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

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

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“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 “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.
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    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.

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3. Choose calm colors.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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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