Japanese and Scandinavian influences come together to produce a look that’s serene, organic, and refined.
A hybrid aesthetic combining the comfort and functionality of Scandinavian design with the simple elegance of Japanese style, the "Japandi" look is on the rise, regardless of one’s thoughts on the portmanteau.
It’s a natural marriage between two cultures that privilege minimalism and tranquility, and their differences also complement each other. The Scandinavian concept of hygge veers rustic, utilizing light wood, crisp neutrals, and simple layouts that can bring earthiness to a space; Japanese design contributes an emphasis on warm, rich colors and an indoor/outdoor experience that allows a home feel cozy, yet tied to the environment.
To bring Japandi design into your own home, begin with intentionality. One of the main tenets is a focus on beautiful, practical designs that are as aesthetically pleasing as they are functional. "We strongly believe quality and easy living will affect people in a positive way," explains architect Johan Tran, who renovated a compact apartment in Oslo with these principles in mind. "Owning less leads to having more time and focusing on the important things in life."
Each object in a Japandi home has purpose, and everyday items are themselves artful accessories. Focus on simple, useful, and impactful decor.
Japandi homes are restrained when it comes to color, but differing tones can create microclimates of mood within a space. Stick to neutral hues, but incorporate both light, open areas and darker, more intimate spaces to balance crispness and comfort.
Brown and beige are staple tones, while grays and blacks create drama. Muted pinks, blues, and greens can be used to accent meditative spaces and complement natural wood.
Drawing on the Japanese concept of wabi sabi—the appreciation of perfection in imperfection—Japandi emphasizes natural materials and a deep connection to the environment. Look to local materials, goods, and greenery to feel grounded in your home.
Stephen Proctor, the owner of a Japandi tiny home, perhaps expresses the meditative quality of the style best. "I previously spent time with Japanese-American artist Makoto Fujimura as well as Keiko Yanaka, a Japanese tea master apprentice," he says. "Between Makoto's ‘slow art’ and Keiko’s tea ceremonies, I’ve been on a journey of learning to be. I wanted my space to reflect this contemplative posture as a place of peace."