Japandi Design: What is Japanese-Scandinavian Interior Design?Shelby Wall
Picture this: a home decorated with natural elements and complete simplicity. One that is both minimalist in design and highly functional in practice. Rooms curated with quality pieces made to last a lifetime. Are you imagining a Scandinavian house, or a Japanese one? Japandi design, a fusion of these two wildly popular aesthetics, invites us to appreciate the overlap between styles cultivated thousands of miles apart.
What is Japandi Design?
Japandi – an abbreviation for Japanese-Scandinavian – is a new trend in home décor. This approach blends the rustic minimalism of Japanese design with the functionality sought by Scandinavian homeowners. Common elements of these styles include materiality, neutral color palettes, and minimalist sensibility. We respond most to the warmth that it offers.
Why It Works: Hygge
Those who appreciate Scandinavian design will be familiar with the concept of hygge: a sort of shorthand for coziness within your domicile. Hygge remains incredibly important in Scandinavia; throughout long winters with little sunlight, people choose to create warmth and comfort in the home. Hallmarks of this style include soft accents (like layered throw blankets and rugs), lots of lighting, wood furniture in natural tones, and simple, clutter-free surfaces.
Japanese Design and Zen
In a Japanese home, countless aesthetic choices are based on time-honored tradition. Many of these conventions descend, directly or indirectly, from Zen: a sect of Buddhism which emphasizes intuition and meditation. This means that spaces are lit by large windows offering natural light, and are often open and uncluttered. They will be decorated with just a few quality pieces and natural elements, like house plants. The color palette is a bit brighter than that of Scandinavian design, but still focuses primarily on neutrals.
Bringing Them Together in Japandi
Reading the above, it’s probably obvious where these two styles overlap:
- Intentional curation
- Beautiful (yet functional!) pieces
- A few high-quality items
- No knick-knacks or clutter
- Neutral colors
- Simplicity and clean lines
How to Design a Japandi Space
If you’re interested in creating your own Japandi space and don’t know where to start, we can help. Here are a few of our top recommendations.
Declutter Your Home
If you’re currently more of a maximalist than a minimalist, you’ll need to do some editing. We recommend decluttering using the Kon Mari method. Many people end up with unnecessary or duplicate items because they clean room by room. This approach will help you to consider all belongings of a specific type at one time (all of your books, for example), which prevents things from falling through the cracks.
If you can’t commit to a big purge, try making use of storage solutions instead. Baskets, boxes, and built-in storage can keep your home looking clutter-free.
The “outdoor feeling” of Japandi design can be achieved through a few house plants. Place them strategically throughout your home in places where they will thrive (and add a bit of color to your space).
Make Use of Natural Materials
Japandi design relies on the use of natural materials. Blond woods and unfinished (or lightly oiled) woods can be great additions to your home. Be sure to seek out pieces that are non-toxic and that will not off-gas, particularly in spaces like nurseries and common areas.
Comfort is King
Soft elements are crucial to an effective Japandi space. Begin by selecting a few neutral, cozy rugs that feel nice underfoot. You can also include throw blankets (either laid over beds and couches or sorted into their own baskets). This pulls the hygge aspects of Scandinavian design into an otherwise sparse space.
Quality, Not Quantity
In America, many people are used to replacing their furniture and décor every few years. Japandi pushes back against this idea, instead challenging us to find pieces that will stand the test of time. Acquire your quality items from a trustworthy retailer. Remember, it can take a while to fill your home with the perfect pieces – don’t be worried if you need to budget and take your time with this step.
Prevalent Projects has always sought to combine Japanese and Scandinavian influences. In a 2019 interview, founder Julia Albee told the San Francisco Chronicle that our mission is to fill a space with objects that express our “warm but modern, Scandinavian-Japanese sensibility.” Julia and Floyd Albee identified the overlap between these aesthetics before the world caught on. Now that Japandi is becoming a household term, we’re excited to fill more homes with beautiful pieces that will last a lifetime.