As the mercury drops and the leaves start to change colours, we know autumn is finally here. It’s time to say goodbye to beach days and BBQs and hello to chunky knit sweaters, apple picking and cozying up with a good book. If that sounds nostalgic and appealing to you, it’s probably because it conjures up the Danish concept of hygge. What is hygge? Here’s what you need to know.

What is hygge?

The exact hygge definition is hard to pin down, but it’s a Danish word associated with overall feelings of coziness and contentment. You know the warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you’re sitting around a fireplace, sipping hot cocoa while ensconced in a soft blanket and surrounded by your best friends? That’s hygge. The real hygge meaning is all about creating an atmosphere of happiness—one that we associate closely with fall and the holiday season.

How to pronounce hygge

Since it’s a Danish word, you might need to say the word out loud a few times to get the proper hygge pronunciation—which is hoo-ga. Got it? Now that you can answer, “what is hygge?” it’s time to learn how to make your space as cozy as possible this season!

What is hygge décor?

While hygge is a feeling, you can help make a space more conducive to evoking that sense of contentment by looking at how Danes decorate their homes.

According to Miek Wiking in The Little Book of Hygge, Denmark holds the record for candle consumption in Europe. That’s because candles are strongly associate with a sense of hygge—is there anything cozier than an array of softly flickering candles? Wooden design elements and ceramics are other decorative items that help conjure up a sense of warmth and wellbeing. If you need some design inspiration, think of a cozy cabin or chalet and try to emulate that aesthetic in your home.

Make your living space even more inviting with a plethora of soft cushions, floor pillows and throws so you can always snuggle up to discover your new favourite book or movie.

Food can also help you create a sense of hygge. Comforting dishes—and recipes that take a long time to cook—like mac and cheese, freshly baked chocolate chip cookies simmering soups and stews and braised meats are all extremely hygge. Aren’t you getting cozy just thinking about them? If you’re hosting during the fall, consider serving family style so everyone feels comfortable filling their plates and reaching for more.

Hot beverages are another hygge essential. Wiking says many in Denmark prefer coffee as their hot drink of choice, so get out the Chemex or Bodum French press. These brewing methods are excellent for one, or for a crowd, because you can make a lot of coffee at once and keep refilling your mug with more! For those who don’t drink coffee, tea, hot chocolate or apple cider would make a great alternative.

Now that you’re ready for fall, you should be inspired to hit pause and create special moments with your loved ones. Disconnect, unplug and settle in with your nearest and dearest and fully experience the coziness that is hygge.