What is Japandi Design? Here’s the Answer

Every now and then, a new concept comes along that revolutionizes the interior design world. Whether or not Japandi is that, it’s still a little early to tell. That it may change the way millions of us design and decorate our homes, on the other hand, is no longer in doubt. As the new darling of interior designers the world over, Japandi is, as a closer look at its name implies, a fusion of two of the biggest design philosophies of the last 50 years: Japanese and Scandinavian. “Japandi design is the combination of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism to create a feeling of art, nature, and simplicity,” Leni Calas of Ward 5 Design tells The Spruce. As one sentence explanations go, this pretty much sums things up. With its buzzwords of clean, bright and light, it’s a style that many of us, in some way and to some degree, have already adopted… with some crucial differences.

What is Japandi Design?

So, we know Japandi is essentially a hybrid of Scandi and Japanese styles, but what exactly does this mean, both on paper and for our homes? The best way to think about it is to imagine what would happen if you took both styles, popped them in a blender, and turned the speed to max. Mix for long enough, and what you’ll be left with is a style that has the timeless elegance of Japanese design and the rustic warmth of its Scandi equivalent. Both styles are similar enough not to throw up any discordant notes, but somehow manage to combine to create something although, well, better. Take Japanese style, for example. Loved for its sleek elegance and vibrant colors, it manages to be both exceedingly 21st century and fabulously ageless. It’s also something that, with our critical caps on, can seem a little… sterile. A little clinical. A little more suited, perhaps, to a doctor’s surgery than our homes. Scandi design has a problem too: yes, it may be calming and relaxing and serene, but can it also be a little, dare we say, boring? Can all those neutral colors and calming accents be a little… beige? Now take the little rustic elements of Scandi design that give it its warmth and throw in the vibrant colors of the Japanese color palette. Interesting, wouldn’t you say? And that, in a nutshell, is Japandi- one-half Japanese, one-half Scandi, and yet somehow, 100% it’s own.

How to Introduce Scandi Style into Your Home

So, now we know what Japandi is, the next crucial question we come to is how to introduce it into our homes. As Freshome notes, one of the first and most vital things to tackle is your color palette. Get that right, and the rest will soon fall into place. Scandi design is symbolized by a neutral color palette … think plenty of cool, bright shades, with a predominance of white and plenty of natural woods. Japanese design, on the other hand, is an altogether more vibrant affair, with dark, stained woods, rich tones, and a predilection for red and black accents. The Japandi color palette likes to take a dark, neutral shade for its base, and then make things interesting by blending the light woods of Scandi design with the dramatic black flourishes of Japanese interiors. Add a few monochrome accents, a dash of vibrancy in the finishing touches, and voila… your job is done.

Scale back the Accessories

Both Scandi and Japanese designs have one big thing in common: neither has a taste for unnecessary clutter. If you thought going Japandi would give you freer reign with the ornaments and the knick-knacks than either previous style had, think again. But when we say unnecessary accessories, we mean “unnecessary”, not none at all. Scandi design is about comfort as much as simplicity, and positively encourages the use of decorative (while still functional) throws, pillows, and rugs. Japanese design, meanwhile, isn’t averse to the odd vase or the occasional screen. Neither style, meanwhile, minds a few potted plants or floral bouquets. Add a few elements from both styles, and you’ll have plenty of scope to add both personality and prettiness to your room through accessories – just remember, less, in this school of thought at least, is always more.

Mind the Furniture

Imagine your typical Scandi room and what kind of furniture do you think of it having? Whatever it is, we’re bet it’s made of light, raw wood, has clean lines, and a slightly rustic, farmhouse quality, right? Now do the same for a Japanese style abode. Thinking of refined, elegant pieces in dark, stained wood? Us too. Wondering how much different styles can possibly come together in one unified whole? Surprisingly well, as it turns out. Japandi is all about the mix, and nowhere is this more obvious, and perhaps more successful, than in its approach to furniture. Mix things up as much as you want, marrying some Japanese curves with Nordic lines, some teak with pine, and some raw with treated. The end result may be a weird mishmash of styles in your head, but in your room, It’ll be a unique, visually arresting, and yes, harmonious blend that just works.

No Pomp, Whatever the Circumstance

As Hack Rea wisely notes, the one thing you really don’t want anywhere near your Japandi styled interior is any pomp. Take anything glitzy, anything glam, anything that casts doubt on the idea that everything in nature has a purpose, put in a bag and dump it. Or donate it, whatever… just don’t let it anywhere near your home. Japandi is about form and function – no matter how gorgeous the piece, if it doesn’t have a purpose, trust us when we say it doesn’t have a place in your home. Voluminous blinds are to be replaced with simple roller blinds in raw linen. Table clothes are to be left in the drawer, letting the raw beauty of your wooden table do all the talking. Before bringing anything into your Japandi room, take a good hard look at it. Is it simple? Is it natural? Is it functional? Do you really, really need it? If you answer no to any of those questions, leave it at the door.

Image via Powda Constructions

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