Scandinavians embrace a different paradigm when it comes to home living. Bigger is not better, more stuff doesn’t mean you have more wealth. Instead, they believe in simple design, living within their budget and saving money to purchase home items.
While researching for this post, I found this great graphic: it illustrates how in America, our homes have gotten bigger and bigger over time. My home was built in the 1940’s. I don’t know about you, but I have felt that 1800 square feet is just too small for 2 adults, 2 kids and a dog. I hear myself saying, “There isn’t enough storage” or “There isn’t enough closet space”.
We experienced this first hand while staying at an open designed home in Denmark. It comfortably slept 12. The open design made for natural gather places in the living room and dining table. The windows made for breath taking views that change with the light. It was refreshing to live in a well designed home for two weeks.
In addition, we had a paradigm shifting conversation with my dear Swedish friend Camilla (@CamZam).
We met in Copenhagen and spent the afternoon together. It was pouring rain and we ended up walking through Islium Bolighus, a high-end home store that sets the standard for home living. (More posts to come on all the beautiful things we saw there, I think Camilla took a dozen pictures of me ohhing and ahhing over all the wonderful things in there!).
While in the store, I asked Camilla, “How do you afford anything with such high taxes?” Her response was that they save. They budget for items, even small items and then they buy something nice that will last and not need to be replaced in a year. We got to talking about the size of our home and how small it is. She and her boyfriend live in 800 square feet with their son.
Her response to us was, “Why do you need a bigger home?”
To which we replied, “To put all our stuff”.
“Then get rid of your stuff,” she said.
This conversation struck a cord with Jon and I. We have always tried to live within our means. Most of our furniture has been used it’s only the last few years that we’ve purchased new items. So, we are working to shift our paradigm, shift the way we think about stuff and get rid of what we don’t need and use.
The mantra that I’ve been saying is “Live with Less and Live with More”.
A great Danish Magazine is “Bo Bedre” or Live Better. I think we can all live better by living with less.