Lagom: the art of decorating Swedishly

While 2016 and early 2017 were all about how to hygge and bringing a little Danish cosiness into our everyday lives and interior design, there’s a change in the wings for 2018. The new word on the interior design world’s lips is lagom. Here’s what it’s all about and how you can incorporate the concept into your living room.

Barcelona - A lagom living space. Here's our guide to interior design inspired by the Swedish philosophy of 'just enough'.

What’s lagom?

Commonly mistaken for just a Swedish décor trend, lagom is in fact a way of living. A bit like the Goldilocks story put into practice, it’s the Swedish concept of ‘not too much, not too little, but just the right amount’. Lagom is built on an ethos of self-discipline and moderation. It involves living sustainably and simply, taking what you need and not more, and working with what you have.

How can you lagom?

Though that might sound a bit heavy, it needn’t be. The idea of sustainability that lies behind lagom translates well into practical household habits, such as recycling, a good work–life balance and giving consideration to how and what you cook. You could also break the concept of lagom down further and draw inspiration for your living space from how it’s used in Swedish décor.

Lagom in the living room

Here are a few steps to a lagom-inspired, minimalist-style living area:

1. Natural and minimal

Think minimal but not bare – your lagom living space should include everything you need, but not too much more. Choose light, neutral colours and plenty of natural materials (like wood, jute and cotton) to add warmth and give a restrained but not austere feel. That being said, if colour is important to you, your room certainly needn’t be devoid of it – just be as frugal with it as you are with clutter.

2. Grown not thrown

Fill your living space with greenery and let your interior reflect the lushness of the outdoors. If you can include herbs or vegetables in your indoor space, so much the better: you can incorporate them into your cooking too. If you have old or unwanted items, see if you can recycle or even upcycle them instead of throwing them out. To maintain your space in a lagom-friendly way, try to use cleaning products and varnishes that are not harmful to the environment.

3. Tone it down

Swedish décor is typically pared back and understated, but with plenty of style. Try to keep the accessories in your space to a minimum. Instead, pick one or two pieces that really make you happy, that amplify the atmosphere and tone with the colours of your lagom living room.

4. Balance it out

Just like that elusive work–life balance, your room should have a practicality-design balance. If you do use your coffee table or magazine racks, there’s no need to get rid of them just for the sake of minimalism. However, if you have a footstool that’s pretty but goes unused, edit it out of your newly utilitarian ‘Goldilocks’ space. You could even combine practicality with design in one piece of furniture that blends functional storage with an aesthetic ‘wow factor’.

Will you be embracing the philosophy of lagom in your life and home? If you need extra inspiration, browse more interior design ideas and trends here.

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Engel & Völkers Real estate agent Maria Danilova
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