Offering a hybrid of Japanese and Scandinavian influences, the Japandi style is one of the hottest interior design trends hitting Aussie homes. Clean, calming, simple and functional, it draws inspiration from both cultures to create a harmonious union of comfort and minimalism.
But what do the styles from these two regions — 8700 kilometres apart — have in common? In design terms, a lot. Both Japanese and Scandinavian design prioritise natural materials, superior craftsmanship, simplicity and comfort, as well as a focus on sustainability, which is driving a spike in popularity of this sleek style.
This seemingly unusual coupling of aesthetics began with the long-held relationship between Denmark and Japan. After more than 200 years of closed-door policy, when Japan opened, Denmark was one of the first western countries to visit as the designers, artists and architects sought out new inspiration.
The sleek minimalism, functionality and natural harmony between Japanese ‘wabi-sabi’ and Danish ‘hygge’ was a match made in heaven. Both rooted in practicality, every piece of furniture and décor in a Japandi interior is intentional. At the core of this style is the focus on quality items over cheap, throwaway pieces.
Japanese influence can be seen in Danish furniture, open-plan architecture and minimalism. Likewise, Danish design has been highly prized for decades in Japan.
A Danish design interior design philosophy of creating cosy, comfortable spaces to promote wellness and contentment (pronounced ‘hoo-gah’).
A traditional Japanese aesthetic centred around the acceptance of transience and imperfection; appreciating beauty in imperfection.
To achieve the Japandi look in your home, start with a ruthless declutter to let the fresh vibes flow. Adopt the KonMari method as you clean out the excess: Does it spark joy? If not, let it go. Create orderly, open spaces with light tones and a less-is-more approach. But fear not if you have a busy household and lots of stuff to organise! You can create ‘faux minimalism’ with sleek storage, such as baskets, boxes and even a storage trunk coffee table to hide away the excess.
Warm natural timber is prized in both Nordic and Zen design. Timber flooring and wood panelling are great features in Japandi homes, but it’s also easy to introduce natural timber with your choice of dining table, side tables, coffee tables and shelving. This design style also often emphasises sustainability with eco-friendly choices, such as reclaimed timber. With so many looking for a more environmentally friendly future, it’s no wonder the Japandi style has taken off.
Furnish your rooms with pared-down pieces with clean lines and neutral hue. Soft natural materials fit the aesthetic, while earthy tones such as greens, blues, ochre, terracotta and nuances of white from ivory to light grey capture the crisp, clean and calming mood.
Add personality and pops of colour with a careful choice of accessories. Japandi design prioritises function over frills, so selection décor that serves a purpose, such as ceramics, lamps and soft wool rugs to harness the hygge. And add cushions, throws and some striking wall art to capture the wabi-sabi (beauty in imperfection) vibe.
Create a connection between indoors and out with plenty of real or faux plants in hanging baskets and terrazzo planters. If flooplan allows, glass doors off living zones opening to tranquil alfresco spaces really epitomises the Nordic-meets-Zen sensibility. Finally, although minimalist by design, you can avoid making your spaces feel cold and clinical with rich textures such as wool, jute, cotton, wicker, ceramics and hand-painted objects to add warmth.