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Design Dilemma: Lagom, the art of not too much, not too little

scandinavian bathroom how to tips advice

“Lagom” is a Swedish word meaning “just the right amount.” Living lagom means you’re living in balance, in moderation, with not too little and not too much. It’s a concept that particularly resonates in 2018, in an era in which many of us are awash in too much stuff that we can’t use or take care of while the earth suffers mightily for it. Not just by happenstance, lagom became a concept that arose into world consciousness last year, with several magazines and books dedicated to the concept. And we’re betting that given its emphasis on living a happier, more balanced and more sustainable lifestyle,  lagom will also be much in vogue in 2018, much the way that the Danish word “hygge” hit it big in 2016.

“Lagom is very much a part of everyday life, including the home,” Niki Brantmark, founder of My Scandinavian Home and author of Modern Pastoral ” told MyDomaine.com. “The Scandinavian home strikes the perfect balance between minimalism and over-cluttered, resulting in a clean, calm space that is also warm and inviting.”

Are you interested in making your own home a little more “lagom?”

Here are some tips to getting there.

  1. Eliminate something.
    midcentury dining room how to tips advice

    Most of us have much more than we need. The reality of life is that stuff accumulates, and if you never purge, eventually your home will be overwhelmed. One step to lagom means eliminating something that really isn’t necessary. In fact, you might start by not collecting the unnecessary to begin with. Scandinavians typically invest in far fewer furniture pieces, but they choose better quality pieces that have style without being too trendy. Scandinavian design, of course, makes this all so much easier. In the dining room above, for instance, the typical American impulse would be to add a buffet or a china cabinet or to include large, bulky chairs. But not in Sweden. Resist the urge to fill corners and empty spaces and buy over-sized furniture. Opening up a little more space at home often improves your home’s functionality.

 

2.  Get practical.

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The Swedes are a practical people, and one clever way they’ve developed of making a home “lagom” is to make use of storage as decor. In that way, you fulfill two purposes at once. A clever bookcase, above, of vintage milk crates strikes just the right vintage note in a country house. Below, in a child’s bedroom, 4-H ribbons won at the local fair also act as brightly-colored streamers in a child’s bedroom.

eclectic kids how to tips advice

 

3. Choose calm colors.

traditional bedroom how to tips advice

It’s rare to find a Scandinavian home that is a riot of color. Instead, Swedes go for whites and grays with touches of blue here and there.  The effect is soothing and never feels cluttered. Above we see a white bedroom with a touch of blue, below, soft gray with blue chairs.

scandinavian dining room how to tips advice

And here, more soft colors and quiet, monochromatic artwork :

scandinavian living room how to tips advice
scandinavian living room how to tips advice

And below, an all-white kitchen with light oak floors couldn’t be more scandy.

scandinavian kitchen how to tips advice

 

4. Go wabi-sabi.

Part of the beauty of lagom is that it embraces the used, the worn, the reclaimed. These things have soul and show that you are not trading in good furniture just for fashion’s sake. So enjoy worn leather, reclaimed wood, and don’t fuss too much over little nicks and scratches. And be sure to incorporate some slatted wood into your home somewhere!

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Below, worn leather makes a statement of timelessness and resilience.

contemporary family room how to tips advice

5. Enjoy the small things and keep the curation going.

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Enjoy the small pleasures in your home, like a vase of fresh flowers, or tea out of a special tea pot. Constantly edit your collections and keep a wary eye out for when it’s time to pare down. If you do this, we guarantee that your home will always feel fresh and inviting and you’ll feel lighter and happier too!

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Design Dilemma: Ringing Out Old Design Ideas

We’ve talked about what’s in for 2018, but what’s on the way out? We’ve come up with a list of things that have seen their day. Some of these things are still in the process of a slow death, and some are almost nearly extinct.

 

Edison bulbs.

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It’s not that these bulbs weren’t very cool to see when they first came out. The problem, no pun intended, is overexposure. These bulbs are in every hip coffeehouse from San Francisco to New York. They hang in every industrial-style loft and in every tech start-up. Now that they’ve become quotidian, they’ve definitely lost their novelty.

Tufted headboards.
For a brief moment, tufted headboards surfaced on the scene, only to quickly disappear. We think difficulty in keeping these headboards dust-free had to be a good reason for their short shelf life. We’ve always been in favor of hard surfaces that lend themselves to regular cleaning, particularly in the bedroom.

Park Avenue Bed, Desert Sand, Eastern King

Tuscan kitchens.

mediterranean kitchen how to tips advice

Kitchens in Tuscany look nothing like this. We’re not sure where the designation comes from, but today, no one is looking for a heavy, dark, faux countrified look in their kitchen.

Granite countertops.

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

Granite was nice in the beginning, when it was an upgrade from laminate. But now that it’s in every builder’s special, it’s lost its appeal. Today, homeowners are looking for something unique, hopefully a surface with a lighter, brighter feeling.

Glass Block.

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

Fifteen or 20 years ago, glass block was a clever way to bring light into a dark space that had no direct access to the outside. Today, glass block mostly feels dated, since there are so many other interesting ways to bring light into a dark space.

Vertical Blinds.

contemporary living room how to tips advice

Vertical blinds feel office-y and dated. Newer treatments and blinds feel much fresher, streamlined and are easier to keep clean too!

 

What else is out?

Ruffled bedskirts, heavy headboards, wicker furniture and plaid. But you probably knew that already!

 

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3 Things Essential To Your Home Security System

We’re living in the future. Virtual reality is used for mental health treatment, augmented reality lets us bring what’s on our phones into real life, and we’re trading in virtual currency.

However, the more things change, the more they stay the same. And unfortunately, one thing that hasn’t changed is home invasions. Break-ins occur every day, and we’re all vulnerable to it. Even with insurance, a home invasion can leave us feeling violated and unsafe in our own homes.

Home security systems are as important as ever, but they’ve evolved quite a bit over the years. They’re no longer just sensors that set off alarms when a burglar (or pet) crosses their paths. There are now some essential features all the best home security systems share.

Make sure that your home security system has the following 3 features.

Mobile access to surveillance footage

  1. Mobile access to surveillance footage

These days, surveillance cameras should not be a luxury. They’re relatively cheap and easy to install. Every home security system should include CCTV cameras.

But there is one feature they should have beyond simply recording footage. You should be able to access the footage from wherever you are. The best home security systems allow you to stream the CCTV footage from your phone. This way, if the alarm goes off when you’re not home, you can easily check whether your home is actually in danger.

Also, if you’re worried about an elderly parent, you can make sure that they’re alright by viewing the surveillance footage when you cannot get hold of them.

Remote control

  1. Remote control

Not only should you be able to access the surveillance footage from afar, but you should also be able to control the system wherever you are. By being able to control the lights, you can make it seem like someone is home. With the ability to control the alarm, you can stop it and reset it in the case of a false alarm.

Furthermore, most burglars ring the doorbell before trying to enter. This is an easy way for them to check that nobody’s home. Your security system can have your intercom go to your phone, so that even when you’re not home, you can answer the doorbell.

Keep it wireless

  1. Keep it wireless

In the past, one of the easiest ways for burglars to bypass your security has been to simply snip the wires. Wires can even betray where cameras are hidden. In a world in which wireless is the norm, this should no longer be the case.

Make sure that your system can work wirelessly. It does not need to be completely wireless – but it should still work for a time if the wires are cut.

Home security systems have evolved a lot since their early days. Remote activation, camera surveillance, and wireless capabilities should no longer be luxuries. When choosing the best home security system, you should find an option that includes all of these features.