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Hygge & A Cozy Winter House

Long before I even heard of the concept of Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah, Hygge is the Danish practice of creating a cozy home, enjoying simple pleasures with a focus on well-being), I was obsessed with those very things. I could hardly believe it when I heard about Hygge, it sounds just like me! I love creating ambience through cozy homes and daily rituals. I think I would feel right at home in Denmark.

My yearly home goals always focus on the desire for greater well-being and comfort in our home. It’s hard to put into words how relieved I am to be nearing the end of this remodeling year. Remodeling is fun, but it’s not the coziest time. While I will still have a list a mile long of projects I want to get to (don’t we all?), I’m so looking forward to a new season of home-bodyness (is that a word?).

I can’t help but just be very excited about how close we are to fully enjoying and sharing the comforts we’ve been creating here.

Hygge & A Cozy Winter House

The thing is, though, I find that if you aren’t intentional about embracing coziness and comfort in the winter as a gift of the season, it’s often easy to just not put it into practice. As I wrote in my book Make Room for What You Love, you have to be intentional about creating the kind of home you want.

It’s tempting to just feel a little depressed that Christmas is over and spring feels like such a long time away. Or perhaps we start to feel frustrated with the discomfort of the colder weather (depending on where we live!) instead of just focusing on the blessings of creating a cozy winter house. Maybe we mindlessly scroll Facebook in the evening rather than mindfully curling up with a good book and a furry throw blanket.

Blast! We can so easily miss opportunities for coziness. Rather than the added ambience of a crackling fire or candles or twinkling lights that we might have really enjoyed at Christmas time, we sit in a dark dreary space lit only by a television set or computer screen.

We’ll talk more about the art and rituals of creating a cozy winter home in January (see my first 2017 Hygge post here!)

For now, keep turning on the Christmas lights. Curl up by the fire. Set down your phone, get in your coziest jammies and nestle in closer together with your family.

See my first 2017 Hygge post here!

You’ll find lots of cozy home tips and ideas for embracing the seasons in my books here.


  1. Margitta

    Even nicer than the substantive “hygge” is the adjective “hyggelig”, which can mean something like cozy or pleasent. It is also used as a reply to thank you… “bare hyggelig” = “you´re welcome” :) – Greetings from Norway! (in my humble experience its the Norwegians who master the concept of “hygge” in wintertime, but than we have the mountains and snow :) )

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Margitta! Now I need to try to put the word hyggelig into practice. I learn something new everyday! :)

  2. Amy

    So funny that you are writing about hygge. I have been doing a lot of searching on the very subject this week, and I thought of YOU specifically, especially the fall nesting series you do. I found that I am also already doing many hyggelig things to maintain that sense of calm, warmth, and coziness in my home and for friends and family when we get together. I am glad it is getting some attention but I suspect the vast majority of your readers already practice hygge in their lives. Who knew we were trendy before it was a trend :) Happy new year – can’t wait to see the details of your 2017 list! It is inspiring for us!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thanks for thinking of me, Amy! Yes, we were certainly setting trends before we even knew it was a thing! Ha. Happy New Year, Amy!

  3. Tracie

    I happened to implement almost all your ideas this fall, and our home feels so much more pleasant during the cold, dark days in Minnesota. I didn’t have a console table in our foyer until I realized that we could place our antique treadle sewing machine there. Now I love turning on the porch lights and the lamps in the entry to create a warm welcome every evening. I also (finally) found the perfect floor rug for our sunroom and added an Afghan so that our favorite reading nook feels much warmer. And I bought battery-operated tea lights for my candle holders to add some sparkle in the evening. For the last few weeks we’ve been playing board games and working on jigsaw puzzles with family members instead of the usual Netflix routine, and it has been a wonderful change. I hope more of your readers embrace hygge!

  4. Chris

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for so elegantly writing what I feel. After 30 years in the home we raised our four children in, we are in a new home that is perfect for this season of our lives. The view of the falling snow and our cozy fireplace brings my soul peace. The Christmas tree our grandsons decorated with stuffed animals and “lovies” will stay up thru January, providing a light thru our French doors to the darkness that comes too early this time of year. Bookcases filled with wisdom waiting to be discovered and small nesting projects will keep us fulfilled thru the winter months.

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you for reading! It’s always nice to find others who feel the same way. Happy New Year, Chris!

    • Orianne

      Sounds like the most wonderful way to start a new year in a new home! A tree decorated by grandchildren twinkling into the first month of the year, surrounded by books and listening to my creative whispers would most assuredly be my idea of hygge. In fact, it sounds ‘soul-good’.

      • Chris

        We originally started decorating the tree with small stuffed animals instead of the precious crystal snowflakes I have collected for decades because I don’t want to be that Grandma who panics or says no, every time the kids get near the tree. Our January has been very mild, for Western New York, but winter is expected to return with a vengeance this weekend. I seem to be finding a peace I didn’t know I was missing. I will ” hygge” forward.

  5. Diane @ An Extraordinary Day

    Oh, my goodness, Melissa… that is so me! Some of my favorite blogs are Danish (or Scandinavian)… though being half Swedish might be a reason for my loving this so much, too! LOL Just before reading your post, I read one of Jen Rizzo’s and she was talking about hygge, too! Okay… I didn’t know this was a “thing” but I’m in. I’ve been “in.” So I guess this would be our coming out party then. LOL (I think I need more sleep because that was really funny to me!)

    Enjoy the rest of this holiday week! Looking forward to more glimpses of the kitchen. XO

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      LOL! We are so IN and we didn’t even know it. :) Thank you, Diane. Happy New Year! :-D

  6. Beth Giannini

    Hi! I recently bought your book (Make Room for What you Love) because in 2017 I want to find that happy place where my home and my beloved belongings are balanced… and your book seems to be the perfect guide to help me. I have ALSO longed for a clean and cozy environment, and had never heard of Hygge until I researched your book. (However I do love the IKEA way of design – I just never made that connection!) So after buying your book, I downloaded a couple e-books on Hygge, but now I’m going to look for your e-bay book on the subject! I will be taking down the Christmas decor soon, but I think some of the lights will stay out this year. :) Thank you for helping clarify my focus on what will help me achieve my 2017 goals!

    • Melissa @ The Inspired Room

      Thank you, Beth! I’m so glad you got the book. Enjoy and happy New Year!

    • Carolyn

      We leave up the outside lights on the glassed-in back porch windows. I love seeing them from inside. Some little white lights twined around the deck railings are festive all year, even in summer when there are outdoor barbecue parties and evenings around the fire pit.

  7. Jo Jo

    I thought I was seeing a typo when I was reading the title of this blog post! LOL. After reading what you wrote I think it describes me to a “T” as well! Just yesterday we took down all the Christmas decor. I intentionally (thanks to your inspiring words in your books I purchased) bought some Winter decor such as throw pillows, a few throws a faux flower arrangement and a swag for the fireplace mantle that I used during Christmas but doesn’t scream ” Christmas” but just winter cozy and woodsy and those things remain now until spring. And candles…lots and lots of candles! Both frameless and real! Can’t get enough! I LOVE creating a cozy ambience for our home and never tire of thinking, reading or doing it! I love anything HOME and you continue to inspire me to that end. Thank you, Melissa! Happy New Year!! Be blessed and stay cozy! ❤

  8. Kathy Cheek

    Dallas broke a record for high temp on Christmas Day at 80 degrees, so it was not Christmasy…:(
    …and again yesterday…79 :(

    We did have a white Christmas just a few years ago so I will dream of another one to come next year!

    I love your cozy ideas, and when it gets cold, I will appreciate them even more.

    Happy New Year!

  9. Christi from Charm & Grace Cottage

    If there is one adjective I would desire to describe my home, it would be cozy. Thanks for the education on hygge.

  10. Debbie - Mountain Mama

    I love this!! I do exactly that, but had no idea it had a name such as Hygge! I just love to create warm and cozy spaces in my home, and always use soft lighting, twinkle lights, candles, cozy pillows, throws….you name it! My ideal evening includes a good book by the fire, perhaps with a glass of wine and a candle on the table next to me. Happy New Year to you!

  11. Karen in Bainbridge Island

    We traveled for Christmas but after two weeks living out of a suitcase I am ready for some cozy time. We have friends with us thru New Years but plan to just hang out and chat, share some
    good meals and just be.

  12. Carrie

    Thank you for the encouragement to create a cozy and comfy home during these last winter months! Hygge is good for the soul!

  13. Dianntha j Lessig

    I had been ordering some throws and pillows and rugs while they were on sale so that after Christmas I could prepare my home for a long winter’s rest. I am looking forward to spending time in my home and enjoying a slower pace.

  14. Rachel

    I can’t tell you how much I needed this reminder. I tend to feel so down in January– and part of that is I stop being intentional in my home. During the holidays, I am very mindful of the ambiance– of the feel and function of our liturgies as a family. I want January to be just as intentional. Thank you Melissa for this encouragement!


    Melissa, Of course I adore this post! If our homes don’t have a certain feeling it doesn’t matter how hard we try to decorate them. I have always said it is more important to me how my home feels to all who enter than how it looks. After all we can all make a pretty home but to make a warm, cozy inviting home, now that is a goal I am on board with. I am going to check out this new to me Danish way of thinking about home.!! My post for yesterday was about adding back the light after Christmas, keeping up some the white twinkling lights is on my list!! Happy New Year and thank you for always inspiring us!

  16. Orianne

    Enjoying each season for the gifts it brings us is a such a wonderful reminder from you in this post, and in so doing we can enjoy our lives not only a little more, but also invite a little more authenticity and joy. Most of us have been living ‘hyggelig’ during our winters without realizing there was this wonderful Scandinavian word for it; it is by no means a ‘trend’, but a lifestyle, a purposeful way to celebrate our daily lives and making simple winter routines more meaningful. And as I’m an unabashed member of the ‘Twinkle-Tribe’, you know my fairy lights and candles stay lit until Spring.

  17. Linda

    I really needed to read this today! All the comments have been food for my soul as well. Have a blessed 2017.

  18. Andrea Karcutskie

    It is so nice to see others like me! My home is my very favorite place to be. While others are planning there winter beach vacations I’m praying for a blizzard! There is nothing better than being snowed in with my family safe at home, a fire in the fireplace, a pot of soup on the stove and an apple pie in the oven! No vacation even comes close! I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog…thankyou !!

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