Japandi as a word is rather hopeless attempt to describe two interior design styles merging into something new. Of course, that awkward word refers to Japanese and Scandi décors.
Both styles have some common ground – minimalism. However, there are other connections and bridges between them that make mixing quite a pleasant experience of creating something new.
But first, even an amateur designer should find out what are the ingredients of styles ready to mix. Let’s define the essence of Japanese and Scandi.
Japanese home design
General arrangement: a lot of space, air and light
Furniture: functional, ascetic, and almost non-apparent; low-height tables, puffs or cushions instead of chairs, mattress on a simple platform or on the floor as a bed, shelves as separated planks integrated into walls
Patterns: combination of vertical and horizontal lines as spatial dominant, straight geometric shapes, grid squares and rectangles formed by lines in walls, windows and floors
Accessories: ascetic selection of decoration, traditional ukiyo-e art prints, fans, specific pottery made in wabi-sabi aesthetics
Materials: mahogany, walnut, bamboo, paper
Colours: basic ‘colourless’ neutrals – mostly darker greys, beige, white; natural hues of wood, bamboo and paper; translucent blinds or windows; accents of green plants, red details, rather matte than glossy, rather dark than bright tones prevailing
Scandinavian home design
General arrangement: lots of space and light plus the impression of comfort and cosiness – hygge
Furniture: simple and minimal, often shaped for the comfort of the human body and relaxed posture
Patterns: straight or rounded lines of furniture confronted with natural, chaotic curves of accessories
Accessories: abundance of cushions and blankets in different shapes, sizes, factures; simple linear or abstract art prints
Materials: bright wood (birch, pine, ash, oak), ‘organic’ fabrics (wool, linen, cotton), occasionally plastic, brass, stainless steel
Colours: prevalence of white and bright neutrals
Way to Japandi style
The nordic style has ruled the world of home design for quite some time. Inevitably, lots of our interiors have scandi elements embedded in the house environment.
It would be quite difficult to get rid of all of them and start from scratch. That is why Japandi is such a good idea to gradually divert home design into a different direction and to add a fresh look to it.
Which elements of both styles to mix is an individual choice rather than fixed rules. The good news is, the change would not need dining table’s legs to be cut off or investing in overpriced openwork furniture. Japanese style has distinctive accessories that could make all the difference.
Details that matter
Think of beautiful tableware Made in Japan like ramen or udon bowls, tea pottery (small cups and pots), sushi mugs, or sake jugs.
Japanese homes have also that exceptional connection with nature and the environment. For example, bonsai plants could easily add that signature Far East appearance to the interior. Bamboo as live plants or dried decoration would do as well.
There is a lot of design elements to choose from. People of the Country of the Rising Sun have their own ways of doing things. For example, in their home design, there are centuries-old traditions of arranging flowers (ikebana), making floors (tatami), bedding (futon) and so on.
Prints for Japandi mix
Japanese ukiyo-e art prints are instantly recognisable and have the power of setting the style of interior. In Japandi re-design they could be strong colour accents or could bring specific themes.
Landscapes by Hokusai or Hiroshige add vividness to subdued in colour rooms. On the other hand, artworks of Utamaro, Eisen or Torii Kiyonaga, depicting beautiful Japanese women, match the neutrals: greys, beige, mauve etc.
Ohara Koson’s art unlocks the interior to the natural world. His prints of birds and flowers would match the ikebana arrangements and plant areas. Kamisaka Sekka‘s almost abstract simplicity matches the design’s minimalism.
Japan in little things
In general, adding Japanese art prints to the Scandi design almost immediately tips the balance. It is definitely a good start to turn the style of the interior in a different direction.
At first, start with one room by the gradual addition of Japanese details – art, pottery, fans, placemats and coasters. Checking out that ikebana arrangement could be fun too. Watch carefully how the new stuff interacts with Nordic elements.
Then, it’s time for more prominent changes. It could be the new futon bedding on a simple platform or translucent sliding screens on lattice wooden frame instead of the mirror wardrobe doors.
Since the proper tatami mats made from igusa woven straw are extremely rare (and overpriced) in the UK, the bamboo floor mats could do. Minimalistic shelving units are also available, and this one is a good example how to adapt modern furniture into Japandi environment.