'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.

We worked 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'. Here room by room, 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.

Three ways you can get involved in #LiveLAGOM

Inspired by these tips? Live LAGOM is open to everyone. Here are 3 ways you can get involved today.

  1. Join the Live LAGOM facebook group and get chatting! This group is a lively, active, fun and supportive space to share ideas and information about living more sustainably at home. 
  2. Apply to your nearest IKEA store to become a Live LAGOM participant (applications are open August – September each year)
  3. Visit IKEA’s live LAGOM webpage for more ideas and inspirations