Furnishing

The Japandi living trend: where Scandinavia meets Japan

Jana Janssen

You have probably heard of Asian fusion cuisine. What’s new, however, is the trend to also fuse living styles from different cultures. The most prominent example is the Japandi style. It combines the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi with the Nordic Skandi style. The result is a wonderful mix of coziness, minimalism and elegance. We explain what the new living trend is all about and give you tips on how you can integrate it into your home.

A low sofa with wooden legs and armrests can be seen in a living room decorated in natural tones.
© Getty Images/iStockphoto

In this article

Japandi – what does it mean?

Japandi – a cross between Japan and Scandinavia – combines two interior design styles in a tradeoff of contrasts and similarities. On the one hand, there is the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi, which is distinguished by purism and durability. On the other hand, there is the Skandi style, with its typical cool aesthetics and timelessness. To understand how the two styles can be skillfully merged, let’s first look at the two concepts separately:

Wabi-Sabi

Of course, Wabi-Sabi has nothing to do with wasabi. Unlike the spicy paste, the Japanese interior design concept is more about restraint. On its own, Wabi means something like feeling miserable, lonely or lost. Sabi translates as old or mature, or having patina. In combination, both terms stand for recognizing beauty in what is inconspicuous, plain or used. In terms of living concepts, this means turning away from consumerism and focusing on durable, natural materials.

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The Skandi style

Simplicity and natural materials are also the focus of the Skandi style from Scandinavia. Clear lines and shapes are indispensable. The use of bright colors makes the style particularly cool, but in no way sacrifices the idea of a cozy atmosphere. It creates this with lots of wood, textiles like linen and wool, and plenty of light. Unlike the Japanese Wabi-Sabi, however, the Skandi style seems more modern than traditional.

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Features of the Japandi style

The Japandi style combines Far-Eastern tradition with Nordic coolness. Implementing it in your own living room is not that difficult. You just need to know what to look for.

1. Contrasts of light and dark

The Skandi style is characterized by light, muted colors such as white, beige and light gray. In Japan, on the other hand, dark colors tend to be used. To reproduce the Japandi style in your home, the key is to combine the two. For example, you can mix furniture made of light spruce, pine or oak wood with strong, dark wall colors in natural tones such as eggplant or forest green, complemented with striking black emphasis thanks to picture frames. Of course, the opposite also works – dark furniture and light wall colors with decorative elements in light wooden shades.

A large black and white picture in a black frame is leaning against a wall in a living room. The rest of the decoration is also in black, white and gray tones.

Contrasts of light and dark make the Japandi style particularly exciting and interesting.

2. Materials from nature

The Nordic and Far-Eastern styles of living unite the use of natural and durable materials . For the Japandi style, you should mix materials from both worlds: cotton and linen pillows and blankets with jute rugs and baskets, as well as paper lamps, earthenware dishes and bamboo elements. You should also always include plants and solid wood furniture with a prominent grain.

3. Cozy minimalism

Both in Japan and in Scandinavia, the following guiding principle applies: less is more. Japandi means making a conscious statement against overconsumption and focusing on a few favorite items in your home decor. Each object is carefully selected and arranged. To prevent the overall impression from being too bare, Japandi experts add home textiles such as pillows, blankets and rugs. The use of natural materials, as mentioned above, also provides warmth and coziness.

4. Simple elegance

With Japandi, the goal is to reduce furnishings to a minimum to ensure timeless elegance. Consequently, simple shapes and clean lines without embellishments are in vogue for furniture and decorative elements. You should also exercise restraint when it comes to patterns. Discreet use of geometric patterns such as stripes and dots like in Scandinavia, or the Japanese batik technique of Shibori, fits the Japandi style.

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5. Functional furniture

When it comes to Japandi furniture, it’s also important to keep in mind the essentials. This means that each item should always show its function. In addition, particularly low furniture is typical for Japandi. But of course you don’t have to sit on the floor, as is customary in Japan. Low, plain sofas and benches and boards placed close to the floor are ideal. A nice side effect is that this low furniture makes the room look bigger.

Conclusion: the perfect combination of two worlds

Japandi will bring a breath of fresh air into your home. The style is clean and tidy, but by no means boring or uncomfortable. The focus on naturalness and durability is all about sustainability, and therefore fits perfectly into the year 2021.

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