UNLESS YOU HAVE a flat-screen television or a gaming console, a sitting room can look oddly formal, conjuring the stiff, repression-inducing parlors of the Victorian era. The cure, according to British designer Ilse Crawford, can be found in the Danish concept of “hygge.” The word, coined in the late 18th century and pronounced “hoo-guh,” is most often translated as “cozy,” but can refer to just about anything that creates a relaxed, contented atmosphere: a warm bowl of oatmeal on a subzero day, a lively cafe in the dreary winter months or a gathering of tease-able friends around a hearth.
This living room by Ms. Crawford doesn’t have a fireplace, but it still hits a hygge high note, combining beckoning textures, seductive seating and even a rather extroverted plant. Installed as a temporary vignette at the Apartment, a Copenhagen decorative arts gallery disguised as a private home, the seating area is grounded by the new Ilse Sofa from Ms. Crawford’s London firm Studioilse; selections from the Apartment’s inventory of antiques and new furniture keep it company. The space reflects Ms. Crawford’s long exposure to the cult of coziness. “My mother was Danish and we were brought up with this idea,” she said. “It’s about creating atmosphere and designing to support how you live.” Here, a few strategies to create a seating zone that’s fully hygge.