6 Easy Ways to Hygge in the Summer

published Jul 12, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Living room with dark green walls, chandelier, ornate fireplace with candles, natural textile rug, European style furnishings
Credit: Julia Arceri

It can be a struggle to define the Danish concept of “hygge” in a single English word. Instead, you may have come to know it as a series of feelings, sensations, or rituals — think lighting candles, playing board games with friends, cozying up with a book and a chunky knit blanket. In Denmark, where winters are long, dark, and cold, a hygge state of mind helps fend off seasonal depression by celebrating life’s simple pleasures and spending quality time with your communities. 

But, according to Meik Wiking, author of “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living” and CEO of The Happiness Research Institute, “the connection between hygge and happiness shouldn’t be solely traced back to the climate.” That’s why, when I asked the Institute about how to embody hygge in the hot months, Wiking emphasized that this concept represents fostering togetherness overall. “Hygge acts as an everyday driver of happiness and can be practiced in any form of community,” Wiking adds. “And it is especially those social connections that create the association between hygge and happiness.”

Summer marks a fantastic time for socializing, especially outdoors, as well as connecting with nature and slowing down — other pillars of the hygge state of being. But, if you’re finding the summer a slog and seeking new simple ways to find joy, then viewing the sticky season through the lens of this Danish mindset may help. Bring the comforts, rituals, and happiness associated with hygge into your home with these tips, even in the heat.

Throw a Small, Intimate Get-Together.

Though Wiking admits that winter constitutes hygge’s “high season,” he notes you can still channel that warm, fuzzy feeling with “a picnic or barbecue in the park with your loved ones, or sitting around a bonfire during a summer night.” The key here? Keep the group small so that friends, family, or neighbors can engage in authentic conversations with one another throughout the evening. As for the event itself, try arranging a gorgeous garden party or rooftop soireé, complete with bistro lights, floor poufs, and party games. Consider making it a themed potluck so everyone contributes, too.

Credit: Erin Derby

Pay Attention to Texture.

Swap your winter blankets, sheepskins, and Pendleton wools for lighter, breezier textiles during the summer. Think linen, cotton, or open-weave or waffle knits. It’s still nice to cozy up under a throw in the warmer months (especially during thunderstorms — is there anything better?), but these fabrics offer more breathability for temperature regulation.

Credit: Fusionstudio/Shutterstock

Bring Nature Inside.

A hygge state of mind entails being observant, present, and in awe of nature. In the summer, if you live near a park or field, try going outside in the morning to forage for wildflowers. Or, treat yourself to a variety of blooms from your local grocery store and learn a few easy DIY flower arranging tips for an easy (and affordable) bouquet. Look for local fruit at the farmer’s market to keep in a statement bowl as well, for a nod to the sweet pleasures of the season.

Credit: Julie Finn

Create a Cozy Sitting Area.

Carve out an inviting place to curl up with a book, either inside or outside. Start with a French bistro set, a freestanding hammock, or an outdoor swing. Then make your lounge areas even cozier by adding in pillows, lightweight throws, and a stack of books. In communal living areas, aim to think of new ways to facilitate togetherness, like setting board games out on the coffee table or arranging furniture pieces to face one other for easy conversation.

Credit: Photo: Alpha Smoot; Prop Styling: Ed Gallagher

Keep a Seasonal Beverage on Tap.

Wintertime calls for cups of hot tea, coffee, or perhaps glögg (a Danish mulled wine). In the summer, you can create go-to beverages that feel just as craveable but cooling and refreshing versus cozy. Invest in an infusion pitcher to concoct seasonal flavored waters you can sip on all day, using fresh ingredients like strawberry, mint, cucumber, and more — the combinations are endless. Drink from colorful glassware to make staying hydrated tasty, beautiful, and its own special ritual.

Celebrate Natural Light.

Hygge-minded rooms often center around warm, soft lighting that mimics the Kelvin temperature of the sun, which is key to making a space feel warm in the winter. In the summer, when there’s no shortage of natural light, embrace it! Open your drapes and blinds to help the sun streaming in to bounce around the room with mirrors (or a disco ball). If the sun tends to beat into your home, soften it with sheer, diffused panels.