Exploring Japandi

Wow, December already and I’m ashamed to see it has been nine months since I last posted on my blog. It has been a very busy year for me indeed and I’m excited to write a post about my new favourite trend – Japandi. Any home decor fan who frequently flicks through any kind of interior design magazine will know that this is a mix between Japanese and Scandinavian design. Japanese influences are becoming increasingly more popular in interior design and as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to Skandi trends – this is the best of both worlds!

What is it all about? 

Japandi mixes the principles of Scandinavian design with the minimalism of Japanese decor to create a unique style with similar philosophies. In their own rights the styles are completely different but when mixed together they allow colour versatility and practicality in a minimalist way. The styles combined offer a stylish and elegant scheme with warmth and individuality. It takes us back to the design mantra of “less is more.” The style uses natural materials and muted colours to create soft spaces which are inviting and modest.

Why are these differing cultures colliding in interior design?

Scandinavian design is about being surrounded by the items you love. It is about balance in lifestyle and design which is known by the Swedish as Lagom. They often adapt technology free areas which allows moments of  the Danish Hygge – being completely present and content in the moment. The style is simple, utilitarian and modest whilst focusing on functionality, craftsmanship and warmth.

Earthy tones are often used to create this look along with natural lighting aided with candles, natural materials and minimal ornaments.


Photo credit: Freshome.com

Japanese interior design is all about minimalism. In an over-populated country with smaller living spaces than Western societies they have mastered the art of living with just what they need. Uncluttered and well organised spaces should create a calming effect for the inhabitants and visitors. We are seeing more and more Ikigai- meaning finding your own meaning and Wabi-Sabi which means finding beauty in the imperfect and these philosophies are becoming a way of life in the West of the world.

Zen is imperative in making a house a home in Japanese interior design which comes from Buddhism. It focuses on meditation and therefore peaceful simplicity in the home is paramount to the modest Japanese culture. Nature is another important part of Japanese decor. Rather than flowers, Japanese design has bonsai trees and bamboo. Natural greenery is more common with the exception of orchids. Wood elements are commonly used in Japanese decor in Shoji panels which stylishly zone areas in open plan spaces.

Photo credit: Impressiveinteriordesign.com

Japandi. Now that we’ve looked at both Scandi and Japanese design, lets look more closely at this new trend. Airiness, simplicity and functionality is what marries the Scandi and Japanese designs together. Luxuriousness and fancy frills are scarce making this a very honest and practical style. It also doesn’t rely on designer products making it available on any budget. What I like about this trend is that it is has an anti-consumerism feel to it. It invites a pared-back honest way of living and encourages people to live authentically which in itself is beautiful. The Zen aspects from Japanese interiors encourages experienced-based spirituality as opposed to consumerism.

Photo credit: Domain.com.au

Now this trend is still very new in the world of interior design. So new in fact that there are limited photos on Pinterest and Instagram yet. You can have a look at my board here for Japandi inspiration. I think this trend is going to be huge. Forecasters predicted this to be big in 2017 but it hasn’t boomed yet. Vogue, Elle Decoration and Living Etc all featured Japanese and oriental design in their November issues and I think the best is yet to come with Japandi and retailers are waiting for the right moment. If I was a gambler I would predict Spring next year when the dust has settled from Christmas. Strong colours will be incorporated too to make this trend versatile for a luxury market also. I see this being in line with Pantone colours of the year. I see this happening because people are looking more for quality than quantity. Experts like Marie Kondo are encouraging us to rid the home of unnecessary clutter to help to allow the mind to flourish. Also Lidewij Edelkoort emphasised in a seminar this year that we are becoming “anti-fashion”. I see Japandi being more than a medium term trend and more of a design movement that was shaped by bigger megatrends.

I also see lots of artisan pieces becoming more popular with Japanese artwork also becoming more mainstream but in a refreshed more abstract feel. The shoji board for example to have a facelift from the classic square design. I see more industrial materials being used with the Japanese style to create Japandi like polished concrete floors and plywood being used more.

People are always interested in history and I think it is important to keep this interest alive. I see nothing wrong with taking an old Japanese piece like The Great Wave by Hokusai Katsushika and replicating impressions of this in an abstract way to resurrect its importance today.

Thanks for reading.




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