The JAPANDI style - a fresh and minimalist style, which combines Japanese aesthetics with Scandinavian taste

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The Japandi style is a hybrid design aesthetic that combines the modern and rustic elements of Japanese and Scandinavian design philosophies.

The Japandi style is more than just a trend; it's a philosophy that emphasizes mindfulness, simplicity, and the beauty of everyday life. It's about creating spaces that are not only beautiful but also functional and sustainable, promoting a peaceful and harmonious way of living.

Here are the key characteristics of the Japandi style:

  1. Natural Materials: Japandi interiors incorporate natural materials like wood, bamboo, wool, and linen. These materials are chosen for their texture and sustainability, creating a warm and inviting space.

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  1. Neutral Colors: The color scheme in Japandi design is smooth, featuring neutral, earthy tones. Such a palette creates a calming and serene environment, allowing the natural beauty of materials and textures to stand out.

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  1. Simplicity: Both Japanese and Scandinavian designs value minimalism, where less is more. Japandi interiors are clean and clutter-free, emphasizing open spaces and simplicity.

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  1. Functional Beauty: Functionality is at the core of the Japandi style. Every piece of furniture and decor is chosen with purpose, serving to maximize utility.

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  1. Connection to Nature: Japandi design seeks to create a harmonious connection with nature. This can be achieved through large windows that let in natural light, indoor plants, and the use of natural materials that reflect the outside world.

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  1. Craftsmanship Quality: Handmade, artisanal pieces are valued for their uniqueness and durability, reflecting a respect for traditional craftsmanship.

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  1. Contrast and Harmony: The sleek, modern lines of Scandinavian design blend with the rich textures and organic shapes of Japanese aesthetics, creating a balanced and cohesive look.

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Indeed, in Japandi style, the preference for materials leans heavily towards those that are natural, sustainable, and capable of creating a warm, minimalist, and harmonious space.

Here are some of the most preferred materials in Japandi design:

  • Wood is a staple material in Japandi interiors, prized for its warmth and natural texture. Light woods like oak, ash, and beech are often used in Scandinavian design, while darker woods like walnut and teak are common in Japanese aesthetics. The use of both can create a balanced and inviting space.

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  • Stone, whether as a structural element or decorative accent, adds a sense of calm and solidity to Japandi spaces. Polished concrete floors, stone countertops, and decorative pebbles are ways this material is incorporated to add texture and natural beauty.

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  • Ceramics, particularly handcrafted once, are valued in Japandi design for their beauty and imperfections, which add character and uniqueness to spaces. Vases, bowls, and other pottery items are used as decorative elements.

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  • Natural textiles like linen, cotton, wool, and silk are preferred for their comfort and organic feel. These materials are used in upholstery, curtains, and bedding to add softness and warmth to the minimalist design.

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  • Metal: Small accents of metal in furniture or fixtures, such as brass, copper, or blackened steel, are used sparingly to add a modern touch and contrast to the natural materials.

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  • Bamboo is another material favored for its sustainability and versatility. It's used in furniture, flooring, and decorative items, adding a light, airy feel to interiors while also connecting the space to nature.

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  • Paper, particularly in the form of traditional Japanese shoji screens and lanterns, is used to diffuse light gently and add a delicate, ethereal quality to rooms.

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  • Glass is also used to bring in natural light and blur the boundaries between indoors and outdoors, a key aspect of both Scandinavian and Japanese design philosophies. Large windows, glass doors, and skylights are common.

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These materials are selected not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their ability to create a serene, functional, and harmonious living environment.

The decorative objects play a significant role in Japandi style interiors, though they are often selected with care to maintain the minimalist design philosophy. Here are some types of decorative objects most commonly found in Japandi style spaces:

  • Indoor plants are essential in Japandi design, bringing life and color to the minimalist interiors. Bonsai trees, bamboo, figs, and other potted greenery are popular choices, as they also reinforce the connection to nature.
  • Minimalist artwork in Japandi spaces often featuring abstract forms, nature-inspired scenes, or traditional Japanese calligraphy and ink paintings. Framed in a simple manner, these pieces add a personal touch without overwhelming the space.
  • Handmade ceramics and pottery pieces are highly valued for their unique textures and forms. These can include vases, bowls, plates, and decorative objects that add a touch of artisanal beauty to the space.
  • Natural fiber textiles: Decorative objects made from natural fibers, such as woven baskets, linen throws, and wool rugs, add texture and warmth to Japandi interiors. These items also enhance the connection to nature that is central to Japandi design.
  • Stone and wood pieces can serve as decorative elements, adding a touch of raw natural beauty to the environment.
  • Sculptural objects that combine aesthetic appeal with functionality are appreciated. This can include uniquely shaped lamps, minimalist clocks, or elegant candle holders.
  • Stacks of books, often relating to art, design, or nature, are used both as decorative objects and for their intrinsic value. They are usually arranged neatly to contribute to the clean, orderly feel of the space.
  • Textural Wall Hangings that add texture to the space without overwhelming it with color or pattern are common. These can be made from natural materials such as wool, cotton, or even wood.

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In selecting decorative objects for a Japandi-style space, the emphasis is on quality over quantity. Each item is chosen for its ability to complement the minimalist aesthetic, add warmth and texture, and maintain a serene and uncluttered environment. The goal is to create a space that feels curated and personal, yet spacious and tranquil.

Decorating an interior in the Japandi style, here are the 7 main principles to follow:

  1. Embrace Minimalism: Keep the space clutter-free and only include items that serve a purpose or bring joy. This principle emphasizes the importance of negative space, allowing each piece of furniture and decor to stand out and be appreciated.
  2. Use Natural Materials: Incorporate materials like wood, bamboo, stone, ceramics, and natural fibers into the space. These materials add warmth, texture, and a sense of calm, helping to create a serene and inviting environment.
  3. Stick to a Neutral Color Palette: Opt for subdued, earthy tones that evoke a sense of peace and tranquility.
  4. Create a Connection to Nature: Include elements that bring the outdoors in, such as plants, natural light, and items made from natural materials. This connection to nature is central to both Japanese and Scandinavian design philosophies.
  5. Focus on Functionality: Every item in a Japandi-style interior should have a purpose. Choose furniture and decor that are not only beautiful but also functional, ideally serving more than one purpose to maximize utility and efficiency.
  6. Incorporate Handmade Elements: Select items that showcase craftsmanship and quality, such as handmade ceramics, textiles, and woodwork. These elements add character and uniqueness to the space.
  7. Achieve Balance and Harmony: Find a harmonious balance between the sleek lines and simplicity of Scandinavian design with the rich textures and organic shapes of Japanese aesthetics. This balance creates a cohesive and visually appealing space.

Finally, add some subtle decorative objects, choosing sparingly and with intention.

By following these principles, you can create a Japandi-style interior that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also promotes a peaceful, functional, and harmonious living environment.

Furthermore, here is a small list of European furniture manufacturers, whose products align with the minimalist, functional, and natural material-focused ethos of the Japandi style that I had the opportunity to work with so far. While some may not exclusively market their products as "Japandi," their designs often embody principles that complement this aesthetic. I hope it will help you orient better on the market place for home furniture and décor:

IKEA (Sweden) www.ikea.com

It is known for its affordable, minimalist furniture, IKEA offers a range of products that can fit well within a Japandi-style interior, especially items made from natural materials like wood and cotton.

HAY (Denmark) www.hay.dk

HAY’s products, characterized by innovative design and understated elegance, are suitable for Japandi interiors. Their furniture often combines modern design with traditional craftsmanship.

MOLTENI&C (Italy) www.molteni.it

The Italian producer is a leader in the industry, offering quality, passion, and tradition under the label of Made in Italy. A union between architecture and nature to be experienced with comfort and elegance, indoor and outdoors.

MINOTTI (Italy) www.minotti.com

Minotti is an Italian company with a solid reputation at an international level as an excellent expression of “Made in Italy” in the field of contemporary furniture design. Each year, Minotti debuts an entire new collection that includes seating systems, armchairs, tables, chairs and many complementary pieces.

MORE MOEBEL (Germany) www.more-moebel.de

This brand has based its work for over 30 year on one simple principle: sustainability. Their products have clear lines, with a timeless appeal which will outlive any trend.

POLIFORM (Italy) www.poliform.it

Poliform has refined its style of minimalist lines, harmonious colors, sophisticated materials, and precious details to offer a quality Made in Italy that improves the living experience.

CECCOTTI COLLEZIONI (Italy) www.ceccotticollezioni.it

It is a unique company recognized all over the world in the field of interior design for the ability to create ‘products of the author’, unique in their originality and constructive complexity. In over 60 years of activity, this Italian brand has shown the character and quality of a company that has never deviated from its vocation to luxury craftsmanship.

POTOCCO (Italy) www.potocco.it

Italian creativity and artisan tradition are the distinctive traits of Potocco, a family-run company that has been creating furniture for indoor and outdoor environments for almost a century.

ZANAT (Bosnia and Herzegovina) www.zanat.org

Zanat’s way of creating its products has the most unique and personal approach. Their unique Konjic woodcarving technique perfected and preserved to a large extent by the family, was officially inscribed onto the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. This brand preserves their vision and materialize it into exquisite objects that introduce grace to spaces we inhabit, while not jeopardizing, but protecting and contributing to well-being of our and future generations.

CIELO CERAMICHE (Italy) www.ceramicacielo.it

Ceramica Cielo is 100% controlled by IBD - Italian Bathroom Design, leader in the design and production of high quality Made in Italy ceramics. This brand was born from the tradition and experience of master ceramists, with the intention of enhancing this noble raw material, and using it to create innovative and original bathroom furnishing collections, that are at the same time timeless, contemporary and linked to the Italian tradition.

The list may go on, and on; there are so many valid producers it’s hard to say which is the best. Nevertheless, what is important when choosing furniture for a Japandi-style interior, look for pieces that emphasize natural materials, neutral colors, and a minimalist design. It's also beneficial to consider the sustainability and ethical production practices of the brand, aligning with the Japandi philosophy of mindful living.

With best wishes,

Nadiya 

MetropolitanMe Blogger