Why are so many fond of the Nordic lifestyle and Nordic home design? Because the Nordic love of clean design, nature, light, and living the good life all embrace “Hygge.”

Hygge is a Danish word that means “cozy warmth” – spending time with the ones you love, in a home that’s filled with light and well-loved items that bring you pleasure. It’s a Nordic state of contentment that can only be found at home, and can only be created by the people in that home.

If you’d like to enjoy this lifestyle, follow these steps:

Organize and declutter. Scandinavians like both order and selection, and see beauty in simple, everyday things, such as a Shelf of color-coordinated books, a pile of neatly folded towels, or a jewel-toned row of home canned fruits on the pantry shelf.

Live close to, and in nature. While Scandinavians do appreciate conveniences such as reliable Wi-Fi, they don’t have to have central heating, or even running water, to enjoy life. They love landscapes and sceneries, and love bringing nature inside. Country homes with floor to ceiling windows (triple glazed to keep winter winds outside) allow for scenes of nature all day long. And, while Scandinavians appreciate the beauty of winter snows, a Scandinavian home is often filled with simple terra-cotta pots and green plants to keep nature alive through the longest winter.

Design for the good life. For Nordics, living with design is about living well, caring about how things around you make you feel, and caring about good craftsmanship. It’s not at all about trying to impress. Both homes and furnishings are designed in the “form follows function” mode. That’s not to say Nordic homes and furnishings aren’t beautiful, and sometimes even funky.

Love Light. When you think of Nordic design you think of white walls and pared-back interiors, and of course that’s not always true. Although Nordics do love all shades of white, there are plenty of colorful Nordic homes. However, Nordics always seek to let in the light and to design rooms that are bright and cheerful, allowing in the light even when the rays of the sun are low on the horizon, and reflecting it back to every corner.

See things in black and white. The Nordic climate has no darkness in summer and no light in winter, making these northern countries nations of extremes. With deep-running currents of emotion, Nordics are attracted to opposites, even in their homes. Whites, which chase away the gloom of darkness in winter, are offset by blacks, which temper the constant light of summer. This contrast creates a perfect balance of interior yin and yang that works around the world.

Shop and live sustainably. The five Nordic nations are graced by large swaths of forest, making wood a prime source of building materials. This is the material that is close at hand, renewable, and friendly to interior environments. Rather than import plastics and other commercially produced materials, Nordics construct everything from saunas to stools from the pine and spruce logged from Nordic forests.

Always buy an original.

Nordics value quality over quantity. For instance, Scandinavians prefer to buy one Poul Henningsen lamp rather than a dozen knockoffs. Knowing that originals will hold their value for a lifetime and beyond makes them worth the price. This attitude is no doubt one of the reasons you’ll seldom see a cluttered Nordic home.

Make space for the children. Scandinavians believe children should be both seen and heard, and that playtime is important. Perhaps that’s why Legos originated in Denmark and the video game Minecraft was invented in Sweden.

If you would like to enjoy a Nordic lifestyle, you can start with a home designed in the Scandinavian fashion, or begin taking small steps to transform the home you have. Either way, I wish you hygge.