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What is Lagom?
What the Swedish call Lagom, the Americans call balance. Lagom is one of the latest Scandinavian interior trends and actually translates “not too little, not too much: the right one”. It’s friendly to the minimalistic approach without its coldness and a trend that quickly grows roots in the hearts of most interior design enthusiasts for a simple reason: it leaves clutter and fuss out.
The idea of this home interior style is to bring in the right amount of anything you need and leave out the unnecessary. The secret is finding just the right things and thus balance. In other words, keep it simple. Strip embellishments and choose pieces of furniture that will work for you without cluttering the space.
Lagom is a Swedish word but the concept is international
The word Lagom has several definitions: just right, sufficient, enough, adequate. It is translated as “suitable”, “the right amount”, “in moderation”, and “in balance”. It is understood by most Scandinavian countries while the concept that ‘moderation is best’ is found in many countries. The ancient Greek poet, Cleobulus, is famous for the phrase: “moderation is the best thing”. The meaning of Lagom makes perfect sense in Slavic languages and in Russia. In the United States, interior designers try to bring balance in the homes they are assigned to decorate. And harmony is key to successful interior design.
Why is the concept of Lagom so popular?
Although we are talking about Lagom as an interior trend, its main principle applies to all aspects – from fashion to everyday habits. And that’s one of the reasons why it is considered more like a concept instead of a temporary trend. Since it maintains the idea of simplicity and balance, it transforms homes into tranquil and harmonious spaces where you can relax and recharge your batteries. And so, Lagom affects our mentality and the way we live, not only from a home decorating perspective.
With long work hours and hectic lives, our stress levels rise. Clutter in the house and unnecessary possessions seem to make things worse. Lagom acts like the antidote to anything stressful. And in cultures which urge us to become social media fanatics & work excessively, and having too much on our plate is a norm, Lagom acts like the anti-anxiety pill. It brings relief while it lives-and-breathes style.
Is there a difference between Lagom and other Scandi interior trends?
In spite of some differences, all Scandinavian interior styles share some common features. Simplicity and functionality are the two main principles while the use of wood, the large openings, the greenery, and the plain textures add elegance and beauty. You won’t see wall-to-wall carpets in Scandinavian homes but mostly light-toned wood. Although the homes are mostly white with accent tones picked from the light shades of the coloring palette, you will also find black decorative elements and walls.
In an effort to brighten up rooms due to the (mostly) dark days, the Scandinavian interior trends celebrate large windows and all kinds of lighting fixtures – always in their simplest form. But the use of wood and greenery can easily make some houses cottage-like. Apart from that, most styles are similar. The long winters and thus limited daylight combined with the long working hours call for cozy and light homes dressed with natural elements. Recognized for their belief that all people should have access to the basic needs, Scandinavians brought this belief into their interior style and so each Scandi interior design celebrates simplicity.
All the same, the Scandi style experienced one major design wave with the trend known as Hygge – originated in the Danish interior design world. This is the style, which made homes even cozier and provided an enhanced sense of safety and security. It was the design which brought a sense of happiness indoors by focusing on elements that made the home a shelter. A place where you belong.
So, what is the Hygge interior style?
Interior designers advocated that in order to bring the right hyggelig atmosphere in the home, you need to ask yourself where you would feel more comfortable or at ease inside the house! What will make you feel like belonging there? And so the traditional Scandi interiors took a slight turn. Thick rugs and accent vibrant colors were introduced. Fluffy cushions and candles created a warm atmosphere. The surroundings were rearranged (chairs brought closer together or creating one focal point in the room) to improve the idea of coziness and allow us to pay attention to the moment with the acknowledgment that the moment will go away in an instant (that’s very close to the idea of the wabi-sabi concept).
Was the idea of Hygge abandoned in favor of Lagom?
Although Hygge was embraced by many, Lagom took its place. Hygge is all about feeling the moment in the coziest way possible. Lagom is all about moderation. Although you still live the moment, you don’t freeze it. You enjoy your life in balanced decorated environments.
Would you like to bring Lagom into your home?
Becoming a lagomer is not as easy as dropping by IKEA and do some shopping. In order to adopt the whole idea of this Scandi interior trend, you need to keep in mind the main principles in mind: sustainability, simplicity, and function. Then follow this guide.
Neutrals are the key colors
In order to align with the “just right” approach of the Lagom trend, you need neutral colors around you. And such hues include black and dark blues too. What you want to do is create a warm and cozy environment, where the colors won’t stand out to disturb you. The atmosphere becomes relaxing with shades of white, grays of all sorts, or warm taupe choices.
Since wood is the main material used indoors, it will give a natural tone and make the environment (eco) friendly. Don’t be afraid of combos. As long as you stick with the neutral color palette, choose all sorts of combinations that will make you happy. Dark blue & gray in combination with wood will look splendid. Of course, all whites are welcomed. Pastel hues interrupted by black chairs or a washed blue wall will make a very nice contrast.
Remove anything hardly necessary in the room that only steals valuable space and air. Declutter. One of the main concepts of Lagom is to keep balance and that’s achieved with clean lines. The first step is to create space by throwing away old stuff, donating things, or boxing things.
Forget about excessive decorations
When you cut clutter, you don’t empty the room entirely. The idea is to have furnishings that won’t obstruct pathways or make the room busy. When lagomers shop, they know exactly what they need and where they are going to place the new object. And so following the Lagom way of decorating doesn’t mean you strip your home from character. On the contrary, you add character by bringing in the furnishings and objects you find useful. This way, you have beautiful pieces which also serve a purpose. So forget about excessive decorations. You can still hang your favorite artwork, get the rug you like, place the dinner table with the chairs, and have the sofas and chairs you need. But in moderation. Nothing excessive is aligned with the Lagom interiors.
Pick your focal point
Since the idea of Lagom interior design is to keep things uncomplicated, create a focal point. This might be a wall decorated with artwork. Although antiques usually don’t belong in Lagom decorations, one piece can become your focal point as long as it blends well with the rest of the room’s decorations. The point is to create some symmetry and sustain balance with only a few pieces, very similar to the ‘less is more’ approach.
Bring joy in the home to bring joy in the moment
The entire concept of Scandinavian design welcomes natural elements. And so having greenery indoors, using organic materials, and choosing subtle colors will help you get into the Lagom spirit easily. This trend opposes ephemeral stuff that will only play their role for one season and is in favor of building slowly the interior design. So become a conscious consumer, adhere to natural elements, maintain sustainability by getting rid of the surplus, and focus on quality – not quantity. This approach will help you customize your interiors to your aesthetics and enjoy the thing you cherish the most without anything disturbing your spirit. That’s the spirit!
In terms of etymology, Lagom also means “team” in Swedish. And this is a good explanation for the great popularity of this trend. It’s not just about bringing balance at home but also being moderate when it comes to food, being appropriate when amongst others, being fair in your business, and having just enough possessions to be happy. And so Lagom is understood differently in each occasion but in all cases, it means doing just the right thing for you and the team. And so you create balance in the home and in your life.