How a Hygge-Inspired Room Refresh Made a Huge Difference in My Happiness


Making the move towards ‘big city living’ was exhilarating, but also came with its fair set of challenges. I fully expected to enjoy exploring new bars, bookstores, and restaurants. But what I didn’t see coming was long commute times in incremental weather, grocery store lines that wrapped back to the deli counter, and rent fees that consumed most of my meager writer’s salary. After several months of doing my best to keep up with this new speed of life — but feeling like I was failing wholeheartedly — I came to the conclusion that urban living was stimulating, but maybe wasn’t for me.

While the occasional phone call home or hot yoga session would ease some of my everyday anxieties, I still felt like I was running on empty six out of seven days of the week. After some internal inspection, I realized that my previous life ran at an entirely different pace. There, I had a quiet studio of my own, in a small city, with lots of open, outdoor areas to pass the time. As someone who has introverted tendencies, it dawned on me that this total life change was causing all of my unrest. I scientifically needed the time alone to recharge, and this had completely gone out the window since I came to this busy new city. The lightbulb went off: I simply needed a space to refuel from the daily grind of life.

As someone fairly ingrained in the home decor and interiors scene, hygge (pronounced hue-guh) decor was trending around the time this realization hit. For those who aren’t familiar with this Danish style, it’s entirely focused on happiness by way of a conscious appreciation for the simple things in life. Which was exactly what I needed in my journey to turn my perspective around. So I made it my goal to bring this contentment to my own personal living space, starting with my bedroom.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I worked hard to transform my stark and cold apartment into a cozy retreat where I could clear my head. I can now proudly say that my bedroom has easily become my favorite place to begin my mornings, end a busy day, or even spend an entire Sunday in bed. My mood is more uplifted because of these small moments of introspection and gratefulness, and those minor stressors I dealt with before suddenly seem more insignificant and manageable. As it turns out, city living might just be more doable after all.

As someone who is constantly looking to bring joy and inspiration to others, I couldn’t help but feel excited to share my own story to encourage you to consider a hygge approach in your home, whatever your reasons may be. Keep scrolling below to see how I accomplished it in a quick few steps.

  1. Keep it simple // A decorating refresh comes with the connotation of being overwhelming. But a hygge-approach shouldn’t be. Instead of adding a lot of new elements, I embraced what I already had. I revamped my existing pieces with a neutral palette, like a fresh coat of ivory paint and a light gray set of sheets. This, in turn, made the entire place feel more harmonious and serene.
  2. Banish clutter // The Dane’s love their simplicity. So anything that didn’t serve me at the time (like that paisley picture-frame from college) was put to rest. While I thought it would be hard to put these memories away, the feeling of relief I experienced when walking into a clean room was worth any pulled heartstrings along the way.
  3. Use texture // Incorporating textured accents is an easy way to bring coziness and character to a minimalist space. I embraced this by adding a thickly knit rug to my floor, and a queen-sized faux fur throw to my bed. Both of these make any hour spent in my room feel like a more comforting experience.
  4. Embrace ambiance // Candles help create atmosphere. So in true Danish fashion, I placed these around my room to emit a soothing vibe. I also invested in a high-quality air purifier to create a more breathable (and hygienic) space. All around, I now feel much better taking deep, soothing breaths at the end of a long day.
  5. Incorporate your favorite things // I completed this project by adding a family photo next to my bed and a calming quote (“Be Still, My Soul”) on my wall. I also placed a few viles of my favorite essential oils in easy reach on my vanity. By physically surrounding myself with the things I enjoy, it makes it much easier to acknowledge everything I have to be grateful for.

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Sarah Koller is a freelance writer and blogger. When she’s not taking a hot yoga class or seeking out the best brunch spots in town, you’ll find her rambling away on her  website.SaveSave