How to Transform Your Home into a Calming Japandi-Style Sanctuary

Japandi living room from DFS featuring paper screens and minimal grey sofa and pouffe

Yuttari four-seater sofa in plain oatmeal, Yuttari large plain top footstool in plain oatmeal, and Yuttari accent chair in blue velvet from DFS

I wanted to write about the trend for Japandi interiors a few years ago but sometimes when you spot a trend emerging it is virtually impossible to illustrate it well without good photography. This is exactly the problem I found at the time. Fast forward two years or so and now you can’t scroll for 30 seconds without spotting a Japandi-inspired home. So it’s high time I wrote my post.

Japandi living room in neutral colour palette from IKEA

Image from IKEA

For those of you who are discovering Japandi for the first time, I guess I should probably offer an explanation of what Japandi design actually is. It is basically the intersection of modern Japanese design style and minimalist Scandinavian design. This beautiful fusion marries simplicity with nature resulting in a rising home decor trend that offers modern flair, timeless elegance and functionality all wrapped up in one calming sanctuary.

Imagine if hygge and wabi-sabi had a baby and then you get the idea. There is no direct translation in English for the word hygge but according to Wikipedia, Hygge is the Scandinavian word for “a mood of cosiness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment.” Wabi-Sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and really valuing authenticity.

Japandi kitchen in oak and marble from Superfront

Modern minimalist kitchen in Japandi Style from Superfront

So think sleek lines, muted, earthy colour palettes, natural materials, texture, warmth, light and comfort. With Japandi style there is also a focus on high-quality craftsmanship and hand-made pieces. Japandi-style interiors are calming, tranquil, and peaceful. They also tend to emphasize sustainability due to the use of natural materials and high-quality items that are made to last.

I don’t know about you but this sounds like the perfect interior to me. I think what I like about it is the fact that this fusion of two very similar but different styles allows you to enjoy the minimalism but in a way that is less cold and clinical.

Left: The Vipp Paper pendant lamp for the dining room | Right: The Vipp Sculpture table lamp doubles as a decorative sculpture

Follow Minimalist Design Principles

Both Scandinavian design and Japanese design are strongly centred around minimalism. They eschew needless maximalism and the addition of unnecessary items in the home just for the sake of it. This doesn’t mean that you need to own hardly anything but it does mean that everything should be well considered and have a purpose.

Japandi bedroom with low bed and built-in wardrobes by Sharps

Fusion Urban Concrete Bedroom from Sharps

Keep Clutter to a Minimum

Having said that you don’t need to get rid of all your belongs to embrace minimalism, it’s probably a good idea to declutter as much as possible to keep your space feeling calm and clear. For anything that you simply can’t live without, perhaps invest in some functional storage options that will at least allow you to keep the clutter out of sight and well organised.

If your budget allows, built-in storage that blends into the background is a great choice. Otherwise, consider trunks, boxes or cabinets made from natural materials and bonus points if they feature textured surfaces. Or even screens that can be strategically placed to hide anything you want to keep out of people’s eye line. Shoji screens are a traditional Japanese architectural feature and are perfect for Japandi interiors. Otherwise, rattan or bamboo screens work just as well.

The Wood Collection by Super Front

Use Simple, Clean Lines

The Japandi-style interior is all about simplicity and pure forms without unnecessary complexity. Japandi interiors follow the principles of human-centric design in that they are created to meet the needs of the users. They are highly functional spaces where everything has a distinct purpose that it fulfils.

The emphasis in Japandi design is quality over quantity so every piece has to earn its right to be in the space.

Japandi dining room featuring furniture and lighting from Menu

Androgyne Dining Table by Norm Architects for Menu

Focus on Craftsmanship

When decorating a Japandi-style interior, remember to focus on craftsmanship and choose furniture and accessories that have been really well made and that have been designed to last a lifetime. Japandi interiors are not about fast home fashion and throw away culture.

The Wabi-Sabi influence celebrates the beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of the object can be seen in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs. It honours the anomalies that arise from the production process, which add uniqueness and elegance to an object.

So consider opting for pieces that have been handmade and are one of a kind, pieces that have a real story to tell as opposed to things that have been mass-manufactured.

The Kyoto furniture & accessories collection by Alex Price has been designed to bring a touch of Japandi into your home.

Incorporate Natural Materials

Natural materials are an integral part of Japandi-style interiors which have a strong connection to nature. Consider using materials like wood, linen, jute, bamboo, cork and clay when designing your room. These materials all bring texture and depth to the space as well as adding visual interest. Opt for a wood dining room table, linen bedding, jute flooring, bamboo lights, and cork flooring for example.

It helps to bring in some greenery too in the way of plants. If I’m honest with you, Japandi interiors don’t feature enough plants for my liking. Due to the earthy colour palette, I sometimes find that spaces decorated in the Japandi-style can come across as being a bit arid and lifeless. So I would add a lot more plants if I were using this style in my own home. But that is just a personal thing being such a fan of biophilic design.

Rattan and bamboo furniture and lighting by Habitat

Bring in the Light

As you will have probably noticed both Scandinavian and Japanese interiors are big on natural light. So it follows that Japandi design also focuses heavily on creating spaces that are light, bright and airy. They do this by having large windows, light billowy, transparent curtains, or blinds and by keeping wall colours pale and neutral, often some shade on the monochrome scale.

Left: Ishinomaki AA Stool by Torafu Architects for Menu | Right: Androgyne Dining Table and Hashira Pendant lights from Menu

Choose a Neutral Colour Palette

Japandi-style interiors invariably stick to neutral or monochromatic colour palettes. They favour pale colours for the walls that are understated and allow the light to be reflected around the room. You will often see whites, greys or off whites and beiges on walls. You may also see very pale pinks occasionally.

he same goes for accessories and textiles that are mostly in a monochrome or earthy colour palette.

Japandi living room featuring low grey sofas and a low grey coffee table with a floor-standing paper light from Vipp

The Vipp Paper floor lamp is suitable for the living room or bedroom. 

The Vipp Cabin round table is a medium-sized table for the dining room or kitchen and comes with a light or dark oak base and marble top

So what do you think of these calming Japandi-style interiors? Could you live in a home like this? What is your favourite aspect of this style? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to pin this post for later.

7 Steps to creating a Calming Japandi-Style Home

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