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Hygge is a Danish lifestyle that emphasizes being comfy and cozy. Items from Seattle Goodwill including books, blankets, pillows, furniture, mugs and candles can help you create a warm, inviting home on a budget. DIY Guy and Decor Expert Gary Foy showed Refined how to relax and embrace the art of Hygge, including simple projects you can create to make your time at home special. (Photo: Seattle Goodwill)

The Art of Hygge: How to make your home Comfy & Cozy on a Budget

The country of Denmark is cold in the winter. Days are short and there's not much sun. But the Danish people are some of the happiest in the world. Why you might ask?

It can be summed up in a word that's tough to pronouce: Hygge.

We asked Seattle Goodwill's DIY Expert Gary Foy to give us the 4-1-1 on this design and lifestyle phenomenon.

"Hygge is the Danish lifestyle," explained Foy. "It's about being cozy and relaxing and taking those extra minutes you need to make yourself feel a little better."

How does that concept translate into life at home?

"It's about having extra blankets big pillows and reading books. Turning a couple of extra pages and an extra cup of coffee."

Seattle Goodwill is a great place to score some of these things.

Foy showed us some warm and welcoming ways to create Hygge-worthy spaces in our homes, using items curated from the sales floor.

First up-- a contemporary look.

"This is the infamous book nook... a place where you can kind of relax and unwind from the day," stated Foy.

He started with shelves and filled them with books. He added two chairs, a small table and warm blankets to complete the look.

Voila! A wonderful places to spend a few hours reading or enjoying a cup of tea with a friend.

If sleek is more your style, a chaise lounge may be the piece of furniture for you.

"Lie right back you can relax and unwind," said Foy smiling. "You know the great thing is I found this on the sales floor just sitting out there and it's got great lines and partner with a great mid century chair and've got the look."

If 'Southwest' is more your thing... Hygge works well with decor too.

"Southwest fits in really nicely with this.The best part about this is having a table that's easily accessible, coffee and then having a basket inside that basket if you want to come over."

One fun feature-- a big wicker basket filled with extra blankets.

Finally, Foy showed us a lovely table setting-- a pretty place to share a meal.

"I think the thing about setting the table it's about setting a table that can last the entire evening," said the DIY Expert.

The scene included copper cups for mulled cider as well as beer glasses and table decor inspired by the outdoors, including a candle holder created with twigs.

Project #1 Twig Candle Holder

Create an inviting rustic Twig Candle Holder with a few supplies from Seattle Goodwill.

Supplies: 40-60 twigs of varying widths, pruners, a square glass vase, burlap ribbon, scissors, hot glue and a flameless candle.


1. Using the pruners, snip twigs to lengths of 6" to 8" (varying heights add more visual interest).

2. Starting with the thicker twigs, glue pieces around vase.

3. To fill in, glue smaller twigs.

4. Cut pieces of burlap into ribbons and attach to front of face using hot glue. Make a bow if desired.

5. Drop candle in.

Project #2 Personalized Mugs

One element of hygge is sipping drinking coffee and tea-- it's even better in a personalized mug! There are tons of mugs to choose from at Seattle Goodwill.

Supplies: mugs, scissors, rubber cement, Mod Podge (dishwasher safe version), photographs printed on paper.


1. Cut photo from paper

2. Flip photo over (image side down) and completely cover the back with rubber cement.

3. Center and adhere it to the front of the mug.

4. Paint Mod Podge on the front of the image and let them dry.