In late 2016 you couldn’t browse a magazine, surf the web or scroll through social media without mentions of hygge jumping out at you. Whilst the popularity of the cosy Danish concept with no literal English translation is still on the rise, there is a new Scandinavian lifestyle on the radar and this one hails from Sweden. Although we are mere months into the New Year, Lagom (pronounced ‘la’ like ‘bar’ and ‘gom’ like ‘prom’) is already set to be the big Scandinavian influence of 2017. The LuxPad takes a look at where the word originates, its overarching philosophies and how we could all benefit from a little bit of lagom in our lives and our homes…
Whilst hygge is often described as a moment in time to enjoy and to work into your day when you can, lagom is seen as a lifestyle choice to be practiced with everything you do. Taken from the archetypal Swedish proveb ‘ lagom är bäst’ which literally translates to ‘the right amount is best’ or ‘there is virtue in moderation’ it is the art of practicing not too little, not too much – the perfect amount of anything. Positioned as being fair, frugal and creating balance, Kathleen Bryson a PhD graduate in evolutionary anthropology at UCL, told the BBC that lagom can be equated to the classic Goldilocks tale of not having too much of one thing or the other, but an amount which is ‘just right’.
This concept is a stark contrast to today’s consumerist culture where we are used to instant gratification and are told we can have anything and go anywhere. But in light of recent recessions, political upheaval and housing crises, the Swedish way of enjoying the perfect amount and finding happiness in frugality could be something we could all benefit from in certain areas of our lives. The lagom way can be seen in many aspects of Scandinavian culture, especially areas that have infiltrated the rest of the world in the last few decades. Scandinavian design has an instantly recognisable aesthetic loved by interior experts. When taking a quick look at the numerous Scandi lifestyle shots we are accustom to seeing across print and the web, it’s clear the look is traditionally unfussy and unadorned.
Nothing about Scandinavian design is overdone, there is normally a strong focus on sustainability and craftsmanship and function is equally, if not at times more important than form, especially when exploring Scandinavian minimalist design. This area of Scandinavian design goes hand in hand with lagom and it can be used as a way to simplify your home and your lifestyle in general for a happier, clutter free life which is ‘just right’. Here are our top five ways to incorporate the lagom lifestyle into your home and your lifestyle:
1. Embrace classic Scandinavian minimalism
Arguably all Scandinavian design exhibits aspects of lagom as the look is traditionally simple in nature, however the lagom factor is best displayed when looking at the most minimalist of Scandinavian looks. Fresh and timeless monochrome schemes with a subtle hint of colour, clean lines and natural materials are classic examples of Scandinavian minimalism which are simple to replicate in your own home. Start by having a de-cluttering session to remove all unneeded items from the home, stripping the space back to basics, before rebuilding each room with stylish essentials.
2. Remember less is more for lagom
When looking at lagom the old adage that less is more has never been truer. Glossy, ultra-styled interior looks filled with accessories and patterns are far from the lagom ideal which lends itself to simpler finishes to complete a room. This certainly doesn’t mean go without, but consider each area of a room before dressing it with needless clutter. Pick a few accessories which will add warmth and personality, but don’t overwhelm the room with items that will detract from the calming, minimalist look.
3. Invest in key pieces, not throwaway items
Whilst lagom is centred on frugality, this doesn’t need to mean don’t buy anything new, but to spend money more wisely. We live in a world of seasonal looks in both the interior and fashion industries, where cheap, throwaway designs are the norm and redesigning yourself and your home can be something achieved relatively easily a few times throughout the year. Lagom goes against this throwaway society and encourages selectiveness in both what you wear and what you have in your home. Invest in practical yet timeless pieces for the home which will be used and treasured for years to come, saving both time and money spent on replacing poor quality items in the future.
4. Prep, reuse & recycle
A large part of lagom is sustainability and reducing waste in the home, along with eating healthily and curbing unneeded costs. Simple updates to how you prepare meals and how you dispose of rubbish can help a great deal in living a more sustainable life. Meal preparation is becoming more and more popular and is seen as a way to eat healthily throughout the week, lower food shopping bills as you can buy and cook in bulk, and limit waste. Sorting through your household rubbish to recycle as much as possible can be a daunting task if it isn’t something you’ve been used to doing in the past, but recycling properly can lower your carbon footprint and go a long way towards living lagom. To make the recycling process simpler, many utility brands are now offering products geared towards helping you recycle, so look for bins with multiple compartments and additional features to make recycling easy in the home.
5. Everything in moderation, including moderation
At its best lagom is a lifestyle which promotes a simpler outlook on life, it encourages us to find happiness in what we have, whilst developing a more conscientious attitude towards spending and the environment. The term however is occasionally the subject of criticism as it can be argued that at times it squashes creativity and expression, and also positions any slight extravagance as needlessly excessive. At its heart, lagom is about finding balance, not restriction, and as Oscar Wilde supposedly mused – even moderation should be taken in moderation. So if you are looking to add a touch of lagom to your lifestyle, find your own work/life, save/splurge, and resist/indulge balances for a happy medium in everything you do.