Last year, in the pursuit of being as happy as the Danes we were all buying cashmere socks and embracing ‘Hygge’. Now it seems Hygge is old news and lifestyle magazines are championing ‘Lagom’ instead. So I found out what it’s all about and why we need some in our lives.
Lagom is a Swedish lifestyle concept that roughly translates as ‘just the right amount’. Essentially the concept is about living in moderation, without unecessary extravagance and is therefore a pared back version of Hygge which celebrates everyday living and aims to create cosy environments for intimate moments.
Ultimately the principle of Lagom teaches us how to live well-balanced lives to find contentment in our relationships, at work and home. In design terms, Lagom means achieving the perfect balance between beauty and function which is a value ever present in all typical Scandi interiors.
The principle reminds me of the much quoted phrase ‘Less is more’ by Architect Mies Van der Rohe. It also shows us that to create fabulous homes you don’t need to buy lots of expensive things but instead work with a few carefully chosen items with a focus on use, beauty and comfort.
Sound good? Well here are four ways we can embrace Lagom, so we can have beautiful and well-balanced interiors:
1. Use Natural Materials
The Swedes love using natural materials in their homes and appreciate simple furniture that is crafted well. To embrace the spirit of Lagom we need to choose elegant furnishings that are not too fussy. I recently posted about Ikea’s exciting new Ypperlig collection with Danish Designers: Hay , which wholly encompasses this idea. Whilst there are many things within the collection that would be suitable for this post my favourite are the Ypperlig dining table and stools pictured below.
The table is a contemporary interpretation of traditional Scandinavian plank tables. The design is reassuringly solid whilst being elegant in its construction and form. The accompanying stools are a further iteration of the table with slightly upturned seats which look fun as well as providing comfort. Unfortunately if you love it as much as I do you’ll have to wait for October for it to be in the shops!
The Swedes also love to pair wooden furniture with softer textiles for comfort against their harsh winters. These simple wool and sheepskin rugs would bring a sense of warmth into any scandi home and compliment beautifully the strong lines of the Ypperlig table.
2. Sustainable Homes
Lagom also teaches us to respect the earth and live more sustainably. One of the best ways to be more sustainable in your home is to switch to LED lighting which is far more efficient than traditional flourescents. The LED lighting market is rapidly growing to meet demand and as a result some fabulous lighting designs have been developing too. Here are a collection of some of my favourite LED lighting on the market.
- Flos Tab Lamp £238 by John Lewis
- Mirah Pendant £65 by Habitat
- Jorgen Hoop Pendant £240 by John Lewis
- Flos Captain Flint Floor Lamp £1027 by John Lewis
- Design Project No.53 Lamp £75 by John Lewis
- Wall light £143.10 by Blue Suntree
- Secto Petite Lamp £505 by John Lewis
- Design Project No.45 Lamp £115 by John Lewis
- Poise Lamp £130 by Habitat
3. Bring Nature Indoors
Plants and views to the landscape play a big part in Scandi interiors as a connection to nature is important for wellbeing. Indoor plants are also becoming increasingly popular as people are preferring to live in cities and many interesting ways to showcase your house plants are developing.
Ferm Living for instance, have many beautiful pots and planters, some of my favourites are these free-standing plant stands and raised plant box pictured below.
Indoor terrariums for displaying succulent plants are also very popular and come in a range of styles. My favourites is this one from John Lewis, which has a simple concrete base and fluted glass top. Succulents featured heavily at this years Chelsea flower Show, so it makes sense to invest in a good one.
- Terrarium £30 by John Lewis
4. Use Colours
Whilst Lagom is all about creating balanced and simple environments this doesn’t necessarily mean only using beige and neutrals in your colour palettes. Muted tones of blue, green or pink can also create a sense of calm in your interiors and then stronger tones can be picked up in small areas or select pieces of furniture.
For inspiration with your Lagom colour palette here are Pantones new colour trend predictions for 2018.
If you want to know more about the theory behind Lagom, Anna Brones has recently published an excellent book called Live Lagom : Balanced Living, the Swedish Way. In it she explains how to adopt the principle across all areas of your life to achieve contentment and balance.
Imagery courtesy of John Lewis, Ikea, Habitat, Heals, Blue Subtree, Ferm Living, Pantone