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Minimalism and Hygge: How to Get Cozy Without the Clutter

Minimalism and Hygge: How to Get Cozy Without the Clutter

Both minimalism and Hygge are two concepts you’ve probably heard at least a little about in the past few years.

But when I first heard of the Danish concept of Hygge, I thought it didn’t fit with what I was trying to achieve by simplifying and decluttering my home. All I knew of Hygge was it was about creating cozy spaces filled with lots of candles, blankets, pillows, books, etc.

While creating coziness is certainly one aspect of Hygge, it’s not everything. I have learned minimalism and Hygge are not mutually exclusive in the least.  In fact, they both promote many of the same values in the end.

Minimalism & Hygge: how to get cozy without the clutter
Photo by Jen P. on Unsplash

In today’s post, I want to dive deeper into the concepts of minimalism and Hygge. Discussing how they not only fit together but how they complement each other in many ways too.

Fall is a time of year when many of us look forward to getting cozy and embracing all the Hygge feels. Read on for ways you can embrace minimalism and Hygge to create a simple and cozy home and life you love!

But first, let’s get clear about what minimalism and Hygge both entail.

What is minimalism as a lifestyle?

Minimalism often gets a bad reputation as cold, sterile, uninviting or stark. People picture all-white rooms with one chair and not much else.

While this can be what minimalism looks like for some people, it’s definitely not the only way it can look. There’s a big difference between minimalism as a design aesthetic and minimalism as a lifestyle.

Minimalism as a lifestyle is about figuring out what you value most. Then removing everything that doesn’t align with that or distracts you from what you value most.

It’s about removing the clutter, the excess and the distractions so you have more time and space to appreciate the things you value more.

Minimalism doesn’t have to look a certain way. The key to creating your own version of minimalism is deciding what matters most to you, then removing the excess and distractions keeping you from what matters most.

Minimalism is not about living with nothing. Instead, it’s about keeping what you use and love and getting rid of what you don’t.

At its core, minimalism is not about what you own or don’t own. Instead, it’s about why you own what you own.

What is Hygge?

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a popular Danish concept. Although there’s no direct English translation, Hygge is best described as a mindset and way of living focusing on slowing down, enjoying the moment, being present and finding contentment in everyday moments.

It focuses on finding ways to appreciate the cozy, simple moments. And creating an atmosphere where you can celebrate and enjoy the present moment. It’s a feeling, a mindset and a way of life that promotes well-being, more than any particular design style.

Although there are certain ways to bring more Hygge into your life (think candles, cozy blankets, a warm fire, etc.). Hygge isn’t just those things.

In fact, Hygge isn’t about “things” at all. It’s more about slowing down and being present to appreciate and enjoy your life. And finding ways to celebrate ordinary moments and make them special.

For example, a hot cup of tea can be Hygge. It isn’t the tea itself that is important. Instead, it’s the act of slowing down and being present as you prepare your tea. Then taking the time to sit down and drink your tea, not hurrying or rushing it. Instead, just mindfully enjoying it and appreciating the tea, the moment and how it makes you feel.

Hygge can be thought of as the “art of creating intimacy” and is often described using words like coziness, charm, happiness, contentment, comfort, kinship, connection, simpleness, homey, inviting, etc.

It was a way to help the Danes find ways to make it through and enjoy, the cold, dark, dreary days of winter. And as someone who lives in the often cold, dark and dreary Canadian prairies, I can understand this well.

If you can’t beat winter, you might as well find ways to make the best of it! And embracing Hygge is a wonderful way to do this.

How do minimalism and Hygge fit together?

If Hygge is all about slowing down to appreciate the simple moments and being present to enjoy them fully, it’s easy to see how minimalism and Hygge fit together.

First, let’s start with minimalism…

Minimalism is about deciding what is important to you, then removing anything that isn’t important or distracts you from what is.

Minimalism allows you to remove the clutter, distractions and busyness from your life. Giving you the tools to slow down and simplify so you can find more time and space to focus on appreciating the things, people and activities you love.

When you choose to own less and slow down, you create time and space in your life to live more mindfully. Giving yourself the opportunity to appreciate and be more present for the things, people and activities you love most.

Moving onto Hygge…

Hygge takes this a step further and encourages you to slow down, be present, savour and find connection and contentment in the simple, everyday moments. Appreciating the simple, cozy moments in your life where you can find gratitude and joy.

Hygge can be a natural extension of simplifying

A friend recently asked me if I do anything specific to add more Hygge into our home. I realized I don’t do anything intentionally. But creating a simple, cozy, inviting home is what I naturally gravitate towards.

I don’t go out of my way to create a home that feels Hygge. Instead, I purposely fill our home with only the things we love or use. This allows me to create a space where we feel happy and able to be fully present. We aren’t distracted by piles of clutter or unnecessary objects. Instead, our home feels warm and inviting in a clutter-free, simple way.

To me, both minimalism and Hygge come back to creating a home and space you love. Focusing on being intentional with your space and filling it with things you love or use.

Getting rid of the clutter, the excess and the distractions are essential to creating a space that is inviting and easy to enjoy the present moment in.

Get clear about what you value and what is most important to you. Then you can get rid of anything not adding value or simply not important to you. Not only will this help you create a more simplified, minimalist home. But it will also make it easier to begin adding more Hygge to your days!

Minimalism and Hygge are not about “stuff”

Hygge is not about “stuff”. You don’t need to buy anything or own certain things to embrace Hygge. Instead, it’s about finding contentment and being present for the simple, everyday moments in your life. And finding ways to celebrate those moments.

You don’t need to buy anything or add anything to your home to embrace Hygge. Instead, it’s about creating a home you can feel present in rather than distracted and stressed in by piles of clutter. A home where you are happy to slow down, relax and enjoy the simple and cozy moments of life.

Although minimalism initially feels very much about “stuff” as you work to declutter and simplify, at its core, minimalism isn’t about stuff either. It’s about simplifying the stuff so you can make time and space for more – more experiences, more fun, more of what you love!

Both minimalism and Hygge encourage you to find contentment with what you have – knowing the simple moments in life are often the most meaningful in the long run.

Minimalism and Hygge teach us to be intentional with our time and our space so we can be present for and mindful of the important parts of life. Giving us ways to slow down and appreciate simple moments that bring us joy.

Minimalism and Hygge help you create an inviting home you love and are happy to welcome others into. Both minimalism and Hygge encourage you to create connections and memories. Without worrying about being embarrassed by piles of clutter or mess!

How to bring more minimalism and Hygge into your home

When you’re creating a minimalist, Hygge home, focus on creating a space you love. One that you enjoy spending time in and are happy to welcome others into.

When you put a minimalist spin on bringing more Hygge into your home and life, it becomes less about what “stuff” you need to add, and more about creating ambiance and a space you can enjoy. It becomes about creating a home you love that you can fill with happiness, memories and special everyday moments, not “stuff”.

The first step of adding more minimalism and Hygge into your home is clearing the clutter.

Clutter is distracting and overwhelming. Instead of feeling relaxed, cozy and comfortable in your space, too much clutter leaves you feeling stressed, overstimulated and unable to relax. Get rid of the clutter and distractions, only leaving the things you love, make you happy or are useful.

And remember, less is more when adding coziness to your space while still keeping it simple. It’s ok to keep things that add cozy elements to your spaces. Just remember to keep it simple to avoid adding unnecessary clutter.

Having fewer things, but things you really love or use often can often make the difference between a cozy space you love and a cluttered space that stresses you out.

Here are some simple examples of how to add more Hygge into your home while still keeping it simple:

  • Clear the decorative clutter from your home. Decorate with meaningful items that are useful or make you happy and personalize your home instead.
  • Remove distractions and clutter from your spaces so you can focus on being present with the people you’re with and the activities you’re doing.
  • Connect and spend time with the people you love. Play games, cuddle up, read, enjoy a cup of tea or a glass of wine together and really be present.
  • Dim the lights and light a candle. Candlelight is a great way to add ambiance and create a cozy atmosphere in your home. Keep it clutter-free by not getting carried away with the number of candles you have. And use them up before buying more. Another great tip is to add layers of light. Use lamps, candles, twinkle lights, etc. to create different layers and intensities of light.
  • Create an atmosphere of relaxation. Play some soft music you love, pour a cup of tea or glass of wine, turn off your phone and be present!
  • Mindfully prepare a meal, then sit down and take the time to enjoy it. Sharing it with family and friends is a great way to add even more Hygge!

All of these things are a lot easier to do when you declutter and simplify your home first.

You create more time and space in your home and your life when you’re not busy managing all the “stuff” and clutter in your home. Instead, minimalism gives you time and space to appreciate these simple Hygge moments.

Minimalism and Hygge – a wonderful pair for an intentional life

There are many clutter-free ways to add more Hygge into your home and life. Embracing minimalism and Hygge definitely don’t have to contradict each other. In fact, they both are tools you can use to live a life filled with contentment, gratitude and intention.

Minimalism and Hygge make it easier to begin appreciating and being present for the simple moments of life.

Finding ways to bring more minimalism and Hygge into your life allow you to focus on what matters most to you and appreciate the little things in life. Because as we often learn, the sweet, simple moments of life are often the ones we remember and value the most in the big picture of our lives.

Have you found ways to add more Hygge to your home and life as you work towards simplifying and embracing minimalism? Have you noticed connections between minimalism and Hygge? Leave a comment and let me know!

Minimalism & Hygge: how to get cozy without the clutter
Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

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Friday 24th of May 2024

I’ve been decluttering but I found sentimental items that I struggled to part with. I decided to find alternative ways to use them - an adorable little animal figurine from my grandmother that doesn’t otherwise fit our more modern aesthetic now holds my nail scissors in my bathroom cabinet and makes me smile every time I see it. A doily she embroidered lines my jewellery box. Sometimes it’s just little touches here and there that remind you of the people you love and what is important to you, and bring you a feeling of warmth. I didn’t need to keep lots of doilies I’ll never use. Just one favourite one that I repurposed. Have other people found interesting ways to add sentimental items to an otherwise minimalist home that help it feel cozy without it looking too cluttered?

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 27th of May 2024

That's great way to honour sentimental items and focus on keeping your favourite, most special items. Good for you!


Saturday 25th of September 2021

This is the first time I’ve heard the word Hygge. Thank you for the education. I’ve been working on a spot in my bedroom for cozy. My husband has been gone three years now. He sure would have loved cozy. We were already working on minimalism. But you have added a better understanding of that process. Getting up right now to remove some unuseful items. 🤗

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 27th of September 2021

I'm glad to introduce you to the idea! I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your husband. But I'm glad this post inspired you to continue working to create a home you love. Thanks for reading!

Jessalynn Jones

Sunday 19th of September 2021

I really liked this article Melissa. When I learned about hygge I noticed that it is focused on family friends food and warmth. Minimalism helps me to create moments with those I live by keeping my space simple enough to invite them into and my mind focused on people instead of things. I hygge as a minimalist with nice lighting, a cozy blanket, and a cup of tea :)

Simple Lionheart Life

Monday 20th of September 2021

Thanks, Jessalynn! Yes! I love love your thoughts on Hygge and how to combine it with a simplified home and life. Thanks for reading and sharing!


Monday 24th of September 2018

I really enjoyed reading this, and I agree with what you said. It’s definitely complementary because the core message is the same. Looking forward to more cozy evenings! :)

Simple Lionheart Life

Tuesday 25th of September 2018

Thanks, Marielle! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy your cozy evenings :)

Ashley | Momma Loves Coffee

Friday 21st of September 2018

I’ve being reading all about minimalism but never heard of hyyge, so I was super excited to learn something new! I have a love of all things Dane, so thanks for the post :)

Simple Lionheart Life

Saturday 22nd of September 2018

That's wonderful, Ashley! I'm so happy I could share something new with you! Thanks for reading :)

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