In an effort to bring hygge to a room, many people mistakenly just pile on the throw pillows and blankets, plants and candles galore. But hygge requires a thoughtful, pared-down approach to begin with.

To bring hygge to a room, start with a clean slate. Decide what the function of a room is and furnish it appropriately. If you’re going to read in the room, make sure there’s a cozy reading chair or couch, a good reading light, and a place to set a cup of tea or glass of wine. If it’s a bedroom, you might start with a comfortable (preferably natural fiber) mattress and inviting bedding, functional nightstands and nightlights. Make sure every room has good air circulation (open the windows often) and relies on the use of natural materials.

Remember, for this first hygge design step, to keep the room’s foundation simple and clean. A neutral color palette for your background is ideal. Though not yet cozy, the room should feel fresh and pleasant.

In this neutral, modern room, the wood stairs and textured rug provide a hint of hygge. Imagine what welcome a handful of carefully chosen items would bring.

Any room—including bathrooms and kitchens—can benefit from hygge. This bathroom is a beautiful, clean starting point. Can you imagine it in candlelight, with some textured towels in your favorite color, and a perfectly placed plant?

Read our next post to learn how to warm up the space you’ve created with hygge.

Do you have a room that suffers from too much of a good thing (so many pillows that you can’t sit on the couch without moving them, or so many plants that you can’t reach them all for tending, for example)?