Japandi Design and Architecture - Explained

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Contractors.com Team July 19, 2021

Japandi is a portmanteau, or a combination of two words, Japanese and Scandi, and it denotes a marriage between two of the most beautiful minimalist design styles. Scandinavian style design is a celebration of the simplicity of nature and is meant to emphasize minimalism and sleekness. Although it is part of modernism, Scandinavian interior design is often considered a style unto itself. It is one of the most notable for its simplicity and functionality and is a great option for those of us who just want a home that looks as good as it works. 

Much like the Scandi style, the Japanese interior design style also emphasizes its appreciation for the simplicity of nature. Japanese minimalism, also known as Wabi-Sabi, is a design philosophy that values rustic aesthetic, beauty through imperfection, and the use of natural materials. So, it's only natural that the two design styles have been drawn to one another. Japandi is a fast-growing international trend, mixing the rustic simplicity of Scandinavian style with the sleekness of Japanese style. When it comes to designs that are cozy, natural, sleek, and simple, Japandi leads the pack.  

Roots of Japandi Style

To understand how Scandi style and Wabi-Sabi came to combine even though they are separated by entire continents, we must briefly delve into the annals of history. 

Japan was once a closed country where foreign trade and travel were severely restricted. This meant that foreigners couldn’t just come in and trade whenever they wanted. Likewise, locals in Japan could not leave the country for trade or education except for rare exceptions. Japan’s leaders imposed and expanded these isolationist measures as a way of defending their rule from foreign influence, and the policy lasted for well over two centuries. 

Tracing the Roots of Japandi

Tracing the Roots of Japandi

However, this did not mean that Japan was completely cut off from the outside world. Instead, trade was limited to specific areas known as “gateways” which were assigned to various foreign trade entities. Foreign merchants were forced to live in closed communities near these gateways and were not allowed to leave them or enter local cities. The Dutch were one of the groups allowed to trade through these gateways, and this is how most European knowledge and goods percolated into Japan. Once the closed country policies were forcibly ended in the 1850s by American navy ships, the floodgates were thrown open for an influx of foreign merchants and craftsmen into Japan. It was around this time that creatives and designers from Denmark began traveling to Japan, fascinated by what they saw as an “exotic oriental aesthetic”.

The Evolution of Japandi Interior Design and Architecture

The Evolution of Japandi Interior Design and Architecture

This is how the interchange of ideas began between Scandinavia and Japan, and soon enough Danish ceramics, furniture, and even architecture were incorporating Japanese motifs. Wabi-Sabi began to interface with Hygge, the Danish principle that describes stands for an overall sense of comfort and balance which, is achieved by creating a warm and welcoming space.

How to Recognize Japandi Design

The essence of Japandi design is a good balance between minimalism and usability. 

Quality and Subtlety Are Key in Japandi

Good Scandinavian Japanese design is aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. The ideal Japandi interior will be replete with soothingly neutral colors combined with the warm hues of wood much as in Scandinavian interiors. A Japandi design will also value high-quality craftsmanship and the use of natural materials. This translates to a lot of high-quality fixtures and furniture made of wood, natural stone, and glass, designed with clean lines and natural curves. 

Any flourish, included in the Japandi style interior is always subtly incorporated in a meaningful way. Everything is designed with intention and order, so you’ll never see a garish dash of bright red stick out like a sore thumb (this isn’t bohemian style, after all). Sustainability is another prominent theme of any Japandi style setup. This is not only reflected in all the natural materials, but also in the presence of plant life to accentuate the space, and in a design that makes room for green life rather than relegating it to a lonely corner. 

The Subtle Details That Create a Wholesome Japandi Interior

The Subtle Details That Create a Wholesome Japandi Interior

Differences Are Beautiful

But the signature characteristics of this style really start to become apparent when you look at the differences between Scandi and Japanese design. This is because in the areas where these two styles diverge, the differences complement one another perfectly. Some Scandinavian interior designs can sometimes come off as too cold or clinical. But this problem can be completely avoided by adding a dash of Wabi-Sabi colors which tend to be more stark and crisp than the lighter colors of Scandinavian design. Overall, the ideal Scandinavian-Japanese design will exude elegance and comfort without all the foibles and intricacies of more traditional styles such as Victorian design. 

Diversifying the Japandi Decor In Your Interior

Diversifying the Japandi Decor In Your Interior

How to Design Your House in Japandi Style

To convert your house to the Japandi design style, there are several details you need to pay attention to.

Adopt Minimalism 

The first thing to give your house a more Japandi style design is to make things more minimalist. One quick way to do this is to declutter your home. This on its own won’t give your house that Japandi look, but it’s an important first step. The point is to avoid unnecessary clutter and keep things neatly organized. This helps keep things smooth, simple, and pleasing to the eye. Just know that this isn’t just limited to your knickknacks and personal items. Any larger items such as useless furniture (meaning rarely used) should also be purged.    

How Less is More With a Japandi Interior

How Less is More With a Japandi Interior

Add Some Intentional Decoration

This can also mean removing things. If your house has a lot of ornamentation and intricate decor, it’s time to tone those things down and remove them if you can. You should try to limit the number of artworks or pictures on your walls, as well as remove posters or tapestries. Ideally, you want to have restrained decor in the form of some ceramic ornaments and some small, tasteful craft decorations. A few strategically placed plants will also help add to the aesthetic by intentionally adding spots of bright color throughout the space (plus, this is a good way to grow your indoor garden). 

What Makes Japandi Interiors So Special

What Makes Japandi Interiors So Special

Do Some Repainting 

Your goal is to give your home a neutral color palette that is accented with the occasional bright spot of color. This means light colors like white and light grey, as well as olive green and brown. This has to be done in a strategic way so that the colors of your home gracefully play off one another without being too garish. At the same time, you want to avoid a look that’s too cold, so be sure to add a modicum of bright color to offset the neutral hues. Just know that those bright colors don’t necessarily have to be painted on your wall. 

Colorful Japandi Interiors for a Little Inspiration

Colorful Japandi Interiors for a Little Inspiration

You can spice up the neutral hues of your Japandi interior by simply hanging a colorful artwork on a blank wall, or adding a plant or two in a few select places. To keep the interior bright you also want to make sure your house is getting enough light. This can be done with some extra LED lighting. Otherwise, and ideally, you can even modify your windows or add a skylight if you are so inclined. Making things brighter will really help to make your home feel airier, which is exactly what you want. 

Bring Natural Materials Into Your Home

This is where the more complicated jobs lie. The best way to create a Japandi bedroom, a Japandi style living room, or perhaps even a Japandi style kitchen is to remodel. This is because there are some bigger details - such as fixtures and furniture - that will need to be retrofitted to fully capture the Japandi aesthetic. For this reason, a remodeling project will be necessary if you want to go all the way with your Japandi style interior. Regardless of which room you choose to work on, the rule of thumb is the same when it comes to Japandi interior design: natural materials.

Everything, from your countertops to your living room sofa should be a celebration of natural earthy textures. This means that fixtures and furniture should be made of materials such as bamboo, wood, and rattan. If you want to lean on the more Scandi style side of things, some natural stone won’t go amiss either. Overall, however, wood should be the dominant material in your Japandi style home. This means that hardwood flooring and even wooden walls are an excellent addition. 

Japandi Living Room Designs You Need to See

Japandi Living Room Designs You Need to See

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team