Like the Goldilocks of ways of living, lagom is Sweden’s answer to hygge.
It’s an approach that’s all about balance. So while you’ve been snuggling up to hygge with your evening cup of cocoa, focusing on those happy principles of comfort and cosiness, lagom is more about being contented.
Whether you want to give your home a makeover or are focused on your lifestyle, our quick – but not too quick – guide to lagom takes you through this Swedish philosophy.
What is Lagom?
Lagom means ‘just the right amount’. It’s enough, it’s sufficient, and it makes sense for just about anything in life. From the size of our homes and the possessions we buy to the hours spent at work, it’s important to achieve balance so you can live your best life.
There’s virtue in moderation, and once you embrace it you’ll see a huge difference in your day-to-day life. In contrast to hygge, which encourages us to seize the moment and indulge in what makes us happy, lagom is all about moderation, leading a frugal life with just enough to keep us happy and healthy.
Lagom your work-life balance
The Swedish take their work-life balance very seriously – a few years ago, some Swedish startups were trialling six-hour working days.
It’s easy to get bogged down with deadlines and emails, but it can’t be all work and no play. To do our best at work, we need to ensure we have enough time to wind down at the end of the day. Make time to take a breather or enjoy a fika, the Swedish tradition of enjoying a coffee break.
Create a truly Swedish home
While Danes incorporate hygge into their homes by draping their sofas in snuggly blankets and cushions, Swedes embrace a more minimalist approach. Take inspiration from the lagom way of life by decluttering your home and push your furniture back for an inviting, open space. Our guide to spring cleaning will show you where to start.
Opt for a simple sofa like a two-seater Brighton or the Hetty with Linoso Slate fabric, and complement it with a few simple succulents for a touch of nature – you can find our pick of the crop with this guide to urban gardening.
Harmonise your eating habits
Do you really need all that caffeine? Slow down. Go steady. While us Brits may find it impolite to turn down the sixth tea or coffee offered to us that day, lagom urges us to stop sipping after the first one or two.
When it comes to food and drink, the Swedish attitude is to achieve balance and harmony. It’s fine to order that burger at the restaurant one night, but if you have it every evening then you’re not getting the balance you need.
Of course, it swings both ways – no one can live on salad their entire lives. The important thing is to give yourself a little of everything, making sure you’re never deprived or over-indulgent.
If you don’t know where to start, Nichola Ludlam-Raine, of Nic’s Nutrition, told us about her top 10 tips for having a healthy diet.
Overhaul your wardrobe
Every part of the world has its own unique style and Sweden is no exception – clean, simple and considered. It’s easy to bring some lagom to your own wardrobe, too.
Nothing should be too brash or overstated, but rather versatile and timeless. If you’re going to buy a fresh tee, you’re better off investing in one colour that you can wear with everything else you have, rather than something with an in-your-face image that will only go with that one jacket.
Looking for some more design inspiration?
Take a look at these three blogs on Sofological: