Creating Gemütlichkeit

When we lived in Germany I learned the word gemütlichkeit.  It does not easily  translate into English. It’s a combination of a great space plus people and it represents a mix of feelings that people long for in every culture. It’s coziness and warmth, peace and friendship, belonging and community.  Space plus people combined in a way that nurtures and restores.

A few years ago my husband and I got a table at Oktoberfest in Munich and invited dear friends to join us. The Ochsenbraterei Tent definitely had gemütlichkeit.  Gemütlichkeit is 5,000 people singing in unison the old John Denver song “Take me home, country roads…”


But it’s not all about a massive party.  This concept of gemütlichkeit translates into smaller settings like our homes.  It could be sitting around the dinner table with your family or your favorite neighbors.  It could be on the back patio with an old friend.  This is something I try to create in every home I work on and really this is the heart of this blog.

Creating gemütlichkeit does not require a big budget, big space or an immaculate, Instagram-worthy home. It does require purposefulness — thinking through the needs of your family and those you love.  It’s creating a place where people feel deeply that they belong there.

My head is full of ideas on home and entertaining for future posts, but foremost the key component in creating gemütlichkeit being relaxed.  You can have the most perfect space and absolutely no gemütlichkeit. We’ve all been there.  If the meal you are planning is going to stress you out, then it would be better not to make that.  And if you don’t like your space and it’s preventing you from having your neighbors over, then it’s worth being purposeful to change it.  All of us need more gemütlichkeit in our lives and my hope is that this blog can encourage that.

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