When it comes to lifestyle terms, you could be forgiven for thinking that Britain is in the grips of a second Viking invasion, with Scandinavian words dominating our search engine histories nationally. Last year the Danish term ‘hygge’ was referenced in design blogs, Pinterest pins and print magazines around the world. Well, this year it seems likely we could be in for more of the same, but this time due to the Swedish buzzword ‘lagom’. But just what is it, and what could it mean for interior design?
Well, again much like hygge, there’s no real direct translation in English for lagom. In essence it’s been defined as meaning “just the right amount, not too much or too little”. It’s important to understand that the word only has a positive connotation with no ‘It was nice but we could have done with more’ undertones. It’s all about being refined, frugal and balanced. A sort of Goldilocks word.
Back here in Blighty, the word is also picking up connotations of meaning a general approach to life that promotes a healthier, more sustainable and maybe even happier lifestyle. But, just how can you take this Scandi trend’s ethos and implement it in your own home? We’ve got a few ideas…
Reduce your energy consumption
Reducing the amount of energy you consume in your home has many advantages, aside from the obvious benefits of reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment, making your home more energy efficient could save you a considerable amount of money over the years.
There are many ways to reduce the amount of energy your home uses, which don’t have to mean making yourself more uncomfortable on a cold night. For example, if your home has an older boiler it is likely it is inefficient and you could benefit from upgrading to a modern condensing model.
Other ways to reduce your bills, include improving your home’s insulation such as by upgrading your windows to double or triple glazing, and by switching to LED lighbulbs. A study found in 2014 that Sweden produced 49.8% of all its electricity by renewable means, so why not take a page from their book and add a domestic wind turbine or solar panel to your home to save even more cash?
And then of course, you could always go the hygge way by turning down the heating a couple of degrees and snuggling down with plenty of blankets and a hot drink.
Grow your own food
You cannot get food any more locally sourced than that which comes from your own back garden.
Therefore freeing a little corner to grow some veg is a great way to further reduce your carbon footprint and to promote your household to eat more healthily, it could even help your mental health with numerous studies finding that a bit of gardening helps our mental well being.
Of course, many city and apartment dwellers don’t have access to a garden. But this doesn’t have to stop you. Herb boxes can be picked up inexpensively, and allow you to grow a range of fresh and fragrant plants right in your kitchen. In fact doing so could save you a few pounds each week on your grocery bill if you frequently find yourself purchasing those small bags of fresh herbs at the supermarket.
Reuse and reclaim
Reusing and reclaiming old items is another environmentally conscious and frugal, way to add a little lagom to your home. Consider for example a kitchen remodel. Having your builder construct a counter or island out of a rustic slab of reclaimed timber will give your home an organic, characterful and overtly Scandinavian aesthetic.
If you like getting your hands dirty yourself then there is a wealth of ways you could bring a new lease on life to items. When looking for dining room chairs for example, why not head to a charity shop or second hand store to see if you can pick up a tired old wooden set, with a bit of sanding and a touch of chalk paint you could completely reinvent them. If you really want to show off you could give reupholstering them a try too.
In the Swedish language ‘fika’ basically means ‘to have coffee’ but the term has evolved to mean more generally to take a break, taking some time out of the day to enjoy yourself before getting back to work.
In Sweden during the work day Swedes will typically have two fikas — one at 9am and another at 3pm. This is a time when the workplace all comes together to have a drink, whether it be coffee, tea, juice or squash and some snacks, it’s a time to relax and talk about both professional and nonprofessional matters.
This is very in keeping with the balanced concept of lagom. That even during work, we should take a bit of time to slow down and appreciate the good things in life. While, your boss might not be thrilled if you took 20 minutes at 3pm every day to eat cake and chat with your coworkers. You could embrace the idea outside of work and even include the underlying concept of fika in your home’s interior design. Take a utilitarian area of the house such as a home office for example, add a comfy nook where you can just chill in between emails or studying.