From hygge to 'lagom':is this Swedish way of life the next big trend to hit British homes in 2017?

'The right amount is best' is the new trend set to be adopted in British homes...

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First, the Danes brought us hygge - the concept of creating a warm, inviting atmosphere at home. Now the Swedes are introducing lagom - meaning not too much, and not too little.

It comes from the phrase "lagom är bäst", which translates as the right amount is best. It's the balance of not having to sacrifice what you love, while not taking more than you need from the planet.

"This is a way of life for most households in Sweden," says Joanna Yarrow, Ikea's head of sustainability. "Scandinavians are greener than Britons because there's a feeling of collective action - everyone's doing their bit."

The Swedish furniture giant is now trying to introduce this culture to the UK, where more than half of the population say they can't 'afford' to live a greener life because inevitably you have to invest - in LED lightbulbs, for example - before reaping the benefits of smaller energy bills. 

However, as the world's population grows and natural resources become scarcer, small changes can make a significant difference to the planet. Recycling one aluminium can will power a TV for up to three hours, and every UK household reducing avoidable household waste - such as food - would be as beneficial as taking a quarter of cars off the road.

Five ways you can Live Lagom:

1. If all British households washed on a 30C cycle, it would save enough energy to power 500,000 homes

2. Switching lights off for just a few seconds can save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again

3. The average plastic bag is used for 12 minutes, but can last a lifetime

4. The average UK household can save up to £30 per year by switching off appliances instead of leaving them on standby

5. Every degree reduced on a thermostat can reduce heating bills by 10 per cent

Live Lagom
With this is mind, Ikea embarked on a three-year project called 'Live Lagom' which is aimed at helping households to explore the benefits of living more sustainably.

Working with the University of Surrey and sustainability charity the Hubbub Foundation, last year Ikea gave 125 households £500 vouchers to help them buy LED lightbulbs, which use up to 85 per cent less energy than regular ones, food containers to discourage waste and shower timers.

This year, 150 people will receive £300 vouchers.

Living more sustainably can be as simple as being more conscious about throwing away food and being aware of your shower times - and savings from these can be used to invest in LED lightbulbs, to save further on bills.

Tips from 'Lagomers' 

 

  1. Make small changes to live a more sustainable lifestyle, instead feeling like you have to become a full-time ‘eco-warrior’
     
  2. Declutter messy areas around the home and invest in proper storage solutions to save waste, limit duplicated purchases and recycle unwanted goods
     
  3. Invest in high-quality blankets and throws to help you to live more ‘hygge’ and cut your heating bill at the same time  
     
  4. Cover up areas prone to draughts with rugs and thick curtains, avoiding the need to heat up rooms
     
  5. Plug all electronic equipment into one extension lead that can be switched off with the touch of one button

Only one person I know takes three-minute showers, but if everyone in the UK managed to do this we'd save enough water to supply one million homes per day.

Recruits to the Ikea scheme attended a workshop, had home visits and shared ideas and feedback via questionnaires and social media.

Participants started calling themselves "Lagomers" and have found it's a virtuous circle - once people start to live more sustainably they want to do more and also share what they've done.

At the end of the year, 92 per cent of households agreed the project had helped them to live more sustainably - and all said that they planned to continue to live this way. 

“It is just the start of our lagom är bäst journey. Already, I couldn’t imagine life any other way," says participant Rosie McCormack. "Now, hand me the self-watering pots, a pack of seeds and let me watch the magic unfold."

The question is, with energy prices expected to soar this winter and food prices look set to go the same way, can you afford not to live lagom?

Lizzie Rivera is the founder of London's ethical lifestyle website, bicbim


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