Furnishing

Lagom, the interior design trend: live as happily as the Swedes

Arne Schätzle

Swedes live a relaxed life. Why is that? It’s probably all down to lagom, the typical Swedish way of life. We show you how you too can live happily thanks to lagom.

A gray sofa and matching armchair can be seen at the back of a bright and inviting living/dining room, just in front of the window. There is a wooden dining table in the foreground.
© Getty Images

In this article

Lagom means to live happily and in balance

What exactly does “lagom” mean? There is actually no literal translation of the term. It is usually described as “not too much and not too little”, or “just right”. But lagom, is more than a trend, it’s a fundamental way of life. It concerns food, work and a sustainable lifestyle. In short: if you choose a lagom way of life, you reflect on what is truly essential.

From a lifestyle to a living concept

The Scandinavians have applied this philosophy of life to their living concept: living rooms should not be overcrowded – with furniture, accessories or garish colors. Lagom followers prefer furniture made of natural, sustainable materials such as wood or wool and natural-colored cotton, obtained from sustainable production sources if possible.

Other natural materials such as clay, porcelain, natural stone, sisal or wood also fit the lagom style. Earth-like, neutral colors, light walls, warm and natural materials and no-frills decoration are all also typical of lagom interior design.

A dining room with a petrol-colored wall and large windows contains a dining table with six chairs. There is a vase of tulips on the table.

Large windows, a minimized interior, subtle colors – that’s lagom

Large windows: more light, more life, more lagom

Open, bright rooms with large windows that allow as much daylight as possible into the house are an important element of the lagom style of living. Lamps also create a friendly atmosphere: light sources are distributed throughout the room and are not mounted any higher than head height. And whether the lamp is placed on the floor or on a sideboard, it always emits a warm and bright light.

The lagom color spectrum: nothing too colorful please

Furniture, accessories, wall, ceiling and floor colors are more harmonious when they come from the same color family. Preferred shades for a balanced ambiance are calm, earthy, neutral tones such as gray, khaki, beige or greige – a combination of gray and beige.

To be clear, lagom does not mean eliminating colorful elements entirely. It is all about finding a balanced level of colorfulness. Small splashes of color are allowed, and even desired as deliberate emphasis.

Less frivolity, more style: lagom accessories

Basically, surfaces and walls should remain free of decorative frivolity so that the room appears calm. Bright colors, loud patterns or wild arrangements are therefore not appropriate for lagom. Instead of a hodgepodge of decoration, it is best to build on a few, high-quality unique pieces and put them in the spotlight thoughtfully and deliberately.

Interior highlight: the living room

The center of every living room is usually a comfortable sofa, to spend time relaxing with family members or guests, reading, watching TV or taking a little power nap. Sofas in shades of gray are particularly popular in the lagom universe. Small, round tables or even a classic kidney-shaped table fit in well. And matching splashes of color from cushions or wool blankets are more than welcome.

A clean look: the lagom-style dining room

A large wooden dining table is an integral part of the lagom dining room, but you can do without a tablecloth. And if you do need one for any reason, then white or beige is best.

A woman works on her laptop at a teak table in front of a glass cabinet containing drinking glasses.

Lagom is all about natural, untreated materials.

The table is complemented by modern dining room chairs, also made of natural wood, optionally covered with fabric. A stylish suspended light hangs above the ensemble, with fresh flowers and candles as suitable decorative elements. The carpet under the table is made of natural fibers such as bast, sisal, jute, coconut, seaweed or abacá.

Functional and comfortable: lagom in the kitchen

Light wood also defines the lagom look in the kitchen, whether in natural colors or wood that has been painted white. The floor is decorated with either light-colored tiles or a wooden floor, which may also be in darker brown tones as a contrast. Energy-saving electrical appliances round off the sustainable look. Regional and seasonal foods can also be included.

A harmonious quiet area: lagom in the bedroom

The focus is on peace and relaxation more so in a bedroom than in any other room in an apartment or house. This makes it all the more important for this room to represent a harmonious visual unit. The bed represents the key piece of furniture in the bedroom, and is preferably a discreet model, for example a simple box bed.

A large bed made of light wood is placed in the middle of the bedroom.

The bedroom is also given a very minimal look to ensure that it represents a quiet area in the home.

Lagom-style beds often have a fabric headboard that comfortably supports the back when reading in the evening. When it comes to bed linen, sustainable organic cotton or linen covers are often used. And the Scandinavians also tend to choose fabric for their wardrobes: their clothes are often hidden behind a curtain. In a bedroom too, it is important not to overload the room: small, simple tables therefore often act as bedside cabinets.

Have we sparked your interest in lagom? Try out our furnishing tips – and discover the Swede in you.

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