Book review: The Art of Hygge

Want to know a secret? I don’t know if you’ve heard, but hygge is THE hot topic of autumn 2016. There are something like nine books about hygge being released in the next month or so, which is amazing considering nobody in the UK really knew what it was when I started blogging about it in January 2015. That’s why I’m very excited to bring you my thoughts on the first of these books, The Art of Hygge by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen!

The Art of Hygge by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen

The aim of this book is to help readers discover how you can bring Danish cosiness into your life, and it certainly achieves that. What immediately strikes me about this book is the abundant cosy photography – you can paint a pretty good picture with words, but if you’ve only just discovered hygge then sometimes it’s easier to understand when you look at a picture of a crackling log fire, or a pair of toasty socks, or gloved hands curled around a mug of hot chocolate. Every few pages, you’ll find a double-page spread of hygge inspiration – Pinterest on paper, essentially, and it’s a beautiful curation of only the cosiest hygge imagery.

The Art of Hygge by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen

The book is split into six chapters:

  1. Creating the Hygge Mood at Home
  2. Items to Craft for Instant Hygge
  3. Decorating the Home
  4. Comforting Recipes for Cosy Nights In
  5. Seasonal Outdoor Activities
  6. Simple Pleasures

My favourite chapter is the one dedicated to seasonal outdoor activities. I believe that you can experience hygge everywhere, and this chapter is about getting out into nature to cultivate hygge for yourself. British nature isn’t actually too different from Denmark’s, so woodland walks, bonfires and stargazing are all very achievable activities here on home turf. Since I’ve been writing and reading about hygge, I’ve spotted some comments saying that it’s only for the middle classes who can afford to spend time and money on comfort and self-care, but this is the perfect reminder that it’s really not. Watching the night sky and walking on the beach costs nothing! There’s a quote in the book that I really like that sums up what it’s like to experience hygge out in nature:

I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery… I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy’. – Sylvia Plath

As we approach winter, you’re probably going to be thinking about creating your little hygge nest at home. One of the questions I’m most frequently asked is ‘How can I bring more hygge into my house?’, and this book covers the classic hygge experience perfectly. There are some great tips to help you make the most of what you’ve already got, such as optimising your natural light and introducing nature into your home, this time accompanied with a cute Danish proverb:

Fresh air keeps the doctor poor.

It’s easy to think that hygge is expensive, but it absolutely doesn’t have to be. Virtually everyone already has cushions and blankets and throws, and you can buy tealights in bulk from IKEA for a few pounds – it’s about setting your home up in a way that makes experiencing hygge easy, whether that’s clever lighting, bundling all your cosy soft furnishings up on the sofa or even getting more fresh air in the room. And once you have a hygge-ready home, you can think about introducing more of the simple pleasures mentioned in chapter 6 into your routine. This helps you take advantage of your newly cosy surroundings with activities to maximise hygge with inspiration to get you feeling calm, comfortable and ready to forget the stresses of the day.

The Art of Hygge by Jonny Jackson and Elias Larsen

If you’re a total newcomer to hygge, or know someone who needs to find out about it as soon as yesterday, this is the perfect book to get yourself acquainted with the concept. Of all the hygge books I’ve come across so far, this certainly seems to epitomise hygge the best, and even reading the book is a cosy experience in itself. It retails at £9.99, and is available on Amazon.

If you want to win a copy for yourself, head to Twitter right now where I’m giving away The Art of Hygge! Simply follow me and retweet this post to be in with a chance of winning. You have until 23rd September to enter – good luck!

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. AngelJem says:

    It’s true the pictures in this are beautiful, but I actually preferred the other two books that came out at similar times; Louisa Thomsen Brits uses such beautiful quotes in hers and sums up the philosophy of hygge, while Meik Wiking deserves a prize for his name alone. I love the design and content of his book, and I’d love his hygge manifesto as a poster. I hope you’ll be reviewing those two as well?
    Love the blog, by the way. I’m a hygge fan as well, and I think it’s brilliant to see it making the big time at last!

    1. Hello! Thanks for the comment 🙂 I’m actually going to be posting an interview with Meik Wiking later this week, great timing! His book is BEAUTIFUL, and I love all the research. Always pleased to hear from another hygge fan!

  2. sew vintage emporium says:

    I’ve ordered this book and the other one you reviewed by Meik Wiking from my local library. I can’t wait to get my hands on them and although I’ve yet to check them out from the library, they are already on my Amazon wish list. Is it just me who does this? Check out a book at the library and if I absolutely adore it, I simply must order it from Amazon for my personal library? Anyway, wiling the afternoon away at the library is one of my favourite things to do. If only they offered a more hyggeligt environment… bright overhead lighting and hard office chairs aren’t ideal but the books…. ah! The books!

    1. I used to love visiting my local library! We used to go on a Friday morning at school and it was always a highlight. I was a real bookworm as a child and I’m the same way now! And yes, they could definitely do with a few tips from the hygge community – just maybe steer clear of candles around all those books 😉

      1. sew vintage emporium says:

        oh yes of course! I was thinking more of decent sofas, bean bags with throws, some softer lighting or lamps… I could start up the worlds first bohemian style library. Ah, what bliss that would be!

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