You may not think that Japan and Scandinavia have a lot in common, but when it comes to home design, they’re a lot more similar than you may think. Each one’s aesthetics focus on simplicity, natural elements, and comfort, so it’s no surprise that we’re seeing more and more designers blend the two looks together and calling it “Japandi” (aka Japanese and Scandi).
According to Leni Calas of Ward 5 Design, “Japandi design is the combination of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism to create a feeling of art, nature, and simplicity.” This fusion creates the perfect blend of function and form, focusing on clean lines, bright spaces, and light colours.
Though a relatively new trend, expect to see Japandi pop up on your Instagram feeds this year.
What Are the Elements of Japandi?
The perfect fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian, Japandi design focuses on simplistic, minimalistic designs that are aesthetically pleasing but rooted in function.
According to Calas, expect to find a plethora of natural materials, muted colours, clean lines, and minimal, yet well-curated, furnishings. Japandi design isn’t sparse, but it’s intentional.
Japandi styles feature beautiful craftsmanship with a focus on quality and handmade pieces over throwaway, cheap structures.
You’ll also see a lot of neutral colours and paint choices to complement Japandi furniture and accessories. Calming, tranquil, and peaceful palettes are typically chosen—and when brighter colours are incorporated, they are done so meaningfully and subtly.
Additionally, Japandi styles often emphasize sustainability. The prevalence of natural materials and simple designs makes it a great green decor style. With more and more consumers looking toward eco-friendly aesthetics, Japandi’s popularity is no surprise.
How Japanese and Scandinavian Styles Work Together
If you’re familiar with Scandi design, you’re sure to have come across the notion of “Hygge.” This is the Scandinavian concept of cosiness and hominess in design and has found increasing popularity in the U.S. over the past few years. Basically, your home should be your sanctuary and provide a feeling of comfort every time you walk in the front door.
Now, fuse that idea with the Japanese notion of “wabi-sabi,” or the idea that there is beauty in imperfection, and you create the harmonious marriage that is Japandi. Japanese and Scandinavian design styles work so well together because they are both rooted in simplicity and comfort. The shared aesthetics of the two come together to create a style that is both easy going and sophisticated.
And where the two approaches diverge, their differences complement each other. Where Japanese interiors are sleek, Nordic ones are rustic. The richer (but still neutral) colours of Japanese design help to keep the stark, crisp palettes of Scandinavian homes from feeling clinical or cold.
How Can I Decorate in Japandi Style?
If you’re a fan of minimalism and “Hygge,” chances are that you have already started to experiment with Japandi style. To really play with this look, focus on natural materials such as unfinished woods or bamboo pieces that bring in the feeling of nature and simplistic beauty. Calas recommends using muted colours with hints of pale green or bringing plants and greenery into your home to give it a sense of outdoor living.
Reducing clutter is also key to achieving the Japandi style. This design aesthetic focuses on clean lines and open spaces. But if you have an active household and struggle to find that minimalist look, Calas recommends trying “faux minimalism” with natural containers such as boxes and baskets, built-ins or folding screens to hide excess stuff and keep your space feeling clutter-free.
To get the best of both worlds, draw on the cosiness of Scandi design with warm textures and soft pieces while maintaining the elegance of Japanese decor. While both styles have a focus on the utilitarian, it’s important to maintain a Zen-like sense of calm in your space.
Because Japandi design is focused on craftsmanship, it’s not meant to be throwaway. Look for pieces that will stand the test of time and work with your decor for years to come. It’s a clear antidote to the one-time-use culture we have embraced for so long. Instead, focus on pieces that are sustainable and safe for our planet.
Though both Japanese and Scandi decor aren’t new, the combination of the two is sure to be a rising trend over the next few years.