October 14, 2022 6 min read
Written by: Tim C
With the introduction of our Oku Oak Collection, we thought we’d break down all the information you need to know about the Japandi style and how to introduce Japandi design into your home.
As you might be able to work out, the word Japandi is a portmanteau and comes from the combination of the words Japan and Scandi (aka Scandinavian). Japandi is used to describe an interior design style that unites elements from both Japanese and Scandinavian interior design. Design styles from both of these countries tend to focus on minimalism, natural materials and the use of clean lines and soft light. Therefore, despite Japan and Scandinavia being on opposite ends of the earth, the complementary nature of their design traditions makes for a perfect combination.
Delving deeper, Japandi takes influence from the Scandinavian idea of “hygge” and the Japanese concept of “wabi-sabi”. The Nordic term “hygge” is all about creating warm, comforting and homely environments to spend time in with family and focus on the simple things in life. Wabi-sabi is a view centred around embracing beauty in imperfections and the simplicity of nature. These two design elements are rooted in tradition but have recently become very popular due to an increasing desire to create a stress-free and harmonious home that provides an escape from the high-energy distractions of modern life.
The similarities of both cultures’ minimalistic design tendencies allow for the effortless merging of design concepts and when coupled with the combination of Japanese and Scandinavian traditional notions it all just makes sense.
As well as the minimalistic and paired back design choices in both Japanese and Scandinavian interior design, there is also an emphasis on the importance of craft and quality. When it comes to furnishings, both design styles tend to favour the sustainable high-quality option. This means opting for well-made quality pieces that will last, as well as favouring simple but beautiful timeless designs. This actually works well with the themes of minimalism as it encourages investment in statement pieces that will get their use instead of filling a space with too much unnecessary furniture. Therefore, the use of natural materials is both an aesthetic choice but also a principle based on the ideas of embracing nature and appreciating the environment that both cultures share.
Although it may seem like a relatively new design trend, the mixing of cultures, merging of ideas and borrowing of design principles between Scandinavian countries and Japan has been occurring for over a century. After Japan broke from its 200-year isolationist policy ofSakoku and opened its borders to the world, it was Danish travellers that were some of the first people to interact with Japanese art. These travelling artisans then adopted elements of what they found in Japan into their own work back in Europe. This early exchange heavily influenced the foundations of modern Scandinavian design, meaning that at some level, all Scandi design is a little bit Japandi too. Items of Danish design were also heavily sought after in Japan and the mutual admiration and inspiration continued throughout the years.
The recent rise in popularity of Scandinavian design and Nordic concepts as well as the ever-increasing obsession with Japanese design principles has meant the resurgence of this historic coupling.
Now that you know what Japandi means, below is a breakdown of how you can incorporate the key principles of the design style into your home.
Simplicity and minimalism are important elements of Japandi design as it is all about reducing busyness to create a harmonious and calming space. Opt for simpler, cleaner furniture and remove any unnecessary or extravagant items to allow the room to breathe and reduce the room's visual noise. Choosing furniture lower to the ground and leaving plenty of floor space to move about in will help to further the free-flowing feel in your desired space. Although keeping things minimalistic is the aim, functionality shouldn’t be lost as it is important that you create a calm, clean but also cosy space that you enjoy spending time in.
Keeping things simple and fostering a natural feeling environment means no garish colours. Your colour palette should encourage calm, tranquillity and warmth, so natural muted tones like sand, oatmeal, beige and off-whites are perfect. You want your space to feel light but still have some warmth to it. In order to avoid a washed-out, bland, monolithic colour palette, consider using complementary and contrasting colours. Complementary colours will add interest and dynamism into the room while still keeping things clean. Using black or a deep natural hue as an accent colour will highlight the warmer aspects of your space due to the contrast it creates.
Wood is an important material to make use of when creating a Japandi aesthetic, the warm colour of the natural material injects some brightness and depth into your neutral colour palette whilst also complementing it. The best way to easily add natural materials into your room is via key items of furniture. Using wood for prominent and frequently used furniture, not only adds warm colours in a significant way but also generates an overall feeling of nature and sustainability. OurOku Oak Collection perfectly combines the Japandi style into beautiful and functional pieces of furniture that will make it much easier to create an overall Japandi interior design.
Natural materials bring life into a room but it is also important to bring actual life into your space. Houseplants are not only perfect for easily contrasting neutral tones with deep greens, but they also add a natural, environmental element. Appreciation of our natural world is an important aspect in Japandi whether this is via the use of materials, the sustainability of design choices or the literal natural world being in your home. Houseplants will make you feel closer to nature even on a rainy day when you are cooped up indoors, and they look great too.
Much like with a colour palette, mixing up and contrasting your textures is important in Japandi design to avoid creating a space that is bland and uninteresting. It is easy to persist with clean lines and a minimal look while still considering texture simply by including contrasting textures across existing elements. Using furniture made from natural materials is a great way to add grainy and patina textures to a room. Textures are also a great way to add comfort to a room by making use of soft furnishings like cushions and rugs which will soften an environment and make it more appealing to be in.
An obvious aspect of Japandi design is a lack of clutter, this ties in with having clean lines and a free-flowing space but is important to mention on its own. The popularity of Japandi design is in part due to the hectic nature of modern life but the realities of modern life actually make creating a Japandi home difficult. Although you can make use of storage and cleaning habits to achieve this clutter-free aspect of Japandi design, it is more of a lifestyle element. Relinquish unnecessary items, or pointless decorations and allow for the items that are either functional or meaningful to take pride of place in your home. Decluttering not only looks better but feels better too.
Natural light is vital in Japandi design and making use of big windows is definitely something to consider if you can. The neutral colour palette of a Japandi-designed interior will help soften the harsh brightness of the natural light from windows and add some warmth. However, natural light isn’t always possible to harness and when the sunsets an extra light source is definitely needed anyway. Instead of relying on the oppressive light beaming down from the ceiling, make use of lamps and different light bulbs to control the areas that are lit and the intensity at which they are lit. Softening the light in your room will make things calmer and cosier and allow you to enjoy your space even more.
If you want some more inspiration for creating a Japandi-designed home or simply want to add the finishing touches to your Japandi space with a beautiful piece of Japandi furniture then make sure to check out our Oku Oak Collection.
Don’t forget to tag us in any photos of your Japandi-style home and comment below if you have any more tips!
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