All about Lagom: Niki Brantmark talks Scandi lifestyle
July 25, 2018
Niki Brantmark’s blog, My Scandinavian Home has become the go-to for Scandi lifestyle and interior design inspiration. Here she tells us how she found her love for Sweden and the concept of Lagom.
What took you to Sweden and how did your blog come about?
I met my husband 15 years ago on a visit to Sweden (holiday romance!) and moved to Malmö one year later. I quickly noticed just how much effort Swedes put into creating a beautiful home and was really drawn to the simple, pared-back style. My Scandinavian Home was founded in 2011 to document this!
Were you always attracted to Swedish / Scandi style, even before you were attracted to a Swede?!
I first visited Sweden when I was 8 and the trip left a major impression on me. We were here for two weeks over midsummer and I loved wearing flowers in my hair and dancing around the maypole. We enjoyed a simple way of life at my friend’s summer cottage in the countryside of Dalarna. Days were spent swimming in the nearby lake and eating lingonberries on waffles. I guess my love for all things Scandinavian began that summer!
What for you are the key elements of Scandi design and how strict do you have to be when following it?
I feel the Swedish concept of ‘lagom’ (meaning not too much not too little) beautifully encapsulates Scandinavian design. It’s all about balance. Spaces are generally clean, pared-back and fuss-free yet still warm and inviting. Since light is so scarce in the winter, there’s a strong need to draw in as much as possible. As a result, homes are often painted in light, earthy colours (think white, light grey, light blue etc).
Scandinavians are also heavily inspired by nature which is why you’ll see many natural materials (wood, cotton, wool, linen, glass, stone etc) these are great for adding texture and a sense of calm. I feel the look is highly personal and is very much about following your heart and finding a balance that works for you.
What are the main advantages of adopting Scandi design style?
Scandinavian design is often associated with a sustainable mindset. It’s about decorating your home purposefully and selecting items that are beautifully crafted and will stand the test of time 8and can be passed onto the next generation). Many Scandinavians will mix and match inherited pieces with vintage finds making it an economical way of decorating a space. Also, homes of our Nordic friends are highly practical – the design marries form and function. As a result you’ll benefit from a highly practical, organized home!
What does Lagom mean and what compelled you to write a book about it?
Lagom is a Swedish word meaning ‘not too much, not too little – just right’. It centres around finding a balance that works for you and slowing down and taking the time to do things right, in an uncomplicated way. In a fast-paced world it does feel wonderful to slow down a little and enjoy a life with less stress, less pressure and more time for the things you love – and I wanted to share my learnings from the Swedes! I’m very excited to see the book is available in 12 languages!
Ultimate Scandi style icon?
I love the furniture designed by Dane Hans Wegner – it’s timeless and Scandinavian design at its best.
What’s your favourite room in your own house?
Probably my bedroom! A few years ago, my husband and I decided to take over the entire top floor of our three-floor house. It has a beautiful light and a lovely balcony. It also has a small sea view! If the children get a little loud I sneak up there to read a magazine for a while!!
Your favourite 3 pieces of furniture and why?
- We recently acquired a bed from Carpe Diem Beds and now I find it almost impossible to get up in the mornings (I was bad enough before!) – it’s a Swedish luxury brand hailing from the Gothenburg archipelago and it honestly feels like I’m sleeping on a cloud!
- I bought a beautiful rustic wooden bench online a few years back and it’s so versatile – I’m constantly moving it around the house – it’s been at the end of our bed, used as a bench at the dining table and is currently our coffee table in the sitting room!
- I am slowly collecting the odd design piece and one of my favourites is my Mantis table lamp – it’s beautifully made, has a lovely form and goes with everything (and it’s practical too!).
What do you love about the new Decology, aka Decology 2.0?
I often liken decorating a home to a giant jigsaw puzzle – and it’s easy to get stuck from time to time. It can be pricy and time-consuming to invest in an interior designer when sometimes all you need is a little help with one room! I found Decology online interior design amazingly easy to use and it was a perfect way to tap into expert advice and yet still have autonomy over the results. Perfect!
Sweden vs England – we’re talking living, not football and why…?
I’ll always be British at heart and I do miss many things about England – mostly friends, family and all the wonderful people (the humour is just brilliant!) – not to mention a good old Sunday roast! My husband and I have three children and Sweden is a very calm, stress-free, easy place to live, with nature never far away (even in the city!). I love that we live by the sea and society is set-up to be able to strike a great work-life balance – this means a lot when you have young children. Who knows though, perhaps one day we’ll head over to England! We’ll see!
Read Niki’s blog post on her design project with Decology on her website www.myscandinavianhome.com.
You can read more about her own Decology project, here and see Niki’s own styleboard in our Lookbook.