BoConcept and the (Irresistible) Danish Notion of Hygge

Hue-gah. In case you’re wondering, that’s how to pronounce “hygge,” a Danish and Norwegian word for a mood of coziness, comfort and conviviality.   

“Hygge is a very important notion for Danes and people living in Scandinavian countries, it’s part of their DNA,” said Tim Machenaud, owner of BoConcept Georgetown, a furniture store in the 3300 block of M St. NW.   

“These are all mixed together to give the mindset of giving ourselves pleasure, which is very important,” Machenaud added.  

BoConcept is a Danish company, around since 1952. Initially furniture manufacturers, they later decided to open a brand store to sell their own furnishings. The brand began in Paris in 1993, eventually expanding to Georgetown in 2001. Today there are over 300 BoConcept stores in 65 countries.  

“We’re celebrating 21 years in Georgetown, I’d say we’re allowed to celebrate and have a glass of wine,” joked Machenaud, now that the furniture shop is of legal drinking age in the U.S.  

Machenaud was country manager of BoConcept in France and then in 2016, had the opportunity to take over and buy the Georgetown store. He jumped at the chance, as he’s of French descent, though his parents moved to the U.S. when he was a teen.   

“My dad had an office in Georgetown on Canal Square above what used to be the Sea Catch Restaurant,” he said. After earning an international business degree from the University of Maryland, Machenaud found himself in the same building above the Sea Catch as his father.   

“I guess you could say I’ve always been drawn to Georgetown one way or another,” he said.  

With the cold winter D.C.’s been having, the concept of hygge is crucial to surviving these long winter months. Machenaud described hygge as a “search for happiness and comfort,” whether it’s a cozy sofa, hot chocolate after being outside in the cold all day, or a glass of wine with family and friends after a hard day’s work.  

The light shining through, the cozy bed, pillows and comforter, “hygge” all around. Photo courtesy BoConcept.

To bring the concept of hygge into your own home, Machenaud recommends creating a sense of comfort using different materials like plaids or extra cushions on your couch to create a cocoon feeling to wrap yourself in. “Danes only see six hours of sunlight during the winter,” he said. “They tend to gravitate toward bright furniture, often white, or woods like oak in order to give a warm feeling.”  

Machenaud also suggests the use of candles, as Danes are known as the Europeans who use candles the most. “Candles give a lot of warm feelings, especially during long winter nights,” Machenaud said, illuminatingly. “Scandinavian countries are known to be some of the happiest in the world, creating happy homes is so important to them.”  

Machenaud mentioned the U.S. as being number 19 on a list he recently read of the happiest countries in the world. He hopes that Americans can be inspired by hygge and create that sense of well-being in their homes.  







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