Scandi living: why the Swedish concept of lagom beats Danish hygge

by Jayson Branch, Creative Director, Castrads

In 2016, it was hard to escape from all things hygge, but at the turn of the year, lagom – hygge’s lesser-known Scandinavian cousin – arrived on British shores and was tipped to be the next interiors buzzword.

Lagom, the secret to Swedish contentment, translates as ‘not too much, not too little, but just the right amount’. However, it was met with criticism from journalists, bloggers and members of the public who were quick to brand it ‘nowhere near as fun’ as hygge.

Whilst the concepts of moderation and balance may be difficult for us Brits to get our heads around, lagom can be a better long-term lifestyle investment, giving us the freedom to live in the moment away from the distracting desire to consume and spend. Here’s our top tips for achieving the lagom lifestyle…

Timeless design

Keeping things simple will add longevity to your interiors. Base your room’s palette on just a few key colours (neutral tones work best) and draw on the raw and timeless beauty of unfinished natural surfaces like stone and wood. Balance can be created by introducing splashes of on-trend colours – like copper, yellow or ‘millennial pink’ – meaning only small changes need to be made over the years to update your interiors to include elements of more fleeting design trends.


Re-connect with nature

Whilst hygge wants us to lock ourselves away in cosy spaces, lagom teaches us to celebrate nature by letting the outside in. Indoor greenery can be used as both decoration to boost mood and as a practical resource. Herbs, fruits and vegetables – such as kaffir limes, mandarin oranges, pomegranates, dill and avocados – can be grown inside in pots or window boxes. This not only creates a pleasant indoor feature, it also provides your family with fresh home-grown produce at little cost and minimal time investment.

Get organised

Lagom is all about creating a clean, calm space that feels inviting. The first step to achieve this is to declutter and organise your home. Invest in clever storage solutions like under-bed boxes, add ceiling-height cabinets with a sliding ladder, or stack vintage suitcases to make a bedside table. Reducing visual clutter will immediately form a greater sense of space and order – perfect for when it comes to socialising with family and friends at home.

Live more responsibly

As much as we’d all love to curl up in pyjamas under luxurious throws at home, lagom encourages us to live a more frugal, yet fruitful existence than hygge, which minimises damage to the environment. A good place to start is to become more conscious about the resources you use in your home, which will in turn reduce your utility bills and support the environment. Simple things like turning the tap off when you brush your teeth, switching to LED lightbulbs or adding thermostatic valves to your radiators can make a big difference to your heating system’s efficiency.

Invest sensibly in your interiors

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to lagom. It isn’t about spending a lot of money on household items, but rather investing in a limited number of high-quality pieces – like statement furniture, radiators or rugs – which promise long-term comfort and reliability. Introduce durable, natural materials into your home such as an acacia wood table or a bamboo rocking chair in place of man-made plastics or fibreboard. You can complement these with minimalist and inexpensive ‘extras’ to give your rooms more flair. This will save time and money in the long run, as you won’t need to keep replacing poor quality items.