home owners

What is Hygge? + Inspiration

It seems like, out of no where, this thing called hygge started showing up on social media. From Twitter to Instagram to Pinterest, social media decor seems to be dominated by #hygge (hashtag-hygge, as I often say to my husband). I can't deny the allure of what appears to be a focus on warm, cozy spaces. So I thought I'd share a few bits of inspiration for hygge--as well as talking about what hygge is, practically. 

So, what is hygge? 

According to KhachiLife, hygge is:

"hard to pronounce and directly translate (try saying ‘hoo-gah,’ then Denmark-ify it). It’s also hard to describe, mainly because it’s more so a state of mind and heart and less an actual thing or action. The two closest English words that offer a good start to understanding this positive attitude are ‘warm’ and ‘cozy’."

So, that makes it... easier? 

In general, on Pinterest, it seems to center around being cozy, using lots of throw blankets, and make sure your living space is warm, inviting, and relaxing. In general, decor has recently been what I consider rather cold (the all-white walls, the stiff, retro couches, the uncomfortable dining room chairs that look pretty); hygge is totally opposite. I would say my mother's living room growing up was "hygge": it was safe, it was warm, it was perfect. Even if it wasn't in Martha Stewart Living. 

Want a little hygge inspiration? 

Here are a few lovely resources I've gathered up. 

My friend, Sian, at Rebel Angel has a great post on hygge. She covers some elements of hygge that are easy to include in your own home. 

25 Ways to Fill Your Life with Hygge. I love this list of 25 ways to add a little hygge to your home (without going totally overboard on one design concept). Most importantly, this list invites you to make hygge your own. 

A free hygge printable, from Design by Claire. I love this pretty little printable. I actually printed it out myself and put it up in my bathroom (which is teal and embroidery themed, in general!). It fits perfectly. 

12 Ways to Create the Danish Hygge Look at Home. Again, great suggestions to adding a little hygge to your life. Of course, the photography is top notch. If only my own hygge home looked that pretty all the time... I notice none of these decor blogs feature toddler-destroyed living rooms as hygge! 

From Oprah (the queen of comfy & loving bread), a few ways to embrace hygge. I do enjoy the reference to calling candles "living lights." Very hygge. 

If you want even more hygge inspiration, be sure to follow my #hygge board on Pinterest

The Handy-Dandy Guide to Owning a Home

Owning a home is no-joke. It's takes a routinely exhausting amount of work. From basic monthly tasks to serious upkeep, getting a handle on it all can be overwhelming. Danny and I are always forgetting to do something--and then days, weeks, or, um, months later, we'll remember and feel quite dumb. And often, that feeling of "quite dumb" is associated with some kind of repair because we forgot to, say, take the hoses off the outside hose bibs and it ruptured a pipe, causing the entryway to flood. (Yes, that happened.) 

We are not perfect home owners, that's for sure. We forget things; we mess up; and there are some things we just don't know until we mess up. Here are a few tips-and-tricks for those brand-new-homeowners who need a little leg up (and who can definitely learn from our mistakes). 

1. Weather-proofing is real

Remember that little anecdote about removing the hoses from the hose bibs? It honestly never occurred to me that you're not supposed to leave a hose attached. I mean, I can use a hose year-round, right? Yes, you can--but because of how most outdoor hose bibs and faucets work, the metal portion of a hose freezing can cause an interior pipe to rupture. Which won't be a huge deal until you try to use that hose and it floods underneath your house--and whatever room that hose bib shares a wall with. It can be a pretty expensive fix, so take my advice: weather-proof your house. Remove hoses from hose bibs and move them inside to keep the hoses from cracking; take down any patio furniture and outdoor decorations; and wrap any exposed pipes and faucets with pool noodles and duct tape to keep them from freezing. You'll thank me when you aren't paying a $500 plumbing bill. 

2. Keep a recurring calendar of bi-annual and annual events. 

Another task Danny and I routinely forget: changing the air filter in our heating and cooling system. It's supposed to be changed every 6 months and for the first 2 years, Danny and I kept it up like clockwork. Then I had a baby and I realized, with a shock, two weeks ago that we hadn't changed the air filter in at least 8 months, but probably longer. Recurring tasks like this I now keep on a calendar in my phone that sends me reminders of things I need to do, from changing the air filters to defrosting our freezers every year. 

3. Improvements happen a little at a time.

I occasionally get it in my head that I'm going to transform my home into a Pinterest-worthy exhibition home in one weekend. Guess what, guys? It's not going to happen. Danny and I have a goal of doing one thing every weekend: spraying the yard for weeds; sweeping the driveway and porch; putting up or taking down decorations; or painting. We don't overwhelm ourselves and do one thing at a time. I'm a big fan of this method because it helps me appreciate each task as I'm doing it. If I can fit more in, I do try; but otherwise, I take it slow. 

4. It's ok if it isn't perfect. 

My kitchen doesn't have a pantry, so I turned a hallway closet into a pantry. It's kind of weird because it's right next to the bathroom, but it could be worse. Our house is not perfect: all of our furniture is hand-me-downs, including all of our bookshelves and rugs, and excluding our kitchen table which I bought for about $100; we have dings on the walls and spots that have needed repainting for years; and I still haven't painted the banister in our house. It's ok for things to be left undone until you get a moment. No need to torture yourself. You'll get there. 

5. Mistakes happen.

Danny and I have done some truly stupid things regarding taking care of our home. We've let things go, we've forgotten to leave water running leading to frozen pipes, and we've forgotten to do pretty basic tasks. You make mistakes! You live, you learn. While they can be expensive mistakes, it's nothing worth beating yourself up over. No one has a perfect home and at first, no one is a perfect home owner.