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The Scots Have Their Own Version of Hygge and It's Called Còsagach

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If all you want to do in the cold, grey months of winter is hibernate indoors, we have good news. Scotland has officially given us the green light to do just that: Meet còsagach.

Like Danish hygge, Swedish lagom, and Japanese ikigai, còsagach (pronounced “kos-ah-gogh") is “based on an an old Scottish word for feeling snug, sheltered and warm,” according to Visit Scotland’s site. It’s a way of living meant to defeat things like ruts and winter blues. Through home design ideas, and eating and drinking options, còsagach promises a soothing sense of calm and coziness. It can make your living room a sanctuary when skies are grey and winds are brutal. It can make you feel at peace after the craziest day at work. Còsagach brings life back to the basics, with a distinctively Scottish twist. You might already be imagining a plaid blanket and cup of hot tea in front of the fireplace without even needing to read the specifics.

You’ll need the specifics, though, to start living your best winter life, Highlands-style. So, how do you bring còsagach into your home? Cuddle up with a hot toddy and your favorite throw, and consider these ideas.

How to Make a Hot Toddy Without a Recipe
How to Make a Hot Toddy Without a Recipe

The Colors of Còsagach

“Choosing an impactful color palette is one of the simplest ways to set the stage for a specific design trend, like còsagach,” explains Erika Woelfel, vice president of color and creative services at paint company BEHR. “By selecting warm or cool hues, people can evoke a wide variety of feelings and moods in their spaces.”

If you’re còsagach-ing a room up, the colors you choose are the easiest (and most important!) way to set the scene. They have the power to turn any space into a cozy Scottish hideaway. Woelfel has a few ideas for hues that will still be in style even if we’re discussing a new trend from a new country this time next year.

Scotland Road 450F-4, a restorative spruce hue, epitomizes a cozy escape and will remind you of the country’s lush green landscape. For a darker, cocooning shade, try Equilibrium T18-20. Whiskey Barrel N230-6, a warm brown, is the perfect complement to a crackling fireplace. Named for Scotland’s national drink, this hue will help you transition inside after a day full of outdoor adventure. If you’re looking for your new favorite neutral, a taupe grey like Off The Grid T18-08 oozes comfort and simplicity. For a bolder pick, try the darker grey Unplugged T18-11 on a statement wall or in a reading nook.”

Evenings by the Fireplace

We'll just make ourselves comfortable here, thanks.
We'll just make ourselves comfortable here, thanks.

A fireplace is pretty much the foundation of escaping the cold for a cozy evening of dreamy proportions. Just add blankets, books, and that hot toddy or tea, and you’re essentially the living definition of còsagach. This setup at Smallwoods nails the look from its greenery to its country-chic lanterns (pooch not included).

Not everyone has a fireplace, though. Fear not, Còsagach is still just as possible. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can find DIY faux fireplace ideas on sites like SF Girl or find different ways to style a decorative mantel like we often do here at Food52.

Rustic Textures

Take a moment to close your eyes and imagine a hideaway (cabin or castle, it’s your dream home, after all) among the rolling green hills of Scotland. Inside, you’re probably seeing a ton of natural wood and stone, with pops of lush greenery and richness from details from sheepskin rugs.

Bringing in warm and comforting textile might be most direct route to còsagach — you could pick up a few wool throws and knit pillows today and voilà, you’re doing the Scottish trend proud. We're already dreaming of plaid flannel pillows and chunky cable knit blankets.

Icelandic Sheepskin

Icelandic Sheepskin

Plaid Kitchen & Home Mat

Plaid Kitchen & Home Mat


Living (& Eating) the Còsagach Life

If you’ve chosen to outfit your space with natural wood tables, lambskin rugs, plaid blankets, and a (real or faux) fireplace, you might find it’s easier to incorporate còsagach elements in your everyday life. According to the Visit Scotland guide, this trend is also an excuse to treat yourself. Get away from it all by retreating to a ski lodge for the weekend, or indulge in some adventure with a snowy hike (just don't forget the snacks). Wrap up in all of that cable knit and finally finish that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for weeks. Here are a few hearty, warm-you-from-the-inside dishes we think could also round out your experience.

Secret Ingredient Beef Stew

Secret Ingredient Beef Stew by Cara Eisenpress

White Lasagna with Swiss Chard, Leeks, and Gruyère

White Lasagna with Swiss Chard, Leeks, and Gruyère by sarahschuster

How to Make Proper Scottish Shortbread at Home

How to Make Proper Scottish Shortbread at Home by londonbakes

Scottish Oatcakes

Scottish Oatcakes by fiveandspice

Heidi Swanson's Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and Garlic

Heidi Swanson's Chickpea Stew with Saffron, Yogurt, and G... by Genius Recipes

Our Favorite Chili

Our Favorite Chili by Donna

Todd Coleman's Potato Gratin

Todd Coleman's Potato Gratin by Genius Recipes

A Lighter Lamb Stew

A Lighter Lamb Stew by Lizthechef

One-Pot Chicken Chasseur

One-Pot Chicken Chasseur by Katherine Knowles

Truffled, Mustardy Mac & Cheese

Truffled, Mustardy Mac & Cheese by Samantha Weiss Hills

How Do You Feel About Haggis?
How Do You Feel About Haggis?

How would you bring the còsagach way of life into your home? Share your thoughts with us below!

Tags: Tips & Techniques, Travel, Wellness