What is Japandi?
Japandi, as the name suggests, is a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian styles. It is influenced by the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, a way of life which values slow-living, contentment and simplicity, as well as the Scandinavian practice of hygge, which embraces comfort, cosiness and wellbeing. Japandi blends the smooth, modern lines of Scandinavian design with the sleek, functional, elegance of the Japanese aesthetic. It is minimalist yet welcoming, and is all about using neutral tones, lots of textures and natural materials. So far, this trend is standing the test of time. Here are our top tips for getting it right.
Keep it natural
When it comes to choosing your colours, opt for neutral, muted tones. Think beige, sand, cream, taupe, oatmeal and stone. Avoid anything too white or bright. Nothing should jar, grate or dominate. You are aiming to create a calm, harmonious atmosphere. If you find these shades a bit bland, you can add a contrasting colour. For this, choose soft Scandi shades – pale pink, blue, green or grey – or add some richness with a darker accent colour, such as black or a charcoal grey. Light-coloured natural fibres and sustainable materials – such as rattan, bamboo, cotton, hemp and paper – are a key component of Japandi style. For visual interest, you can add in some cool metals too.
Mix and match
Alongside bamboo and rattan, wood is an obvious choice for furniture. Scandinavian pieces typically feature clean, simple lines. Meanwhile, in Japan, it’s more common to have stained or painted woods and curved shaped furniture. Don’t be afraid to mix and match the two styles to increase visual interest. Make sure the pieces you choose are top quality. Both light and dark coloured woods work. However, try to make the colour of your wood match as much as possible. This really helps bring a room together and creates a modern, harmonious feel.
Keep your accessories minimal. Japandi is all about having zero clutter. Less is more. Invest in a few stunning pieces you love that will stand the test of time. Carefully curated mirrors, picture frames, artwork, wall hangings, table lamps, vases and rugs can transform the feel of a room to make it feel cosier without adding clutter. Plants are a great, natural accessory to use. They are an important element of Japandi design and an easy way to bring nature indoors. They feel welcoming and will soften minimalist interiors. The added benefit is that they improve air quality – perfect for emulating all that healthy Scandinavian air. If you want to reference the Japanese influence more, you can include a bonsai tree.
The best way to add some warmth and interest to your Japandi interior is to use different textures and fabrics. The Japanese are renowned for using exquisite patterns. Invest in your cushions, curtains, throws and tableware. Indulgent textures will help to create hygge and patterns will add vibrancy. This is how you make the style feel welcoming, not cold. Rugs are hugely important. Find a big, cosy, subtly-patterned rug made from natural materials to lay beside your bed for that moment you slip your feet out in the morning. Make sure your bed is sumptuously cosy too by adding wool mix throws.
Low key lighting
The perfect complement to your minimalistic interior is some sleek and beautiful lighting. Just as every accessory or piece of furniture should be carefully chosen for function and beauty, so should your lighting. Make sure your rooms are softly lit to encourage a peaceful feeling. Incorporate industrial lights to add a Scandinavian vibe to a darker Japanese-inspired colour scheme. Or bring in some handcrafted, retro pendants in pewter or copper colours, to add contrast, warmth and elegance.
Take it outside
Japandi works outside too. Follow all the same principles as we’ve just listed. Just add some Japanese-style lamps, clean-lined Scandinavian-inspired furniture and stick to the colours of nature. You’ll soon have your own little peace garden.