Move over Scandi, Japandi is here


Minimalist yet welcoming, Japandi first made its appearance in 2016. It continues to be a bang-on trend known for its blend of Scandinavian design with Japanese aesthetic

Minimalist yet welcoming, Japandi first made its appearance in 2016. It continues to be a bang-on trend known for its blend of Scandinavian design with Japanese aesthetic

As the name suggests, Japandi weds the renowned Japanese and Scandinavian styles, and is strongly influenced by wabi-sabi, the ancient Japanese philosophy that places value on simplicity, slow living, and contentment, and hygge, the Scandinavian tradition that embraces cosiness, comfort, and wellbeing.

Japan and Scandinavia may be separated by oceans, but the regions have a lot in common when it comes to décor. Both opt for sleek lines, neutral colour schemes, and well-crafted pieces made from natural materials and built to stand the test of time. When they come together, they forge a minimalist yet welcoming style that involves the use of muted tones, varied textures, and natural materials to create modern lines, simple elegance, and minimalistic interiors.

No wonder then that the style continues to grow in popularity. Pinterest’s 2021 trend report revealed that searches for ‘Japandi’ increased 100% compared to the previous year, and they have only soared in 2022 as people look to make their homes their havens. The popularity can also be attributed to many consumers’ keenness to rid the world of the modern-day throwaway culture and do their bit for the planet. The Japandi style, which coalesces functionality with simplicity and craftsmanship, is meant to be timeless and long-lasting.

How does one bring it home? Architect Anupriya Sahu, Founder and Design Head of home-grown furniture design studio Alankaram, tells you how:

Invest in natural materials

Natural materials are at the core of Japandi, which lets the bona fide finishes shine. Rather than coating furniture with too much paint or polish, it lauds the elegant rusticity of unfinished wood or bamboo. The emphasis is on pieces that instil the feeling of earthiness and simplistic beauty into the ambience. Apart from furniture, one can add small planters on tables or shelves to layer the interiors with greenery and provide an outdoorsy vibe.

Kutu lounge chair

Reduce clutter

Homes that are free from clutter tend to brim with positivity. The Japandi design aesthetic makes the most of clean lines, open spaces and minimalism. For instance, you can demarcate spaces using a screen made from teakwood and natural cane/ rattan. This visually segregates zones and yet connects spaces seamlessly. Bring in pieces that enhance functionality and pack a punch with storage. Think of wicker boxes or baskets along with built-ins. Alongside this, opt for multi-purpose furniture that offers more functionality within restricted square footage.

Bangku bench

Bangku bench

Opt for a soft colour palette

Both Scandinavian and Japanese aesthetics have a subtle colour palette and incorporate hues from their natural surroundings. Scandinavian style may incorporate hints of darker colours along with grey, white, and browns, but Zen decor features pastels of autumn foliage, blossoms, sky, and earth. Japandi melds both and takes the neutral route with hues that evoke calm and tranquillity, almost mimicking a natural landscape.

Pink Megharia sofa

Pink Megharia sofa

Celebrate craftsmanship

It may be understated, but Japandi furniture exudes a distinctly artisanal feel and is rooted in handmade processes. In particular, the Japanese are known to master timber since it is readily available and versatile. This design grammar also augments organic shapes inspired by origami — the traditional art of paper folding, often associated with Japanese culture. However, keep it subtle and maximise monochromes even if you are going for a handprint or craft.

Smola conference table

Smola conference table

Merge hygge and wabi-sabi

The Danish word ‘hygge’ encapsulates the feeling of cosiness, comfort, well-being, and contentment. Hygge furniture combines soft textures, neutral colour palettes, and warm lighting. On the other hand, the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabicelebrates imperfections. The Japandi style amalgamates slightly weathered pieces or distressed elements that are unique. For example, the natural finishes of wood and handicrafts made from materials such as clay, bamboo, and hemp combine these two design philosophies.

When decorating your home the Japandi way, ensure that you focus on quality pieces that last for years rather than quantity and prioritise things you genuinely need and enjoy. Make sure they ‘spark joy’ and your home will soon reflect Japandi flair.

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