Living (and renovating) with Lagom

I’ve always been slightly obsessed with the idea of achieving balance, so it might come as no surprise that I fell a bit in love with the concept of ‘Lagom’ after reading the book of the same name by Linnea Dunne.

Lagom (pronounced ‘Lah-Gom’) is a Swedish way of life. At it’s most basic, it’s about living in a way that’s ‘not too little, not too much’.

Like with any way of life, Lagom has it’s critics. But I love the idea of striving to keep balance and find it can really help my wellbeing. And when you’re living in a house renovation, balance becomes really important…

The chapters of this book focus on all areas of life including wellbeing, work, interior design, food and fashion. While the most important takeaways for me were definitely around work and wellbeing, I also gradually started to see how ‘not too little, not too much’ could be applied to our renovation.

Here are my thoughts:

  • Applying Lagom to renovation work itself
    Luke and I have been guilty in the past of working our day jobs and then coming home to do work on the house (and previously the flat) in the evenings. Especially this year, due to the pandemic, a usual weekend will typically involve sanding, filling or painting (or all three). We’d carve out the odd evening to unwind and relax but by the time the next week came around, we’d head to our desks on Monday morning feeling shattered.
    If we look at our lives in a Lagom way instead, we can balance our weeks a lot better. We currently have indoor and outdoor work to do, so we’ll pick a couple of evenings each week where we do work depending on the weather, and then pick a couple of evenings where we go for a walk or get a takeaway or have a movie night. And we don’t feel guilty about it. That’s the key. We’re both so desperate now to finish the house, that we forget about enjoying the moment too. Splitting the renovation work up through the week and having a fun Sunday or a few evenings off might mean that it takes a few weeks longer, but it also means that we’re not burnt out and fed up with it all too.
  • Applying Lagom to decorating
    Thinking about painting an entire room dark blue? Maybe think again… If we apply the idea of Lagom to our interior design, you end up (I think) with a more balanced room. Rather than an entire room in quite an overbearing, dark colour, what about painting a feature wall? Or injecting the colour through bold furnishings. Or putting in a dado rail or panelling and going half and half to breakthings up a bit? This might not be for everyone (I’ve seen some AMAZING darkly painted rooms on Instagram) but for me, a recent white wall convert, I really like this idea. We’ve gone for pretty calming, neutral colours in our home and we’re adding bold furnishings or patterned tiles instead. We’re still umming and ahhing about whether to splash on some dark navy paint in the bathroom but with this idea of lagom, if we do, it will just be one wall.
  • Applying Lagom to furnishing
    I love the idea of minimalism but realistically, it’s never going to be something I achieve – I always find a way to add a couple more books or plants, and when a room is really bare, I think it looks empty. But Lagom could be a way to meet in the middle. When our lounge is finished, I’m going to attempt to apply this idea of Lagom when it comes to furnishing. We’ve just had alcove units built and I can’t wait to fill those shelves – it will be the perfect moment to try this concept. All those beautiful shelfies you see on Instagram? Notice how there are just a handful of books amid a scattering of diffusers, candles and vases, with a few succulents or hanging plants for good measure? The shelves aren’t full. They’re not overflowing with items and yet it’s not minimalist either – you can tell it’s lived in. Lagom.

Got thoughts on how Lagom could work in your home? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear them!

Postcard reading 'Lagom: Not too little, not too much, just right', placed underneath glasses, with a branch draped over the top, and a plate with cutlery and a brownie to the side.

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