How to hygge your new retirement suite

What is hygge (pronounced “hoo-guh”) and why is January the perfect time to make your home a hygge haven?

There’s no exact English translation, but hygge is a Danish concept describing a mood of coziness, contentment and comfortable conviviality. It has become a cultural phenomenon in Denmark, evoking “a form of everyday togetherness,” “a pleasant and highly valued everyday experience of safety, equality, personal wholeness and a spontaneous social flow.”*

The idea of warmth, coziness and simplicity also encompasses a style of hygge decorating that has become popular the world over. It’s well suited to northern climats, a wonderful winter re-fresh for anyone looking to decorate a new home or space.

If you are moving to a retirement residence—or simply downsizing to a smaller space—decorating using the principles of hygge is a perfect way to make your new home warm, inviting, bright and uncluttered. Here’s how to get started:

Use a warm, neutral colour scheme

Hygge advocates for light colours in neutral tones, such as pale ivory, warm greys and earth tones. The idea is to project a calming, relaxing mood.

Introduce lots of textures and pale woods

Break up the neutral tones with interesting textures that will add warmth and interest. Think of a big, chunky wool blanket or a sheepskin pillow to snuggle up to on a long January night. Add a pretty blond wood tray set with a tea pot (with its own cozy of course!) and pottery mugs.

Let there be light—candles, twinkly white lights or a fire

Hygge is all about bringing light into the darkness of a cold Danish night. The soft glow of a candle is instantly calming and relaxing, making any room special. Realistic—and safe—battery-operated candles work beautifully.

Add a string of mini twinkle-lights around your window or on your balcony or terrace for winter radiance and an inviting atmosphere for family and friends, another foundation of the hygge lifestyle.

Gathering around a fire—indoors or out—is a huge part of Danish culture. With today’s wide array of electric and realistic digital fireplaces (you can select a video of a real-life fire-in-a-fireplace to play on your TV or computer screen), your new suite will radiate warmth and hospitality.

Remove clutter—and add friends!

Hygge advocates for a tidy, uncluttered esthetic—and if you are downsizing to a retirement suite or smaller space, this is the perfect opportunity to decorate your new home with only the things you really love.

Think about creating a wall dedicated to photos, art and even cherished mementos. An uncluttered space means more room for visitors. That’s an essential tenet of hygge—enjoying life in the warm company of old friends and new. If you have just moved in, think about hosting your own hygge get-together, a great way to meet other residents in your community.

If this is the year you’re considering a retirement residence, we invite you to call Chartwell’s Contact Centre today at 1-855-461-0685, or visit

*The following source provided a reference for this blog:
1. Wikipedia. “Hygge.” (Edited November 2019), online: