You’ve probably heard the word “lagom” trending if you’re interested in decor, but do you know what it means? This Swedish word refers to a balance in life that every person strives for: at work, home, and even with their decor. Principles of lagom decor in particular are about slowing down and taking your time, waiting to find the perfect piece for every space. It’s about finding balance in your decor so that you come home to a space that makes you feel at peace. By using these tips, you can easily achieve a lagom home in no time.
What does lagom mean?
Lagom, a Swedish word pronounced “lah-gom,” has no direct English equivalent, but loosely translates to mean “not too little and not too much” or “everything in moderation.” Lagom principles are about finding a harmonious existence, be it how much you work, how much water you drink, or the style of your home. You can live a lagom life, your food can be lagom warm, or your sweater can be a lagom fit.
This word is said to be derived from the Vikings, rooted in the term laget om, which means “around the team.” The expression is based off a tradition in Viking culture where a bowl of mead would be passed around in a circle, with everyone sipping their fair share so there was always enough to go around. Today, lagom is linked to Swedish ideals of fairness, sharing, and equality—everyone taking the right amount so no one has too much, nor is anyone left wanting.
Lagom vs. Hygge
Hygge, pronounced “hue-gah,” is a Danish word that acknowledges a moment that feels special, cozy, or charming. It is a conscious appreciation and focus on the present, and not a style of home decor or type of food you can buy.
By contrast, lagom refers to a lifestyle approach instead of a feeling. It is about establishing balance and can therefore include things like home decor, but also less tangible things such as a work-life balance.
Due to these differences, lagom and hygge are not mutually exclusive. You can indeed live in the present—hygge—and also live so that you have everything in moderation—lagom.
Lagom Decor Tips
To make your home a relaxing haven, look to these lagom decor ideas for insights. Your home is often where you spend the majority of your time. It’s where you unwind after a long day of work or cozy up on a rainy afternoon. A Swedish design principle is that the home should be an oasis, and the best way to achieve that is by styling it to be more lagom.
Declutter your home.
A simple, balanced home is the first way to achieve a lagom lifestyle. Not only does excessive decor contribute to anxiety, it also blocks creativity and makes it difficult to relax.
Fortunately, you can declutter your home without any additional costs. Start practicing lagom with interior design expert Niki Brantmark’s “one in, one out” rule. For every item you buy, get rid of something else. By practicing small tasks everyday, decluttering your home becomes more manageable.
Choose a white or gray wall color.
White or gray colors create a serene sensation. Both shades brighten the space and allow for accent pieces and other items to stand out. Additionally, the muted color palette can turn your home into a relaxing haven to escape to after a long day of work.
This doesn’t mean there isn’t room for other colors in lagom decor, but that you should focus on creating a sense of calm by avoiding brash or loud colors and patterns.
Bring nature inside your home.
Nature as an accessory, such as a wooden table, is a common feature in lagom decor. Though lagom lends itself to minimalism, introducing nature to your home brightens up the space without adding clutter. You can add texture with a sheepskin throw or a stone table, or simply introduce plants to your home.
Just having one plant in your home can help reduce stress levels. Even if you don’t have a sunny window to support your plant on, there are other options that require less upkeep. Options include aloe vera plants, spider plants, fiddle leaf fig trees, and madagascar dragon trees.
Let in natural light.
Given Sweden’s long winter nights, lagom decor is focused on letting in as much natural light as possible to warm a space. When coupled with a white or gray wall, natural light is better able to bounce around the home.
To achieve this, sheer window curtains and completely unobscured windows are a great way to let in as much light as possible. If you’re worried about privacy but still want to take a page out of lagom decor’s book, look for light, thin drapes that let in natural light. Or, if you’re worried about sleeping, invest in rolling blackout blinds for nighttime.
Give objects room to breathe.
Set single items apart from one another to give them breathing space and the spotlight they deserve. In lagom decor, every object should either delight you or serve a purpose. In setting them apart from one another, you are better able to appreciate each piece’s individual beauty or purpose. It also helps you avoid clutter.
Use candlelight for a warm glow.
Candles are used frequently in lagom decor to add ambiance to a room. This isn’t just the case during the evenings. Candles are often featured at a breakfast table or dotted around the living room for a cozy aesthetic.
Fill your home with candles in places where you need a touch of light, like a dark corner or the center of a table. Work to balance the space and avoid cluttering up your shelf with too many candles.
Replace carpets with rugs.
Rugs are a common feature of lagom decor, as carpet is seen as unhygienic. Trasmatta, which means “rag rug” in Swedish, is a typical style seen in most homes. These rugs are made from scraps of clothing or old fabrics and are woven together using a loom.
If you can’t find a trasmatta, other styles can be used instead. To create a makeshift carpet without dealing with the upkeep, layer rugs on top of each other to cover your floor.
Mix vintage and modern.
Lagom decor emphasizes mixing comfortable, ergonomic pieces with more stylish, vintage examples. This means blending antique pieces with modern ones, and slowing down and searching for the best item to suit each space. Vintage furniture and other decor pieces are inherently lagom, as one person’s trash becomes another person’s treasure.
When searching for vintage furniture and decor, be patient. Measure the space you need to fill beforehand and be flexible. You may be imagining one piece only to find something much better instead.
Lagom Decor Do’s & Don’ts
There are many ways to establish a lagom interior design style in your home. Whether you invest in vintage furniture or clean out a cluttered closet, getting started is easy. Implement a few tips every week and follow the do’s and don’t below, and soon your home will soon feel like a sanctuary.
Lagom by Niki Brantmark | Hygge House | My Wood Wall
Photo credit: 1) JW Renders 2) Reform 3) The Lovely Drawer 4) One Kind Design 5) Francois et Mois 6) Hello Glow 7) Made to Be Lovely 8) Benjamin Edwards