Winter is the Jekyll and Hyde of the four seasons, a blizzardy mix of conflicting personalities. It comforts the well-meaning people of the North with beautiful snow and hot cocoa topped with marshmallows. Then it tosses them out in the literal cold to trudge through dirty parking lot slush and biting wind just to grab a bag of groceries.
Despite the weather, life goes on. People go to work, make dinner, and yes… even sell their home. If you’re one of those folks with a skating rink driveway and for-sale sign skewered into the frozen ground, you’ll need a strategy that plays to winter’s “nice” side.
As it turns out, Denmark has its own special word for this. It’s called “hygge” (pronounced like “hue-gah” or “hoo-gah”) and with just six letters, this wonderful trend somehow conveys all the coziness, kinship, and candles of a thousand Hallmark movies.
With 5.3 million Instagram posts tagged #hygge out there and Minnesota real estate groups now offering their own “hygge” staging techniques, don’t write off this phenomenon that’s both a lifestyle and a home decor sensation. A dash or two of hygge could be just what your house needs to make a tired winter buyer feel warm and fuzzy enough to make an offer.
What is hygge style and where can you find it?
The word hygge, which doesn’t have an equivalent meaning in English, hails from Denmark, and in essence refers to life’s simple pleasures, including peace and serenity in a clutter-free home. Cool nights meet warmth indoors in a relaxed, companionable setting. Hygge might be the moment you put your slippered feet up on the hearth, wrap yourself in a wool blanket, or sip a steaming cup of cider.
According to a 2019 Sterling’s Best Places ranking, some cities in America are more “hygge” than others. The study looked at factors including:
- “Cozy Weather” (average snowfall, cloudy days, and minimum temperatures)
- Common “Hygge Pastimes” like curling up with a great novel, cooking, or a good old fashioned game of cards
- Concentration of “Hygge Venues” like local coffee shops
- Bonus points for cities where a large percentage of homes have fireplaces
By these standards Seattle, Portland, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Denver, Rochester, Hartford, Boston, Cleveland, and Milwaukee are the Top 10 Hygge Cities in the U.S. If you’re selling a home in any of these places, the vibe might be just right for a little hygge.
However, skip the “cozy” factor if you hail from LA, Miami, San Antonio, or Tucson. A wool blanket staged by the fireplace has little impact when it’s 100 degrees outside.
How to infuse your home with hygge
Follow these tips to make everything about your home soft and inviting. No need to use them all, but pick a few cozy touches and you’ll strike the right kind of visual appeal for a “hygge” home sale:
Paint your walls a soothing color
Use Sherwin Williams’ naturally neutral palette with built-in hygge appeal. HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams has introduced its Everyday Balance Color Collection. Inspired by hygge design style, the new assortment of colors is a part of its 2019 Color Collection of the Year.
Adopt a neutral tone with your furniture
Dump the flower-patterned couch from your great-aunt Laura’s heyday. Replace it with something like Overstock’s linen tuxedo arm L-shaped sectional. Don’t have the cash on hand for new furniture? Slide a slipcover like Target’s Farmhouse Basketweave over your existing furniture.
Infuse your space with actual light
Stick to sheers like Amazon’s Empire Home extra long window sheer curtains and stay away from room-darkening curtains or shades.
Create a cozy seating area vignette
Cover a few regular pillows with some neutral-colored fuzzy shams, and stage them on your comfiest chair next to a window. It’ll look as if it’s basking in the waning daylight of a late winter afternoon.
Make sure your home is warm, but not too warm
You don’t want your home to feel like the inside of a furnace. A comfortable 74 degrees is just about right. On the flip side, fix any drafty windows and doors so your prospective buyers are comfortable.
Get rid of clutter
Pack up the kids’ toys. Recycle magazines and newspapers. No overstuffed baskets full of mail in the kitchen. Less is more: It’s the hallmark of hygge style.
Drape a soft, shaggy blanket over the couch
You want to convey through casual folds that you can find warmth there during an icy winter day—something like this shaggy longfur should do the trick.
Pad your guests’ feet with a soft rug
Place these sweater rugs in a few key landing spots. Soft accessories like rugs always create an inviting space.
Top it off with a few thoughtful details
Find hygge music on Spotify for a cozy vibe. Add a shiny carafe of hot chocolate. Stick a Pottery Barn tea towel under a pitcher of water for parched guests. Throw a sprig of spearmint in the water for some flair.
Can hygge help you sell your home?
Hygge’s nod to a simpler lifestyle can influence home buyers, but remember that hygge isn’t the only method available to you when you’re trying to sell your home.
Check out HomeLight’s staging data for more ideas—you’ll learn more about the rooms that are best to stage and what you can expect to get out of it. Every house and city is different, though, so chat with a top local real estate agent about hygge trends in your neck of the woods before you go too crazy. Remember, the whole point of hygge is not to stress!
Header Image Source: (Photographee.eu/ Shutterstock)