You’ve probably heard to Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) which is otherwise known as the art of enjoying life’s simple pleasures, or wellness for short. While some might dismiss it as nonsense, others believe the Danes’ appreciation of candlelight, good friends and good food is the reason Denmark is the happiest place in the world (apparently). While making gløgg (that’s mulled wine to you) and filling your home with candles may seem like a hassle - not to mention a fire hazard - there’s a host of gadgets to cheat at Hygge without having to chop wood or move to Denmark. From plush electric blankets to artisan coffee makers and that all-important mood lighting, we’ve rounded up some top tech to keep you cosy.
A kick-ass fire
There are few things cosier than sitting round an open fire. But having to hunt for suitable fuel in chilly weather and toil over breaking logs is not quite as romantic. Luckily, for a cosy cheat, there are a host of new, attractive fires that switch on at a touch of a button. Smeg’s Retro Electric Fire may not produce that lovely smell, but it won’t blacken your walls or take up much room either. The L30FABE comes in four colours - including a festive red - and doesn't require a flue, for more flexibility in the home. The compact fire has a digital display to enable users to adjust the temperature, flame intensity and timer, while a remote control allows them to choose from seven heat settings and boasts a thermostat to keep running costs down.
Price: £344 | Buy Retro Electic Fire
Cosy mood lighting
The flicker of flames can add an invitingly warm glow to any room and devotees of Hygge use plenty of tasteful white candles. But if you’re more of a fan of practical central heating than candles and fires, a clever light can amp up the ambience. The Philips Living Colours Iris table lamp is designed to change the atmosphere of a room and enables users to choose from 16 million LED colours – so they can transform their lounge into a disco as easily as give it a welcoming glow. The lamp comes with a remote control so the light can be changed at the touch of a button. And now there's a 'Friends of Hue' option that's designed to work with Philips' Hue light bulbs so that all the lights can be controlled via a phone app.
A Danish thriller
While Hygge devotees may choose knitting over watching television, for those jumping on the bandwagon, a moody Danish drama may be a good option. There are lots of Scandi programmes to choose from on 4OD’s ‘Walter Presents’ section, including a gripping Danish box-set called Dicte – Crime Reporter. The gritty and at times heart-warming show, which features a flawed heroine, will keep you on the edge of your seat and you’ll even pick up the odd Danish phrase too, thanks to the subtitles. It’s a great way to spend a grey afternoon soaking up some Scandi noir while snuggled up with friends or a hot chocolate.
A luxurious blanket
A hand-woven woollen blanket or even a sheepskin may make for an authentic way to keep warm on a winter’s day – as well as make for a great Instagram #hygge shot – but for pure convenience it’s hard to beat an electric blanket. The good news is that they now look more stylish. The Dreamland 16340 faux fur throw resembles an attractive furry blanket with the addition of a control with an LED display. Suitable for use in bed or on the sofa, it has six different heat settings and is said to warm up in just five minutes - perfect if you've just come in from a wintery walk. It automatically shuts down after three hours for peace of mind and is claimed to cost just one penny per use so you won’t get a nasty surprise when opening your electricity bill.
Price: £99 | Buy Dreamland 16340
Soup the lazy way
A favourite of those suffering with cold or flu, soup seems to have almost magical medicinal properties, but is also a healthy and hearty dinner option throughout the colder months. While there’s something wholesome about stirring home-made soup over a hot hob, it can be time consuming and impractical during the busy working week. Morphy Richards’ latest soup maker, the Total Control Soup Maker promises to be a game-changer thanks to a sauté function, which lets users drop in onions, bacon and garlic, for example and cook them before adding veg and stock into the body of the machine. There are a number of settings with the option to make smooth or chunky soup and blend it – all with minimal fuss. Washing up is also a breeze thanks to the machine’s non-stick coating and it holds enough to serve four people.
Price: £99 | Buy Total Control Soup Maker
A satisfying coffee maker
Hygge centres on acknowledging a moment instead of speeding through life’s daily tasks. So making a cup of tea or coffee is an excuse for an enjoyable mini ritual. Instead of simply asking you to press a button, the Rok coffee machine makes creating a cup of joe more of a hands-on experience. The manual machine doesn’t use electricity. Instead, users simply have to add ground coffee to the filter, fill the reservoir with boiling water and then raise the machine’s arms, before pushing them down again to squeeze the coffee into a waiting cup. Why not make it a special one? Applying differing amounts of pressure to the arms changes the speed at which the coffee is plunged and its flavour.
Price: £129 | Buy Rok coffee machine
The perfect accompaniment to a good cup of coffee or an evening spent curled up on the sofa is a pair of comforting slippers. While a fluffy novelty pair may bring you joy and heat-up plug-in versions are all the rage, Nordisk Mos Run slippers are known for being particularly warm. The act of popping them on after a day of work could itself become a mini Hygge ritual. Made from polyester and filled with duck down, they’re like a sleeping bag or Puffa jacket for the toes and even have faux fur lining. They also have a water-resistant sole to provide grip and the backs can be easily folded down if you prefer a mule style.
Price: £22 | Buy Nordisk Mos Run
Scented candles look and smell great, but naked flames have their drawbacks, especially if there are kids and pets around. Aroma diffusers, on the other hand, are great for filling a room with a subtle smell – perhaps even an alpine or festive scent. Muji makes diffusers in two sizes. They contain a tank in which essential oil can be poured and use ultrasonic waves to vapourise water and the oil, producing a dry, fragrant mist. For extra ambiance, the larger diffuser contains a lamp to produce a soft glow. The oils are inexpensive and can be easily swapped in and out for comforting vanilla scents at Christmas and zingy citrus for the summer.
Price: £40.50 | Buy Muji diffuser
A good book
Much-loved paperbacks or precious leather-bound tomes passed down the generations may be quite Hygge, but an e-reader provides more variety, holding a library in a very small space. The newest member of the Kindle family is the Oasis. The eight-generation e-reader is the smallest, lightest and fastest Kindle yet and comes with a charging cover that delivers a month of battery life. The device weighs just 131 grams and is 3.4 mm thick at its slimmest point, as well as having an ergonomic grip to make reading for hours quite comfortable. The 300 ppi Paperwhite display is the brightest so far and displays text and pictures crisply. Like all Kindle screens, it lets users read a book in any light without any glare.
Price: £269.99 | Buy Amazon Kindle Oasis
A fold-out sauna
Taking a sauna is a Nordic tradition, and comes with health benefits as well as being a relaxing way to unwind after a long day at work. Those taking Hygge very seriously could install a sauna in their bedroom. Klafs’ S1 sauna is the world's first foldable sauna that retracts at the touch of a button. It's designed to squeeze into the tightest of spots and is just 60cm deep - much like a wardrobe. By pressing the control panel, users can make the S1 extend to three times is size in just 20 seconds using eMove technology. There's a fold-out wooden bench, concealed air channel system and the Drive Home System, which heats the sauna. It comes in three sizes and a choice of woods and front panels.
Price: From £9,354 | Buy S1 sauna