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10 Ways to Master the Danish Art of Hygge in Your Home

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Long, dark winter nights and stormy weather have us craving a roaring fire, fluffy slippers, and a soft blanket to curl up under. As the Danes would say, we want to get hygge. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Danish concept of coziness and intimacy—as one tea company puts it, hygge is "taking pleasure from the soothing, ordinary, and inexpensive things in life"—and it has made its way across the Atlantic. To achieve optimal hygge in your own home, grab a warm drink, put on your chunkiest sweater, and check out the below tips.

1. HEAT THINGS UP.

A flickering fire can instantly make any space feel intimate. If you don't have a fireplace in your home, create that warm and cozy vibe by arranging candles of different sizes and shapes into a cluster, says Kayleigh Tanner, owner of the U.K.-based blog Hello Hygge. “My favorites are Yankee Candles in scents like cinnamon and vanilla, but a bag of cheap tea lights will do the trick just as well,” Tanner says.

2. BRING THE OUTDOORS INSIDE.

Take a cue from nature (which is innately relaxing and stress-busting) and add some greenery to your home. Can't keep plants alive? Add natural materials like leather, stone, and wood to your space.

3. TURN OFF THE LIGHTS.

Unless you have a dimmer, overhead lights are often too bright to create the homey feeling you're after. So turn off that light and rely on table lamps instead, Tanner says.

4. STREAMLINE.

Cozy spaces might be small, but that doesn't mean they're cluttered. Kate Marengo, founder and president of Interior Chicago, says you can’t relax in spaces that are overwhelming. So before you add your hygge touches (candles, a throw, books), take a page from Marie Kondo's book and strip away any extraneous items that don't bring you joy.

5. REACH FOR SOMETHING SOFT.

Texture is a big part of hygge, says Pia Edberg, Vancouver-based author of The Cozy Life. Edberg suggests surrounding yourself with soft items like knitted fleece throw blankets, fluffy pillows, shag rugs, and comfy furniture.

6. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH OBJECTS THAT TELL A STORY.

"There are studies about how hygge in Denmark shies far away from consumerism,” Edberg says. Instead of stocking up on mass-produced items, decorate your home with furniture and accents that are meaningful to you. Edberg says this could mean the items were given to you as gifts, you purchased them on your travels, or they are antiques with a rich history.

7. KEEP THE HOT DRINKS COMING.

Tanner recommends making your tea kettle your new best friend. She digs Hoogly Tea, a British company that makes hygge their business by selling creative tea blends such as Vanilla Chai, Around the Fire, and Marzipan. Not a tea person? Cocoa or coffee will also do the trick.

8. SET THE TABLE.

Time with family or friends, especially while sharing a great meal, is essential to the hygge philosophy, so you’ll need a great dining room table. Danes love a great wooden table and hand-crafted chairs (many will pass down an Arne Jacobsen or a Hans Wegner chair from generation to generation), but any dining room set will do—the important part is spending mealtimes together, says Helen Russell, author of The Year of Living Danishly.

9. SCRUB-A-DUB-DUB, HEAD TO THE TUB.

“Not many people think about the bathroom when they’re making their home cozier, but think about making a more relaxing environment for the next time you take a soothing bath,” Tanner says. You can do this by lighting a few candles and integrating essential oils and bath products with relaxing scents into your routine. Big, fluffy towels and a quality bathmat are also great additions.

10. GET SMART.

Technology is your secret weapon in making your home cozy, says Carly Pokornowski Moeller, owner and registered interior designer at Unpatterned in Chicago. Wireless speakers can help you use music to set the right mood throughout your home. And, Pokornowski Moeller says, adding a total smart home system (like Nest) can allow you to change the temperature or turn off the lights in any room right from your smartphone. This way you can stop running from room to room to adjust and can just be present.

All images courtesy of iStock.

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Amsterdam is Turning Plastic Trash Into 3D-Printed Furniture
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PrintYourCity

The city of Amsterdam in the Netherlands is taking a unique approach to waste management, Inhabitat reports. Under the direction of The New Raw, a Rotterdam-based design studio, recycled plastic is being used to make public benches that capture a lot of the area’s charm while providing solutions for the 51 pounds of plastic refuse each Amsterdam resident tosses away each year.

The initiative is called Print Your City! and encourages those materials to be repurposed via 3D printing to make new, permanent fixtures. The New Raw calls it a “closed loop” of use, where the plastic is used, reused, and materialized in the same environment. The bench, dubbed XXX, seats two and rocks back and forth with the sitters' movements, offering a metaphor for the teamwork The New Raw is attempting to cultivate with the general public.

A plastic chair is surrounded by trash
Print Your City!

“Plastic has a major design failure,” says Panos Sakkas, an architect with The New Raw. “It’s designed to last forever, but it’s used only for a few seconds and then easily thrown away.”

The goal is to collect more plastic material in the city to use for projects that can be designed and implemented by citizens. In the future, 3D printing may also support bus shelters, waste bins, and playground material—all of it recyclable.

[h/t Inhabitat]

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Watch a Chain of Dominos Climb a Flight of Stairs
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Dominos are made to fall down—it's what they do. But in the hands of 19-year-old professional domino artist Lily Hevesh, known as Hevesh5 on YouTube, the tiny plastic tiles can be arranged to fall up a flight of stairs in spectacular fashion.

The video spotted by Thrillist shows the chain reaction being set off at the top a staircase. The momentum travels to the bottom of the stairs and is then carried back up through a Rube Goldberg machine of balls, cups, dominos, and other toys spanning the steps. The contraption leads back up to the platform where it began, only to end with a basketball bouncing down the steps and toppling a wall of dominos below.

The domino art seems to flow effortlessly, but it took more than a few shots to get it right. The footage below shows the 32nd attempt at having all the elements come together in one, unbroken take. (You can catch the blooper at the end of an uncooperative basketball ruining a near-perfect run.)

Hevesh’s domino chains that don't appear to defy gravity are no less impressive. Check out this ambitious rainbow domino spiral that took her 25 hours to construct.

[h/t Thrillist]

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