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Hygge at home: Easy DIY projects for fall and winter

Updated: Jan 27, 2023

Hygge is one of my favorite words in Danish. It’s an incredibly important word in our culture and embodies a concept that is unique to Scandinavia.


But it’s a difficult word to actually define as it can be a verb, noun, and an adjective. The closest English translation would be cozy.


For me, hygge in the autumn means snuggling up in a blanket with a big, warm fire outside surrounded by family and friends. Nature plays a big part in my view of hygge, and I use a lot of it in my crafting to bring the feeling of hygge into my living space.


I think no space can be cozier than when it has natural living elements displayed and used in creative ways.


For these hygge crafts I wanted to keep the colors natural and focus on bringing the outside inside. We’re going to use grays, bronzes, and shades of gold as these mimic the colors that we see happening all around us in the fall.


I hope that using these elements, and giving them a place in your home, will bring this feeling of coziness into your busy life and let you slow down a bit and enjoy the incredible creation that surrounds us all. Hyg jer. (Have a cozy time)


Table decorations for hygge


This table is inspired by a traditional Danish holiday called Mortensaften. It’s one of the only holidays we have in the autumn and is one where family and friends gather together for a meal that traditionally celebrates harvest.


I grew up on a small farm near the coast and this holiday was always one of my favorites. It was a chance to meet family and invite friends over and share a meal at a time of year where the days are quickly shortening and the air is becoming crisp and chill.


The beauty of this table is that it can be used for any special occasion in the autumn season. It’s a celebration of all that is happening outside in nature and gives that beauty focus on your dinner table.


It’s an all natural experience right down to the handmade napkin rings and tiny mushrooms. Not to mention the gorgeous scent of the spices and dried fruits scattered throughout the display.


This table really is a celebration of the autumn, and I hope that you take inspiration for your own Thanksgiving, Sunday dinner, or just because-I-want-to table.



Tips for your Hygge table setting

  • The centerpiece is all about bringing the lovely autumn nature to your dining table. Collect all of your favorite elements on your next walk in the park and bring them home for the centerpiece.

  • I chose to use gray charger plates to ground the table and then mixed and matched my plates and bowls for interest and a very cozy (hygge) feeling.

  • Candles are very important and I used only small candles to keep the feeling intimate and quiet.

  • Even though the plates are a variety of colors, choose one color for the napkins and drinking glasses. I chose teal as it looks beautiful against the fall autumn colors.

  • Use spices and dried fruits to fill the table with the wonderful scents of the season


How to create a centerpiece using natural materials (+ lots of hygge)


You’ll be amazed how ordinary items found outside in the forest (or from your local florist or garden shop) can be transformed into a glorious centerpiece.


We’ll start with a foundation of cut tree circles and then build our display outwards. You can use anything from moss to dried fruits to leaves that you find outdoors.


To top off the centerpiece, you can sprinkle some gorgeous spices along the edges to really bring home the autumn theme. I just love the mix of textures and colors, and I find that having nature literally at my fingertips is just so hygge.



What You'll Need

  • Wooden rounds or pieces of timber or firewood

  • Moss

  • Dried leaves and twigs

  • Pinecones

  • Seasonal greens and flowers (from the florist or from the trees outside)

  • Dried fruits (I used apples, oranges, and grapefruits)

  • Spices (I used cloves, cinnamon sticks, and star anise)

  • Candles

  • Cute as a Button Mushrooms

Directions

  1. The key is to layer your centerpiece - start with the larger objects and move to the smaller ones

  2. Place your wood or branches in the center and then use the moss to work outward toward the ends of the table - keep everything in a line so plates have room to fit

  3. Add your dried elements such as pine cones, acorns, and leaves

  4. Use fresh seasonal greens and flowers to give your centerpiece life

  5. Add dried fruits for color and tiny clay mushrooms

  6. Top off the centerpiece by sprinkling spices throughout and adding candles to draw the eye and highlight different areas

  7. This centerpiece should look like a scene from nature and therefore has no right or wrong way to do it - half of the hygge is in the making!


Table Decorations: Bronze Candle Holders


One of the most important things about the hygge lifestyle (and Danish culture) is that candles play a huge role! The soft glow of candlelight is important as the days get shorter and the night air becomes crisper.


We use a lot of candles in the autumn and winter and that’s why I came up with this craft...to help you bring more soft warm light into your homes as well.


This craft uses a natural looking gray clay, and we’re going to leave it in its natural unfinished color. I think that combining this natural look with the warm bronze painted inside is a true display of autumn, and the warm glow from the candle is oh-so-hygge!



What You'll Need

  • Air drying modeling clay

  • Small ball

  • Paintbrush

  • Acrylic paint (gold)

  • Wooden chopstick or dowel

  • Small leaf

  • Matte glaze

Directions

  1. Press the clay flat and wrap the ball halfway (you can use cooking spray on the ball before you apply the clay if the clay is too sticky)

  2. Smooth out any bumps or lumps using a bit of water and your finger

  3. While the clay is wet, press a leaf into one side (use a dowel or chopstick to firmly press it in)

  4. Remove the leaf and the ball and allow the clay to dry overnight

  5. Paint the inside of the candle holder with gold acrylic paint 2 times (allow each coat to completely dry)

  6. Add a final coat of matte glaze and allow to dry

  7. Pop in a small candle and enjoy instant hygge!


Table Decorations: Natural Napkin Rings


Napkin rings are the perfect way to make a lovely first impression.


The natural elements of these balance perfectly with the centerpiece and look as though they actually belong on the same table. I like how the texture of such humble items can give the feeling of hygge and add the perfect start to the meal.



What You'll Need

  • Napkins

  • Cinnamon stick

  • Dried fruit (orange, apple, or grapefruit)

  • Ribbon

  • Scissors

  • Dried twig or flower

Directions

  1. Roll the napkin and place on top of a piece of ribbon

  2. Layer the elements - first the twig, then the fruit, and finally the cinnamon stick

  3. Tie a simple knot or bow around the napkin and elements


Table Decorations: Cute as a Button Mushrooms


Could anything be cuter than tiny mushrooms popping up through the autumn soil? These little guys fit perfectly with our hygge goal of bringing nature indoors.


Plus they have the perfect pop of color to provide visual interest and truly take the centerpiece to another level.



What You'll Need

  • White, air drying modeling clay

  • Acrylic paint (I used brilliant red and white)

  • Paint brushes

  • Water in a cup

  • Acrylic matte glaze

Directions

  1. Mix 2 parts clay with 1 part water to form a glue

  2. Roll and shape a stem and a mushroom cap

  3. Glue the stem and cap together

  4. Allow to dry overnight

  5. Paint the cap red and allow to dry before painting a second time

  6. Once dry, add white dots if you want

  7. Once dry again, paint lightly with glaze and allow to dry


I hope you have had as much fun making these crafts and setting this table as I have!


Autumn is really a magical time of year, and it's been my pleasure to share some of this magic with you. Be sure to take what you've learned in these crafts and give it your own special twist.


Finding a way to give each craft your own special flavor is what will make them extra special for you and yours… and super hyggeligt!

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Hi! I'm Lars (Denmark).

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