The Scandi buzzword of 2017 is “lagom” which roughly translates to “just right”, in other words, the ideal amount of something. We asked Anna Brones, author of the new book ‘Live Lagom‘, to share her top tips on how we can use this Swedish concept in our homes…
In Swedish culture, lagom is a deeply embedded cultural philosophy that impacts everything from food to work.
When it comes to design, this translates into design that is both functional and beautiful, the perfect balance between the two. This also brings an inherent timelessness to the designs; many of the Swedish designers and objects that we know well and recognize have lasted for decades. A more balanced, moderate approach to how they look is a key part in helping them to last instead of existing merely as trendy objects.
Besides some of the classic designs that we find in Swedish furniture and beautiful everyday objects, in general, Swedish homes are known for their pared back, yet cozy feel. They are homes that are full of light and natural materials. They certainly embody a “less is more” approach, yet without tipping towards extreme minimalism. The result is spaces that are comforting and meant to be used, a home that feels lived in, and loved.
Looking to incorporate a more lagom approach to your home? Here are 5 tips to get you started.
Focus on objects that are beautiful, but meant to be used
A more lagom approach to our homes is to think of them as truly that; spaces that we spend time with our friends and family. Our houses are not showrooms, they are spaces that we live and feel comfortable in, and the design and objects within them should reflect that. Focus on objects that bring beauty into your home, but also serve a purpose and that you will use regularly. A gorgeous sofa might look perfect in the pages of a magazine, but if you never sit in it because it’s not comfortable, it’s merely a prop in a well decorated house.
Make use of natural light
When it comes to light, Sweden is a country of extremes; long, dark winters, and endless days in the summer. As such, natural light is a key component of Swedish design, meant to maximize on the limited amount of light in the winter and celebrate it in the summer. Dark curtains can be switched out for lighter ones, or removed entirely. Windowsills can feature a plant or a stack of books, but not be crowded so as to entirely block out the light streaming in. A chair can be positioned so that when the sun is out, there is no need for a lamp.
Opt for natural materials
Natural materials in Swedish homes are indicative of the abundance of local resources, like pine, linen and wool. These are not only local, they are renewable, a nice antidote in a world thirsty for synthetic materials made from petrochemicals. When buying natural materials, consider also how they are harvested and produced.
Don’t be afraid of colors and patterns
When thinking about the concept of lagom, it’s easy to assume that all Swedish homes are minimal. On the contrary, color and patterns are an important part of Swedish design. A bright pillow or a wall hanging with a bold pattern can bring a lot of life to a room without overwhelming it.
Bring nature indoors
Many Swedes have a close connection to nature, and it’s easy to celebrate every season by bringing a little nature indoors. A bare branch in winter can be used as a centerpiece on a table, surrounding by candlelights. A bouquet of tulips can provide some much needed color inside in the late spring. Freshly picked wildflowers can be spread out around the house in summer. A kitchen herb garden both livens up a kitchen as well as the meals you make in it.
Anna Brones is a writer, artist and producer and the author of several books including the new Live Lagom: Balanced Living, The Swedish Way (Ebury Press, £9.99). Follow Anna on Instagram at @annabrones
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