Lagom – Swedish Philosophy of a Balanced Home
Recently another lifestyle trend has slowly been making the rounds and I think I like the sound of this one. The Swedish lifestyle ‘Lagom’ which although it doesn’t have a literal English translation is said to be a way of living and ‘Doing just enough’. It seems the Swedish people are masters at achieving the perfect balance in work and life or ‘getting it done but not overdoing it’.
Welcome this month’s guest blogger Jayne Westerholdt
Jayne was born and raised in South Wales before relocating to Munich Germany in 2000, where she lives with her husband, two sons and their Australian Shepherd ‘Brilli’.
On her blog, chalkingupsuccess.com Jayne loves to connect people with ideas and skills to improve their environment and create a life they love. She loves nothing more than transforming old furniture and flea market finds into beautiful pieces for the home and can usually be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a camera in the other! Sign up for her newsletter to receive a free e-book which will show you how you can transform your home with second-hand furniture in 10 easy steps. You can read more about that here:
10 Easy steps to transforming your home with second-hand furniture
Even if you don’t happen to be an interiors enthusiast, I’m sure you must have come across the word ‘Hygge’ at some point. The Danish word which describes a way of living with coziness, contentment and well-being can probably be described as the interiors ‘it’ word of the past few years. I’m a big believer in making your home a haven for your heart, a refuge away from the hectic of the world outside the door. For this reason, I embraced ‘Hygge’ completely and tried to incorporate the concept throughout my home.
Lagom – Getting it done but not overdoing it!
Recently though, another lifestyle trend has slowly been making the rounds and I think I like the sound of this one just as much. The Swedish lifestyle ‘Lagom’ which although it doesn’t have a literal English translation is said to be a way of living and ‘Doing just enough’. It seems the Swedish people are masters at achieving the perfect balance in work and life or ‘getting it done but not overdoing it’.
So what does this all have to do with us and how can we all benefit from the Lagom lifestyle? Well, it seems to me that the Lagom lifestyle takes away the enormous amount of stress we all put upon our selves in trying to ‘keep up’ with everyone else or doing what we think is required of us.
How often do we make excuses for not inviting friends around because we can’t face the amount of housework that needs to be done before anyone is allowed in? How often do we tell our children they can’t have their friends around today because we haven’t cleaned up yet? ‘Just doing enough’ could mean, for instance, inviting friends into your home even if your house is not spotlessly clean – the point is that you meet up and enjoy each other’s company without the stress of thinking about the amount of housework you have to do. Children want to build dens and camps and memories, they don’t care about the huge pile of washing or that the carpets haven’t been vacuumed today.
Arranging a get together of any kind doesn’t have to be an all-out grand affair either. A simple vase of garden flowers on the table is ‘just enough’ by way of décor. Don’t have a vase? Use an empty bottle or glass jar, it doesn’t have to be perfect!
While we’re on the subject of home décor, I’m a huge believer that no one should have to go into debt in order to have a lovely home. Think about what you really need and what you can honestly do without. The lagom lifestyle encompasses sustainability and being content with what we have. Comparing ourselves to others and envying their lifestyle is never going to make us happy. Instead, if we are grateful for what we’ve already achieved in our lives this will naturally make us content.
Swedish homes are very often simply styled with a balance of elegance and practicality.
Combining flea market finds and second-hand furniture with new furniture here and there. I think I know now why I find Lagom so inviting for me personally because this is what I try to do throughout my own home. I upcycle old furniture and put it in a modern setting along with new shop bought items. For examples of this, just take a look at some of my furniture tutorials here. A few plants here and there and some seasonal accessories also help to blend old and new styles together. I make good use of Mother Nature’s lovely garden for most of my home décor. Dried seedheads, reeds from the riverside, ferns, flowers, grasses, sticks, and stones. There are so many ways to decorate with these wonderful gifts of nature and best of all – they’re free!
Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life!
EMBRACING THE LAGOM LIFESTYLE
Lagom – Not having too much and not too little – just enough
So where do we start if we want to embrace the Lagom lifestyle? Well, in the home this could mean that our rooms should not be overfilled with things, whether it be furniture or accessories. We need to create a balance between having what we need but not having too much. This doesn’t mean that our rooms should become bare and cold – not at all. We can still cozy up with throws, accessories, and candles, it just means we shouldn’t overdo it and cram our rooms full of unnecessary things.
Creating a sustainable lifestyle
When it comes to choosing items for our homes, we need to keep sustainability at the front of our minds. We should choose natural materials like wood, wool, or recycled plastics which are produced with our environment in mind.
We also need to pay close attention to where our products are coming from. Stores everywhere offer worldwide shipping these days but do we really need to have items shipped from overseas? Does it really take, containers full to the brim of ‘stuff’, to be shipped from one continent to another to make us happy? Lagom says no! Let’s support our local businesses by buying locally whenever we can.
Creating a calm environment
When it comes to choosing colors for our homes, the Lagom lifestyle favors natural muted hues found in nature. These colors impress upon us a sensation of calm and relaxation as soon as we walk in the door.
If you’re more of a colorful person, you could add pops of color with accessories which can be easily swapped out through the seasons. Choose classic pieces which will stand the test of time instead of purchasing items in trend colors. These will only be collecting dust on a shelf somewhere when that particular trend is over.
Decluttering your home
To be honest I think the best place to start with the Lagom lifestyle would be with a good old-fashioned de-cluttering session.
Now, if you’ve lived in your home a long time, the thought of decluttering may seem a little overwhelming in itself but not to worry, I have a plan for Lagom to help here too.
Start with one room at a time and make a list of the things you’d like to change. Break your list down into small achievable daily tasks and make a start. Know that you need to do ‘just enough’ to see a progression and don’t stress if for some reason it can’t be done. Lagom is about doing what matters and letting the rest take care of itself. Keep plugging away at your list and sooner or later, it will be empty of things to do!
Once you’ve finished de-cluttering, try to make a habit of devoting ten minutes a day to tidying up. The next time a friend suggests a spontaneous meet-up, you can accept the knowledge that you’re only ten minutes away from a tidy house!
What do you think? Will you give the Lagom Lifestyle a chance to prove its worth? Let us know in the comments if you have any more tips for creating balance at home.
Here’s a couple of DIY projects that you might be interested in for your home.
DIY Storage/Display Rack for Platters