There is a good reason that Japandi style is gaining in popularity, however this is a style with its roots deep in the past. When Japan opened its borders in the late 19th century, Scandinavian visitors found an affinity with the delicate style and balance of Japanese interiors with their own pared back style. Many of the Japanese influences were brought back to Scandinavia, hence the beginning of a fusion of styles which we now refer to as Japandi.
There are many similarities between the two aesthetics; an appreciation of simplicity in design, a careful curation of good quality pieces rather than an abundance of clutter and a love of natural light.
Japandi Style, 7 steps to achieve this look
Find out more about Japandi style below and my 7 steps to achieve this look.
Japandi style is heavily reliant on natural finishes. You must include timber and timber and then more timber. Beauty is found in natural timber and stone which are prevalent for this look. Forget the gloss and glamour, a natural look is fundamental here. Matt finishes are essential for paint and joinery. Glass dining or side tables are not a feature in this look.
Timber can be dark or light. The important thing to remember with Japandi style is that it must be cohesive and simple. So you don't want a scheme that has strong tonal contrast.
Shapes are often organic with round edges.
The colour palette for Japandi style is light but soft. This isn't a style where you need a crisp white trim. Forget the Coastal or Hamptons look where you need bright whites, the whites for this palette should be soft and contain a little depth. Other colours are generally warm and muted. Terracotta, stone, beige and cream work well in this look and you can't have a Japandi scheme without some green, which could just simply be some artistically styled greenery.
Always think of subtlety and earth tones as an integral part of a Japandi colour palette. The colour palette should be warm, so blues should be avoided. Greys should be warm and used as an accent only.
Red, which is a strong element in Japanese culture is not often used in Japandi style. The fusion with Scandinavia sees more muted tones being utilised to create a more even colour palette without strong contrasts or accents.
Related: How to find the right white
The Japanese embrace the regular changes of the seasons and celebrate each one. For them, green is synonymous with fresh new beginnings while moss is celebrated for its pleasant patina of age.
Accents of black are part of this look, particularly if you are using darker timbers. These accents should be small though and shouldn't dominate the room.
Furniture Statement pieces
The Danes will spend a month's salary on a chair. This will not only be beautifully designed with comfort in mind, but it will also be elegant and beautiful. It is absolutely key to this style that furniture pieces are well considered and make a design statement. Only furnish the room with pieces that you really need, that tell a story, are practical and beautiful. It is preferable to sit on a milk crate until you can get the piece that you want. This is important in both Japanese and Scandinavian culture.
Both cultures live by the tenet of form follows function. An item should be designed for the purpose it is to be used for, rather than one that has embellishments that offer nothing other than decoration. So lines should be clean and simple.
It is important with Japandi style that furniture doesn't dominate a space. The feeling of simplicity and under-statement is very important to this look. Coffee tables tend to be low and unobtrusive, while sofas and chairs are generally low slung and close to the floor.
Beds tend to be low to the ground with low bedheads that don't dominate the space. Layers of natural linen in soft organic tones are perfect for this look and again, with any Japandi influenced style, timber, with all its imperfections, is key to the success of the style.
Have you heard the saying, assess a room and take one thing out and then it is complete? Well, for this style, you will probably need to remove more than one thing. Japandi is a style that relies on the less is more look. Remember Maria Kondo? The professional organiser has no time for unwanted clutter in our homes. This is Japandi style. There should be a place for everything and you need to check always whether something you own is a thing of beauty or is practical. If it is neither, it should go.
Japandi is a minimalist style, but it should be cosy with layers of throws and blankets, soft cushions and rugs.
Scandinavian style relies heavily on a good lighting scheme. Really, this is fundamental to all homes, but with such a pared back style, the lighting actually becomes the features in the space.
The dining room below from Steph and Gian on The Block this year was a great example of Japandi style, although at times their rooms could have benefitted from the removal of one or two items.
The Japanese have a close relationship with nature which is fundamental to their daily lives. In terms of interiors, natural greenery and floral designs are elegant and integral to the success of a space. Designs from nature are also included in soft furnishings, artworks and screens.
Hygge and Wabi-Sabi
The Danes love to Hygge. In fact it is said that they are the happiest nation on the planet. Hygge doesn't have an English translation, but it is summed up by a feeling of contentment. That feeling when you have been on a long walk in the cold with friends and come home to some red wine and a hearty meal. Or snuggling up in a cashmere throw with a hot chocolate and a great book. Hygge isn't about extravagant parties with lots of noise and alcohol. It is more about close friendships, good conversation and the general wellbeing which that brings.
The Japanese practice Wabi-Sabi which is the acceptance of transience and imperfection. With the appreciation of the natural world comes an understanding that beauty and happiness can be found in pieces that are imperfect. This love of simplicity prevents us from yearning for the things we cannot have while appreciating the things we do have.
When living with both of these concepts, life becomes more gentle and happier. This is Japandi style.
Related: How to Hygge in your home
Related: 5 key elements of Scandi Style
I hope you enjoyed my article on Japandi Style, 7 steps to achieve this look. Do you think this is a style that you would like to adopt?
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