Updated: Jan 8
What do you get when you combine two universally-revered interior design styles into one succinct hybrid?
Hip new lovechild of Japanese and Scandinavian design, Japandi. Of course.
Geographically speaking, this marriage of two worlds is seemingly an unlikely pairing. But the mindful merging makes sense when you dig deeper into the values, features and characteristics the two styles share.
Traditional Japanese – effortlessly elegant, subtle, beautiful - and modern Scandinavian design – contemporary, simplistic, clean – both champion the minimalist, and favour the functional over the flashy.
Japandi is a movement that has been quietly capturing the hearts and minds of designers in recent years, and is expected to be massive in interior and home-styling in 2021. Scandinavian design has long-dominated the mainstream - no doubt helped along by Swedish giant IKEA - but this renewed Japanese fusion adds another dimension to this already popular interior trend.
The two distinct styles working in tandem can really make for one good-looking home. Take a look at some of the key features of Japandi you can apply to your own interior.
Focus on functionality
Although the highly stylised Japandi aesthetic is paramount, there is also a sharp focus on the purpose of pieces. The minimalist philosophy of the trend stresses how items in the home should hold real purpose or significance to the house-dweller.
Find the positive in negative space
Japanese design in particular puts huge emphasis on the benefits of empty or negative space, as it is believed to allow space for creativity, clear thinking, and a calm mind – Yes please! Utilising intelligent storage options enables the hiding away of miscellaneous clutter you can’t bring yourself to let go of just yet. Less is more.
Go au naturel
The typical Japandi colour palette favours natural and muted hues; neutral ivory, greys, sepia tones, and dusty pinks all work marvellously.
Charcoal, slate, deep earthy terracotta and browns are also prevalent in Japandi-styled rooms; contrast these dark colours with the light muted ones. Leave obnoxiously bright bold colours and garish patterns at the door. They’re not welcome here.
The Japandi design philosophy is modest material-wise. Light untreated woods, in the form of wall panelling or furniture, and understated rattan or wicker items, provide an organic homely feel. Cultivate your own hygge - loosely translated from Danish to describe a mood of cosy contentment and well-being through the appreciation of the little things - by layering your soft furnishings. Think coarse, natural textures such as linen, and wool blankets and throws.
In Japanese philosophy, the concept of finding joy in the flawed or imperfect is ever-present and defined by the term wabi-sabi. Incorporate mismatched ceramic tableware, frayed fabric edges, or slightly weathered hand-painted pottery. It all adds character dear.
Something old, something new
Pairing antique pieces - such as sculptures or vases - with modern clean lines and furnishings is on brand for Japandi. If you’re struggling with how to dress bare walls, simple line abstract prints can be just the thing to fill the space.
Slim and low-level sofas, bed frames, and coffee tables, increase negative space by making your ceilings feel higher. Not normally imitated in the west, we reckon the traditional Eastern notion of perching on floor cushions around a low table is pretty neat too, and maybe it’s time we embraced it. As always, quality and statement pieces over quantity is definitely advised.
Concentrate on craftsmanship
Consider the Japandi philosophy of valuing quality craftsmanship a longer-term lifestyle choice, rather than a trend. Kitting out your space with furnishings that are made to last promotes sustainable consumerism and counteracts the impact of our society’s wasteful throwaway culture. Here at Ecopots, we could not align with this idea more.
Add some greenery to your scenery
Incorporating foliage into your Japandi-inspired home is of course a must. Indoor vegetation boosts mood by allowing us urbanite humans to feel more connected to the natural world. Bonsai and bamboo provide an obvious East Asian element to a room. Or alternatively, pick plants with elegant and long leaves that’ll cast beautiful shadows in the sun.
Consider the vessel for your carefully-chosen plants too – something minimal, with clean lines and in a natural hue. Our Amsterdam and Antwerp flower pots for instance, with their elegant and timeless round shapes, are collections which compliment a Japandi-style interior particularly well.
Live in the light
Gloriously light and airy rooms will maximise the charm of most interiors, so embrace any large windows, skylights and glass doors. Neat Roller or Venetian blinds are favoured over fussy curtains that could block sunlight, especially if working with a more modest-sized space. Keep any superficial lighting low-level and choose warm yellowy bulbs to create the right ambience.
So there you have it. The Japandi trend in a nutshell. It is a firm favourite with the team here at Ecopots.
Get incorporating the principles of Japandi design into your own humble abode. Not sure where to start? We suggest a declutter and a lick of paint to kick things off. Balance and moderation are the keys to crafting a space that is in equal parts uncluttered and calming, as it is comforting and overflowing with hygge. Nordic-Swedish word Lagom captures this concept perfectly, meaning just the right amount of something - not too much, nor too little. Minimalise your interior and maximise your contentment with the Japandi movement.