'Lagom' is a Swedish word meaning 'just the right amount', not too much and not too little. We believe it's the secret to sustainable living because it’s what being conscious is all about; it's a way to live life to the full whilst not using too much or too little. Whether that’s food, energy, water or waste - Lagom is about striking the Goldilocks' balance.

We're working with IKEA, the University of Surrey and a selection of households across the UK on a three-year exploration into what encourages people to make lagom inspired lifestyle choices that are good for the purse and the environment. The project is called 'Live LAGOM'. You can read more about that at the bottom of this page. But first, room by room, here are some Live LAGOM tips that can help you find the right balance in your home, as seen in Vogue, Elle Magazine and Ideal Home!:

LAGOM in the home

  1. 'Reduce' to avoid ending up with too much stuff. Avoid over-packaged products and choose re-useable products over disposable ones (eg batteries, coffee cup, water bottle).
  2. 'Re-use' to save money. Find ways to get more life out of your things before throwing them away, you could re-style or repair things like clothes and furniture etc. If you don’t want something, sell it, or give it away to friends, family or charity shop. Gumtree, Freecycle, Freegle, and the Furniture Re-use Network are good places to start.
  3. Make it easy to 'recycle'. Find out what you can and can’t recycle on your Local Authority’s website.
  4. If you haven’t got loft insulation (or have un-filled cavity walls) get this sorted asap – this will save a huge amount on your bills as well as make your home feel much warmer.

LAGOM in the kitchen

  1. Planning is key to having the right amount of food. Pick your meals, write a shopping list, check what you have in stock and leave one night free for any left-overs or spontaneous nights out. Live with a family? Find out who's eating in and on what nights for that week so you don't overbuy or overcook. This could be simply added to a calendar in your kitchen.
  2. Store it right. Food storage containers were voted third most popular product by people taking part in our LAGOM project last year. They help people store food better, with labels, and waste less food. One person saved so much money by wasting less food, cooking from scratch more, and taking packed lunches that she was able to pay off her student loan!
  3. Wait for a full load. Fully load your dish washer, if you have one. No dishwasher? Make sure that you have a washing up bowl in place rather than rinsing down the sink as you'll use much less water and save money.

LAGOM your laundry

  1. Wash clothes at 30, unless they’re really filthy (use 60 for towels & bedding) – this will make your clothes last longer and save you money on bills.
  2. Always wait for a full load (but not too full, or it won’t wash well!)
  3. Use a drying rack instead of tumble drier whenever you can to save loads of money on your energy bill and make your clothes last longer. The tumble drier is one of the most energy intensive devices, and it makes clothes fade and fall apart quicker. Drying clothes carefully on a rack often means you don’t need to iron them.

LAGOM in the living room

  1. Draft proof to make your rooms cosy. Use thermal blinds or curtains, rugs and draft excluders so you can turn your thermostat down – even turning it down by 1 degree will save you £85-£90 per year on bills.
  2. Be radiator smart. Bleed your radiators to let out air in the system, so the hot water can flow and they can work properly. Here's a great guide. If you can, turn radiators off in rooms you're not using.
  3. Know your heating controls. Make sure you know how to use the heating controls and only have the heating on when you need it. Set it to switch off an hour before you go out/go to bed – the residual heat will still keep it warm. Thermostats will help you check different room temperatures - 18-21 degrees is the recommended range, with living rooms warmer (about 21).

LAGOM your gadgets

  1. Don't settle for less than A+++. If you’re buying a new washing machine, tumble drier, fridge, freezer, oven, hob, TV look for the energy rating. A+++ will have much lower running costs. Which? have an excellent guide for more info.
  2. Use LED lights everywhere for everything. LED lights are the biggest thing to hit lighting since electric light was invented! IKEA switched their entire lighting range to LED lights last year because they use 85% less energy than old fashioned standard bulbs, last much much longer and come in a huge range of styles. This saves so much money on household energy bills and time changing bulbs!
  3. Switch off at the wall. The average UK households spends £30 per year powering items left on standby (Energy Saving Trust). Use a multiple socket with a switch to make it easy to switch everything off at once. Timers are also a great way to reduce unnecessary energy use, for example using a timer if you charge your phone overnight.

LAGOM in the bedroom

  1. Know your togs. Having the right duvet for time of year can help you sleep better as well as reduce need for heating. Have a low tog duvet for summer and higher tog (or just add some throws) to keep you warmer in winter.
  2. Layer up. Use duvets and throws for warmth at night rather than having the heating on, this is much healthier for you as well as your bills.

LAGOM in the bathroom

Only 4% of the drinkable water we use each day is used for drinking. And nearly a third of water used in the home is literally flushed down the toilet. (Waterwise).

  1. Know your freebies. All water companies have an obligation to help their customers use less water, so there's a lot of free gadgets and advice out there. Find your water company and see what they have to offer here.
  2. Turn the tap off when brushing teeth to cut your water bill - a running tap uses 6 litres/minute!
  3. Fix leaky taps. More and more of us will be switching to water meters over the next couple of years. Fixing leaky taps will help keep control of your water bill.
  4. Shorten your shower by 1 minute. This simple action could save a family of 4 £45 on metered water bills plus up to £52 on energy bills (Thames Water). Most water companies offer shower timers as a freeby.
  5. Put a bucket in the shower to collect water while you’re waiting for it to run hot and use this to water plants.

More about the Live LAGOM project with IKEA

We're working in partnership with IKEA and the University of Surrey to inspire and support millions of people to live more sustainably. We’re starting by exploring the opportunities and barriers to living LAGOM via a highly ambitious and exciting three-year project.

A more sustainable life at home should be easy. It should make everyday life better and your home more beautiful. And it should be affordable enough so that we can all start right away. We know it’s possible and we want to prove it. That’s what the Live LAGOM project is all about.

Through the Live LAGOM pilot, we've given IKEA gift vouchers to over 500 customers and IKEA staff to invest in IKEA products that will help them save energy, save water, reduce waste, and live a healthier lifestyle. We gave them ideas and advice, and via a Facebook group they're able to support and inspire each other. We then asked them to tell us how they got on throughout the year. See the videos below to hear their stories.

To find out more about the project visit the IKEA Live LAGOM website or visit your local store. Follow #LiveLAGOM and join the conversation.

Applications for year 3 of Live Lagom are open now. Read more.