Cosy Scottish style.

In winter we’d rather stay snug in bed when we take our first peek out of the window. That’s why many people make their homes extra cosy in the coldest season. We’ve been hearing lately that Scandinavians are the true masters of this art. But people in the Scottish Highlands also know how to create a haven against the cold within their own four walls. Còsagach is the magic word now being used to conjure up the comfortable Scottish style.

Wrendale Design

Changeable weather and biting cold might mean we’re better off staying at home. We all know about hygge and lagom, the Danish and Swedish terms for slow living and contemplation. But, in addition to their beautiful coastline and hillsides, the Scots too have harsh weather – and not just in winter. So they know how to make their own homes really snug. And now we learn that còsagach (pronounced ‘kohsagoch’) is the Scots Gaelic word for just such a hideaway. Interior design has been embracing the cosy concept for quite a while, but this Scottish word describes much more than an interiors trend.

Còsagach denotes a lifestyle all of its own, with a certain attitude and a desire to slow down. For a really cosy feeling, bringing nature indoors as a lifestyle accessory is not enough: you need to face the great outdoors first. According to this Scottish philosophy, you have to earn your relaxation and wellbeing by first of all going on a hearty walk. When the fresh air has blown away the cobwebs, you’ll be free to cuddle up on the sofa under a tartan rug. All in good time…

Photo: VisitScotland / David N Anderson

Not purely a male domain

Thanks to Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth may well be the most famous Scotswoman worldwide, but she could almost be seen as the absolute antithesis of this movement: we can’t see her embracing nature or slow living. At its heart, this cosy còsagach trend is about making your own home a place of refuge and relaxation. Real relaxation means coming to rest with all your senses. Besides materials like wool and sheepskin, the warm light of candles and lovely woody scents such as cedar help create the right interior ambience.

1 Necklace by TheCraftshop
2 Hairpin made of horn by Hornvarefabrikken
3 Candle by Canova Home & Fragrance
4 Sleep mask by Louis und Louisa
5 Bag by Harold’s Lederwaren
6 Blanket by Klippan Yllefabrik
7 LED candle by Piffany Copenhagen
8 Hood by Miss Wood Barcelona

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For the Scots, it’s small details and accessories like these that make a house into a home. Numerous cushions, throws and natural wood make your own four walls into a warm and welcoming place.

Lapuan Kankurit Oy

From the outdoors in

As we mentioned before, còsagach stands for a lifestyle where outdoor activities form the precursor to indoor relaxation, where nature grounds us and can also be brought indoors. It’s no wonder real nature lovers are so taken with this approach. Good, honest materials that deliver what they promise are just right whether you’re at home or on the move. Waterproof boots and bags protect against snow and rain – and our four-legged friends will thank us for not cutting short their evening walk at the first lamppost. There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing: it’s a saying that could have been made for Scotland

1 Bag by Uashmama
2 Vegetable Soap by Hansen Kunsthandwerk
3 Brush by Bürstenhaus Redecker
4 Scarf by Silkeborg Uldspinderi
5 Wrapping paper by Ava & Yves
6 Shoe by Shepherd of Sweden
7 Wine cabinet by Eichholtz
8 Knee socks by Sock it to me

Back indoors, a hot bath and a warming drink beckon. This còsagach trend is about enjoying your own leisure time, consciously making it cosy. As the Americans might say, it’s about quality time.

Photo: Corrour Estate, The Chapel

If you really want to relax, you sometimes need another refuge than your home. So why not head off to one of these traditional log cabins in the secluded Scottish Highlands for a few days’ relaxation? There’s nowhere better to enjoy that cosy còsagach experience first-hand.

Lazy Duck Log Cabin, Photo: Lazy Duck Hostel

Scottish hospitality

The Scots are known for their hospitality, which fits this còsagach trend perfectly. It’s a great excuse to spend sociable hours eating, drinking and chatting with your favourite people to your heart’s content. There are many cosy pubs where you can gather, but you can also achieve this at home.

The Royal Crown Derby
IB Laursen

In the run-up to Christmas, why not invite friends over for a meal and chew over the past year’s events. It’s worth noting that Christmas Day has only been a public holiday in Scotland since 1958: for around 400 years prior to that, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland had discouraged yuletide celebrations – and they were at one time banned by law. Perhaps that’s partly what makes this such a special season in Scotland today?

1 Casserole by CS Solingen
2 Plate by ASA Selection
3 Hanging ornament by Dewan & Sons
4 Christmas tree top by Dregeno Seiffen
5 Sheepskin rug by Auskin
6 Coffee pot by Nico/Gyokusendo
7 Wood carrier by Gedigo Piece of Finland
1 Casserole by CS Solingen
2 Plate by ASA Selection
3 Hanging ornament by Dewan & Sons
4 Christmas tree top by Dregeno Seiffen
5 Sheepskin rug by Auskin
6 Coffee pot by Nico/Gyokusendo
7 Wood carrier by Gedigo Piece of Finland
Photo: VisitScotland / David N Anderson

A warming whisky

It wouldn’t be a cosy Scottish winter without a wee dram of the national drink. In winter, whisky can be served warm: as a hot toddy. Honey, lemon juice and half a cinnamon stick are added to the whisky, which is then diluted to taste with hot water. This popular ‘winter warmer’ drink is best served with a slice of lemon. It acts from the inside out. A hot toddy and a piece of shortbread creates the perfect còsagach feeling and is guaranteed to beat any highland winter blues.