candle
A wood-burning fire is a major key in the world of hygge. Hand made using soy wax, this scented candle is the next best thing to an authentic blaze. $28, at Brika, 642 Queen St. W., brika.com.
Step 2: Round up some comfy home décor
Home is where the hygge is, so look for Nordic-inspired touches like soft blankets and throws, earthy elements and natural materials. Or just ask yourself, “Would a Viking squirrel want this in his living room?”
Anderssen & Voll Punkt Blanket
Junction design store Mjölk is a treasure trove of Scandinavian design, and a “nice blanket” is one of the most important building blocks of your hyggekrog, which translates roughly to nook. This Røros blanket is weaved with wool from Norwegian sheep that graze on clean, fresh mountain pastures. $340, Mjölk, 2959 Dundas St. W., mjolk.ca.
CB2 Reindeer Hide Rug
In northern Finland, Indigenous people raise reindeer for food and income, with sustainably and humanely sourced hides being taken to market. $599, CB2, 651 Queen St. W., 416-366-2828, cb2.com.
Ikea Poäng Chair
The Swedish furniture powerhouse sells about 1.5 million Poäng chairs, among its most iconic designs, every year. $299, Ikea, ikea.com.
Marimekko Unikko Tea Pot
For a toasty cup of tea, a Finnish Marimekko tea set brings a colourful joie de vivre to your hyggesnak, which is a cozy chat amongst friends. $125, EQ3, 51 Hanna Ave., 416-533-9090, eq3.com.
PP Mobler pp225 The Flag Halyard Chair
This chair is a vision of hygge unto itself. A stainless steel frame is covered in 240 metres of flag line that form the seat of the back, with an Icelandic sheepskin, a byproduct of food production, added for extra comfort. From $11,201, Torp, 245 Davenport Rd., 416-968-2768, torpinc.com.
Step 3: Suit up
Scandinavian clothing lines are known for minimalist, geometric designs in a palette of neutrals, black in particular. Weiking recommends taking a “top bulky” approach to dressing, layering sweaters and scarves over a pair of slim-cut jeans or leggings on the bottom.
Tiger of Sweden Gusto H Poncho
Elevate your scarf game with a Swedish poncho. Made in Italy, this wool herringbone shawl is reversible and practical, ideal for use at home or on a flight. $349, Tiger of Sweden, 56 Ossington Ave., 416-588-4437, tigerofsweden.com/ca
The Sleep Shirt full-length black and grey flannel
Vancouver-born, Sweden-based sleepwear designer Alexandra Suhner Isbenberg based her initial designs on a 19th century chemise found at London’s Spitalfields market. Made in Canada of Japanese cotton, it’ll give Netflix-and-chill sessions to some next level hygge vibes. $327, thesleepshirt.com.
H&M Wool Blend Socks
An evening spent reading at home (Ibsen, perhaps?) just won’t do without a pair of cozy reading socks. $14.99, H&M, hm.com.
Fjällräven Kanken Backpack
While achieving hygge can be a solitary affair, it behooves oneself to enjoy hygge in the company of your nearest and dearest. On the occasions when that means leaving your own home, this backpack Fjällräven, which means arctic fox in Swedish, will transport everything you need to bring along, including a bottle of mulled wine and a homemade Danish apple cake. $150, thebay.com.
Therma Kōta Sigrún Coat
Canadian designer Linda Lundström looked to her Icelandic heritage when designing the first coat for Therma Kōta, her new line of outerwear. The reversible, made-in-Canada Sigrún style follows a high-fashion, high-performance ethos, featuring durable, weatherproof materials in an elegant cut. $690, thermakota.com.
Hygge is impossible to achieve if you’re uncomfortable. Danish lingerie brand Change stocks 90 bra sizes up to a J cup for a proper fit at (almost) any size. 315 Queen St. W., 416-977-7667, change.com.
Step 4: Get the Nordic glow
Take a few extra moments while you’re sipping on some herbal tea to fine-tune your winter skincare regimen.
Skyn Iceland Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels
With all the lying around demanded by the hygge lifestyle, it can be hard to look alert. The hydrolized elastin of these under-eye gels helps restore tone and firmness, while ginkgo biloba extract reduces puffiness and dark circles. $33 for eight, beautyboutique.ca.
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Scandinave Spa Blue Mountain
A short drive up north to experience the Scandinavian baths promises energizing and relaxing effects. They’re best enjoyed before or after a—you guessed it—Swedish massage. 152 Grey Road 21, Blue Mountains, 1-877-988-8484, scandinave.com.
Sachajuan Intensive Hair Oil
Made in Sweden, haircare brand Sachajuan’s Intensive Hair Oil offers much-needed moisturizing therapy during the cold, dry months. $43.40, Nordstrom.com.
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Anti-Aging Collagen Booster
Danish skincare guru Ole Henriksen may have built his career in Beverly Hills, but he is a true celebrity in Denmark. His signature Vitamin C Complex boosts skin’s radiance with the happiness-inducing antioxidant. From $60, Sephora.com.