Sweden is renowned for its cool architectural designs and famous for blending functionality and minimalism. But what sets Sweden apart from many other countries. Swedish architects really understand how a building makes the occupier feel and how a person connects to their living space.
A Swedish Saying Relevant To Small Space Living
There is a commonly used Swedish saying known as ‘Lagom’. Lagom translates to “enough, sufficient, adequate or just right”. But what has lagom got to do with a living space? Well, in Sweden a person that can afford to live in a multi-bedroom house may still just buy or rent a one bedroom apartment. If queried on why a person would live in a small place when they can afford to live in a larger home with extra bedrooms, the reply may involve the word “Lagom”. Meaning, it is just enough. It is just enough for one or just right for one. Anything else is unnecessary.
I believe this mentality is different to many other countries. For many other countries, especially in the affluent west, if a person has the money, then they go big, they buy a large home, a mansion. If money is not a problem then they buy or rent a place with more bedrooms than occupiers. These bedrooms are there ‘just in case’. Just in case family or friends stay over. However, 90% of the time, these extra bedrooms are empty.
Lagom är bäst
A common Swedish proverb known as “Lagom är bäst“, translates to “The right amount is best”. It can also mean “Enough is as good as a feast” or “There is virtue in moderation”. This means that anything more than is necessary, is just plain unnecessary.
The reality for most of us is that we live in a small space because this is all that we can afford. For the majority of us, if we had a big windfall of money, one of our first purchases would be an upgrade in accommodation. We would ‘up-size’.
If this is the case, then it is hard not to feel that we are unhappy with what we have now. Small isn’t good enough. However, maybe if we followed the Swedish mindset we might appreciate our little place that little bit more.
What Can We Learn From The Swedish
What can we learn from this Swedish proverb that would benefit us living in a small space.
You have more than enough
This Swedish proverb can help us realize that a small living space is enough for one or two people. It is very easy for us to think that a larger space would be so much better. If we only had more space then life would be so much easier. With all of these luxury dream home images online, it is very easy to fall into the ‘bigger is better’ mindset. The next time you dream about having a larger apartment or home, think ‘Lagom’. What you have now is more than enough, it is ‘Just Right’.
Only have what is necessary
When decorating your home, only have the things you need and don’t design or fill your space with unnecessary items. Many people fill their homes with items that they think everyone would expect a nice place to have. Your home should have just enough of the things that you like, have a passion for and will make your life comfortable. Everything else is unnecessary.
Simplicity is enough
A lot of the time we try to stuff unnecessary items into our living space because we think we might need them or we just don’t like to throw things away. Hoarding and impulsive buying is never a good idea, especially when you live in a small home. De-cluttering is very important. Get rid of what you don’t need and don’t be afraid of simplicity when designing or decorating your home. Remember, simplicity and having just enough to make your living space comfortable is all you need.
Modesty and efficient use of space
Modesty is important in Sweden, so you can see why this saying ‘just enough’ is used. Keeping up with the Joneses and trying to create the perfect Instagram worthy home should not be necessary. A modest, comfortable home, free of clutter, can make us just as happy. Being efficient with limited space is also important, especially in a small living space.
So what can we learn from our Swedish friends when it comes to living in a small space? Use your limited space efficiently, keep it simple and have just enough. This is the Swedish way.
So, do you think you could follow the Swedish saying ‘Lagom’? Is having a modest home right for you? One thing is for sure, having this Swedish attitude can definitely make living in a small space a lot easier.