There’s no doubt about it – Japandi is one of the key interior design trends for 2020. As the name suggests, it’s a delicate fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian (or Nordic) design elements. In fact, the Japandi style brings together the best of both worlds: think simplicity, organisation and minimalism. But what’s clever about Japandi is that it blends together two complementary design styles, while balancing the excesses of each. So, Japanese interiors may be sleek and elegant, but they can appear clinical. However, the Scandinavian concept of “hygge” (comfort and cosiness) helps to compensate for this with a natural, pared-back aesthetic. Follow our luxury London interior designer Cinzia Moretti’s expert advice on what this trend means for the future of design.
The Japandi colour palette
Perhaps for fans of fuchsia and statement neon shades, you might want to look away now. After all, Japandi colour schemes feature neutral, muted tones: think beige, taupe, oatmeal and stone. So, I suggest you avoid anything too white or bright and nothing should jar, grate or dominate. In fact, the idea is to create a calming, harmonious atmosphere in a similar way to Biophilic design. Therefore, you can introduce warmth where needed via different materials. For me, pale coloured woods and natural fibre rugs always work well in a luxury London home.
So, Japandi colour schemes don’t have to be bland or boring. As a result, one way to avoid this is to introduce a contrasting colour. Therefore, why not opt for soft Scandi shades of pale pink, blue, green or grey? Or add some richness with a darker accent colour, such as black or charcoal grey. In fact, you often see these deeper tones in Japanese interiors, and they are a clever way to add interest to minimalistic décor.
Here, we used pale woods and neutral tones of sand, cream and beige in line with a Japandi colour scheme for this family room in London Kensington
Nurture the nature
Natural fibres and sustainable materials are also key elements in Japandi style. So, I find wood is an obvious choice for furniture. Therefore, Scandinavian pieces are perfect as they typically feature clean, simple lines. Meanwhile, in Japan, stained or painted woods and curved shapes are more common. However, don’t be afraid to mix and match the two styles, to increase visual interest. In addition to wood, other popular Japandi materials are bamboo, rattan and paper.
The cultivation of house plants is a key theme within Japandi design. For this project, the Bonsai tree emphasises the room’s Japanese feel
Plants are another important feature in Japandi interior design. After all, they are a simple, cost-effective way to bring nature indoors. In fact, they feel welcoming, add natural vibrancy and are useful for ‘softening’ an ultra-minimalist interior. In addition, plants can also improve air quality by reducing carbon dioxide and dust – perfect for emulating all that healthy Scandinavian air! Where space allows, I like to mix and match potted and hanging plants. Or you could choose a Bonsai tree to emphasise your room’s Japanese feel.
Tom Raffield’s Green Range planters combine biophilic design principles with the ancient art of steam bending. In fact, they are the perfect way to establish a calming, green setting within any Japandi-style interior.
Textures and fabrics within Japandi design
Now, if you’re keen to add some warmth and interest to your Japandi interior, I suggest you consider using different textures and fabrics. The Japanese, in particular, are renowned for incorporating exquisite patterns in their décor. So, cushions and curtains are an obvious place to start, but you could add throws and tableware, too. In fact, silk, velvet and cashmere are indulgent textures that will help to create hygge. Otherwise, you could enhance a rustic space with intricate patterns for a burst of vibrancy.
While too much decorative detail is a Japandi style no-no, it is a fact that well-considered statement pieces will work wonderfully – and this includes walls. So, if you’re not too keen on beige, I suggest you complement a neutral colour palette with one of Scion’s Japandi wallpapers. Described as an “imperfectly beautiful” collection, there are eight wallpaper designs over 32 colour ways. In addition, they feature playful patterns and ikat brush marks.
You can also use shapes and textures in Japandi style with accessories. Mirrors, picture frames, table lamps, vases and even carefully curated artwork can transform the look and feel of a room.
Scion’s Dragonfly Japandi wallpaper design is a beautiful way to brighten a neutral palette with pattern and colour
Minimalism and multi-functionality
The minimalist Japandi vibe advocates zero clutter, which is one of the reasons why it’s so suited to small space/open plan living. However, functionality and well-being are also very important. After all, when space is at a premium, everything present needs to justify its place.
I find the Moheim Tray Table embodies so many elements of classic Japandi style. Ultra-compact, with clean lines, it fuses contemporary Nordic design influences with Japanese craftsmanship. The added bonus? Well, the minimalist wood-trimmed top doubles as a tray that, when removed, leaves another table top below.
The compact yet multifunctional Moheim Tray Table is the perfect Japandi piece for small spaces or open plan living
So, if you’re not sure where to source Japandi items, NiMi Projects may be a good place to start. In fact it was established in 2018 by Japan fashion expert Nicole Bargwanna and Tokyo-based lifestyle and design editor Mio Yamada. In fact, its goal is to introduce and promote a wider appreciation of Japan’s exceptional contemporary design and artisanship in a fun and accessible way. Therefore, it showcases the work of a variety of Japanese designers and artisans. All pieces are selected for their striking aesthetics, functional innovations, and meticulous attention to detail.
If you need assistance to create your own Japandi interior, we are brimming with ideas. Pleasecontact us to find out more about the design services we offer, or to book a free consultation.
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