plants and candles on top of my cupboard

It’s time to get mysigt! – 5 ways to cozy up at home during Sweden’s winter

Cozy living room
Our living room

When the maximum temperature drops to single digits, you know it’s time to pull out your winter gear. Sweden’s official meteorological definition for winter is five days of sub-zero temperature. The first day of winter is the first day of those five days, and it usually lasts for 5 months from November until March. And all the rumours are true. It’s cold and it’s dark and most of the population prefer to spend their time indoors. Start chugging down your vitamin D.

This time of the year can be lonely for some. You’ll probably be spending a majority of it at home and maybe even alone.

But don’t despair!

This blog will give you some tips and tricks to making your apartment mysigt.

Mysigt is an important concept in Swedish homes. It roughly translates to ‘cozy’ and the aim is to create a peaceful, warm and comforting space. Trust me, when you’re done with this list, walking into your home will be like walking into an expensive spa. You wouldn’t mind that, would you?

Here are some of my tips for a cozy winter:

1.Grow plants

Greenery is important in a home because it makes you feel better and more relaxed. It makes you feel as if you’re in nature. It’s said to boost your mood and productivity, and reduce stress. So, how many plants do I need? Which plants should I have? And where can I get them?

How many do I need?

I’d recommend at the very least:

1-2 pot plants by every window (depending on how wide your windows are) AND 1 small pot plant at your study desk. If you have a spare corner, you might as well throw in a big plant.

Ideally though, I’d recommend a plant on every shelf i.e. bookshelf, on top of cupboards, on top of drawers etc. Excessive, I know. But it changes the mood of your home instantly.

Which plants should I have?

The most classic and easiest plants to maintain, and that are in almost all Swedish homes are: Dr WesterLund & Elefantöra.

Dr Westerlund purifies the air and has a beautiful citrus smell when you give it a ruffle or rub. According to legend, Dr Ernest Westerlund made the geranium popular by placing the plant in his patients’ rooms. The idea was improve the mood of the patients.

Elefantöra (translated to Elephant ears) also called ‘money plant’ is just as easy to maintain as Dr Westerlund. It has bright dark emerald round leaves and similar to Dr Westerlund, can also grow to be quite large.

Both plants are perfect for those with a black thumb. They are really easy to maintain, even during the cold.

Where can I get a hold of them?

The great thing about these plants is that you can easily grow them from cuttings. Just ask a friend! OR if you’re in Stockholm, feel free to ask me! Otherwise you can order these plants and more from Plantagen or your local plant store.

Dr. Westerlund on windowsill
As you can see, Dr Westerlund needs a trim

2. Invest in warm lighting

If there’s anything I’ve learnt from my partner, his family and, well, most of Scandinavia, is the importance of warm lighting. Like the evening sun. It promotes relaxation and comfort.

You’ll notice when you walk into a Swedish home, their rooms are lit up by dim lighting or lamps and candles. That is how you create the mysigt effect.

How many do I need?

At this point, it may be different for everybody. If you have a ceiling light and you can change the bulb, then feel free to change it to a 140 lumen light bulb and if possible, a dimming light bulb. That way you can control the amount of light you need depending on how you use your room.

Otherwise, invest in a lamp or two. You might need one at your study table and one at your bedside table (250-470 lumen light bulbs). And if you really want to be Swedish, have a lamp by the window sill. I’m not entirely sure why Swedish people do this (please feel free to comment below if you do), but I think it has to do with creating a cozy, yellow glow in the evening. Leading up to Christmas, you’ll find a large glowing star hanging by the window and/or advent candles. But we can get into that in another post.

Another minor touch could also be buying string or fairy lights and hanging them along the window or wall or book shelf. Get creative!

Where can I get a hold of these?

Lamps (‘lampor’ in Swedish) and light bulbs (‘glödlampa’ in Swedish) can be bought at Kjell & Company, Clas Ohlson, IKEA.

Cozy lighting
The warm lighting really makes a difference to our living room

3. Light many candles

Alongside warm, cozy lamps we need to talk about candles. You must load up on candles! Candles of all sizes! Fat, skinny, tall, short, smelly, not smelly! And candle holders! They are the most fun. I’m really into dramatic candle holders. The more candles on a stand, the more excited I become.

How many do I need?

This one is also dependent on the size of your home. Ideally, one candle or candle holder on each table. And if you’re really Swedish, maybe on the window sill or on top of cupboards & drawers and some. For example, on my study desk I like to light a forest-scented candle while I am studying and I have a lavender scented candle while I am in the shower. I have a larger candle stand on my dining table and many small candles on my coffee table. Remember to channel the spa-feeling.

But please, practice caution. Do not leave a lit candle unattended. As soon as you leave the room, blow out your candles. And of course, keep candles away from flammables and properly discard matches.

Where can I get a hold of these?

Candles (‘ljus’ in Swedish) and candle holders (‘ljusstakar’ in Swedish) can be bought at IKEA, H&M home, Clas Ohlson. Candle holders can also be bought at second-hand stores such as Myrorna and the Swedish Red Cross stores.

Plants and candles on our windowsill
A Christmas-y windowsill

4. Buy blankets & cushions & curtains & rugs

Imagine studying and working from home all day. You’ve braved the cold on your short walk and now all you want to do after your evening meal, is to get warm and veg out on the couch, watching tv. This is when you need to get comfortable. While you are on your couch, or bed (although I do recommend you get a couch to separate sleep from play), you’ll want to make it as cozy as possible. If you have a couch, deck it out. Buy colourful, cheap, second hand blankets that you can wrap yourself in. Buy extra colourful pillows that you can jump on or support yourself on while you have your TV marathon session. The extra bit of colour will give a little pop to your home and the extra cushions and blankets will feel like a big hug during the cold, dark winters.

If you’re wondering what other furniture you could buy to make your apartment more cozy, consider curtains and rugs.

How many do I need?

Up to you! But an extra cushion and blanket (or two) can’t hurt!

Where can I get a hold of these?

Blankets (‘filtar’ in Swedish), cushions (‘kuddar’ in Swedish), curtains (‘gardiner’ in Swedish) and rugs (‘mattor’ in Swedish) can be bought at IKEA, H&M home, Hemtex, Myrorna and at the Swedish Red Cross stores.

Ok, I’ll admit, the extra furniture aren’t essential. But it’s worth it, I swear!

Helen's couch with colourful blankets and cushions
My couch with the colourful blankets and cushions

5. Have an assortment of warm drinks and mugs at the ready

I really love to drink my chai lattes in my extra large mug during the winter. It feels like cuddles!

My last tip for you all is to stock up on warm drinks. I like powdered chai lattes. But don’t stop at chai lattes. If you’re a hot chocolate fan, get yourself a bucket of cocoa powder and cream! And of course, if your preferred hot drink is coffee or tea, stock up.

There’s nothing cozier than wrapping yourself in a blanket, sitting on the couch in your dimly lit room, with forest-scented candles and sipping on a warm chai latte.

How many do I need?

Buy as you go and buy the assortment packs.

Where can I get a hold of these?

You can buy tea (‘te’ in Swedish), coffee (‘kaffe’ in Swedish), cocoa powder for hot chocolate (‘varm choklad’ in Swedish) or chai latte powder from your local ICA, Coop, Hemköp, Willys, Lidl.

Just a side note, apoteket (and I’m sure other stores do, too) sell limited edition winter tea from November! This year we bought rooibos with apple, cinnamon and chilli flavour! And there’s 3 for 2 deal, right now.

It’s worth the investment

I understand as students, your time in Sweden is temporary. You probably don’t want to be investing in temporary things such as buying plants or candles. But I can assure you, this will make your winter (which may I remind you, lasts for almost half the year and the darkness lasts for three-quarters of the year) so much easier.

And, I calculated! It’ll cost you aroun 600kr (my list below added to 520kr but I rounded it up as a buffer). That is a great investment for your life here in Stockholm.

  • Plants – FREE
  • 2 x Lamps from IKEA – 300kr
  • 2 x Light bulbs from IKEA – 50kr
  • 50 x 20cm Candles from IKEA – 100kr
  • 1 x blanket – 20kr
  • 1 x cushion – 30kr
  • Tea – 20kr

Please feel free to send me before and after photos of your cozy life, I’d love to see it. And email me if you want more advice.

If you want to learn more about creating a homely student dorm, check out Yeung’s youtube video ‘How to Make Your Student Room Feel Like a Home’

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at or

Helen Nguyen - Health Informatics

Helen Nguyen - Health Informatics

Hi! I'm Helen from Australia here, currently living and loving life in Stockholm. I'm studying a Master's in Health Informatics at Karolinska Institutet. I love walking in nature, dancing and cycling around town. I love a good chat and enjoy a good hearty laugh. We can talk about nothing and discuss absolutely everything. I enjoy cooking food, falling asleep to movies and going for long walks in the forest.


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