By Diane Small
Last year may have been all about hygge, or the Swedish concept of cuddling up in winter – getting cosy with a book and a cuppa hot chocolate, for example. But the Nordic word that’s on everyone’s lips right now is lagom, which basically means just the right balance of things.
This can be applied to all kinds of things – the amount you shop, what you eat, and even how you decorate your home. For example, rather than continuously buying new decorations for the house, lagom would suggest keeping what will last and finding a place for it, always.
There are a few other principles to adding this concept to your space, like using soothing colours, slowing down your decor and decluttering. In fact, it’s pretty easy to get some lagom for your home. Ready to get started?
1. Mix the old with the new
Have you ever seen someone walking down the street in a full on outfit you swear you’ve just seen in the window of Zara? Don’t make your home the equivalent of that! In other words, all new is all bad – it shows a lack of character and imagination. Instead, pair stuff up like that desk you’ve had since you were a kid with a vintage chair you found in a market. Or a brand new picture frame with a vintage 50’s lamp from your nan’s.
2. Take it easy
Don’t make the mistake of trying to take things too quickly. A truly refined interior takes years to build. It’s a work in progress; a journey that’s ongoing, changing and developing as you do. This is your personal project and no one is judging you here. So if there’s still that empty wall that you feel is missing a certain….something, don’t rush out to Ikea just to fill the space. One day, sometime, somewhere, you’ll see the perfect mirror/artwork. But like love, it may happen when you least expect it. Why settle?
3. Create balance
Lagom is all about not over – or under- doing anything. For example, obviously you need stuff to cook with. So of course, furnish your home with a good set of pots and pans. But do you really need a wok, a deep fryer, a rice cooker, a crock pot and ice cream maker? And let’s take a peek in your bedroom: are you really wearing all those clothes frequently? Probably not. And in the living room: do you really need 10 different kinds of vases in different colours? Not only are they unnecessary, but they suck up your savings and clutter your space. Keep only what’s necessary, and don’t succumb to temptation to buy more crap. Instead, whenever you feel the itch, save the money in a jar instead, and at the end of the year, treat yourself to a nice holiday!
4. Choose muted colours
When it comes to choosing your colour palette, light, muted colours ensure that most of your stuff is going to match; nothing will look too out of place. As a general rule, you mustn’t worry all that much about the colours complementing one another exactly, just select muted shades that suit your sense of style and create a sense of relaxation and calm.
5. Make tiny home improvements over time
At the very heart of lagom is a sense of balance; everything is just as it should be. For that reason, huge design overhauls are a big no no. Instead, if you’re feeling bored with your home, make small changes that create big differences – for example, try one of the newest design trends: marble wallpaper. Neutral in tone and luxurious by design, these add a touch of elegance to any space, as these creations by Wallpepper demonstrate, below.
6. Make it special
Remember, nothing should be there just for the pure sake of it; that’s a cardinal sin as far as lagom is concerned. So when choosing pieces for your home, ask yourself what purpose they serve. Are they attractive or functional? Do they bring you joy? Do they have sentimental value?
If the answer to all of the above questions is no, the piece simply has no place in your home.
But if something really tickles you, for example, if you just love ceramics and have a dozen mugs you just adore (even though you live alone and only use one or two), by all means, keep them! But if you’re just hanging on to them because you don’t know what else to do with them, donate them to your nearest charity.
7. Ditch the clutter
If you simply cannot part with anything you own, ok – at least get it organised! This may involve having to invest in more storage space and purchasing tools like boxes and hangers to help you pack things in their place in an attractive way. There are plenty of options out there if you choose this path – click here and here for a few ideas. However, there may just be an easier method – as radical as it sounds, you may wish to get rid of the things that you no longer use in your home.
8. Choose quality over quantity
We always say this about fashion, but when it comes to choosing soft furnishings, this is super important, since you’ll be using your furniture daily for years. Always opt for high-quality above anything else. This is no time to scrimp as the pieces need to last. These are one-off investments; at least, they ought to be. You should not be replacing them every winter. Instead, you can splurge on pieces that you can use for years and years to come. Choose quality rugs, sofas, beds and curtains that you know will stand the test of time. Every year, they will prove their weight in gold once again. Just be sure they’re free of toxic VOCs – Sonya Winner makes all natural wool carpets without the toxic chemicals most carpets have, for example.
9. Upcycle and recycle
Finally, if you’re hoping to harness the spirit of lagom, there’s one very simple way to do so – by including upcycled pieces. This embraces both notions of sustainability and functionality, and it’s a lot easier than you think! Just slap a lick of paint on tired looking furniture, or get a bit creative; there are loads of great ideas here. Not so creative? Decorating with secondhand pieces is another great option. If you take the time to shop around, you should find that there’s a vast variety of upcycled pieces you can get from thrift stores, or even online at places like this.
The takeaway message here is that lagom is not something that you’re likely to achieve overnight. Instead, it’s more of an ongoing project within your home decor.
By taking note of these tips and using them within your designs, you should find that things start to come together.
Many thanks to Nyde for their help with this article. Check them out here.
Main image: Sonya Winner. Image 1 Via The Future Kept. Image 2 Nyde. Image 4 via Red Magazine Image 7 ASOS. Image 8 InStyle. Image 9 Sonya Winner. Image 10 Nyde