When Japan and Scandinavia meet in the apartment

It might seem at first glance that Japan and Scandinavia do not have much in common. However, when it comes to home design, they are more alike than we would have originally thought. Their aesthetics are focused on simplicity, natural elements and comfort, so it is not surprising that more and more designers combine both looks and call it “Japandi” (from the words “Japanese” and “Scandi”).

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Some say the Japandi style design is a combination of the Scandinavian functionality and the Japanese rustic minimalism, which create a sense of art, nature, and simplicity. This fusion creates a perfect combination of function and shapes, with an emphasis on clean lines, bright rooms and light colours.


Which are the elements of Japandi and how do the Japanese and the Scandinavian style complement each other?

Despite being located in different parts of the world, there seems to be a long-lasting affinity between the Japanese and the Scandinavian design cultures. They share the love for minimalism and the simplicity of clean lines, and really respect the genuine beauty of natural materials and high-quality furniture items. Gentle, soothing and calm wall colours are usually selected. When including bright colours, sophisticated and sensible shades will be chosen.

Those familiar with the Scandinavian style have probably already heard of the so-called “Hygge”. It is a Scandinavian concept of cosiness and familiarity in design, which has become increasingly popular in the West in recent years. It advocates the approach that our home is a sanctuary, which must provide us with a sense of comfort and security every time we enter it. If combining this with the Japanese “wabi-sabi” or the idea that beauty stems from imperfection, we create a harmony between two styles which is called Japandi.


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Where the two styles differ, their versions complement each other. Where the Japanese interior is elegant, the Nordic one is rustic. Richer (but still neutral) colour of the Japanese design help prevent strong white walls in Scandinavian homes from giving a feeling of sterility or coldness.


When decorating a home in the Japandi style, we follow the steps below:

1) Exploring gentle warm shades and contrast combinations

When choosing a wall colour, we avoid very bright shades which give a sterile feel. Instead, we opt for neutral colours, such as the N12-1 or the N02-4 shades (according to the HGMIX colour chart). Accented colours in the Japandi style include gentle “Scandi” tones of light grey, pale pink, “baby blue” and pastel green colours (such as the G07-3 shade according to the HGMIX colour chart). We can add even more warmth to a room by choosing elements, such as natural fibre carpets or furniture made of light wood.


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2) Choosing natural materials

Wood is the most common one among materials, but we can also encounter other natural fibres, such as bamboo, rattan, or paper, so we try to incorporate them into the fittings as much as possible. When opting for a slightly bolder look, we can use bamboo in the background or add a rattan closet. Combining light and dark wood is a good way of creating an interesting contrast, while also incorporating both design cultures.


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3) Emphasizing simplicity

Japandi is a masterpiece of simplicity, so the spaces should be furnished in a minimalistic manner and airy to provide a sense of peace. Accessories and decorative objects are atypical for both the Japanese and the Scandinavian design philosophy, so we follow the “less is more” principle and select only a handful of carefully selected items. The Scandinavian style is characterised by smoothly rounded objects, while the Japanese style favours utilitarian elements. We can choose sheepskin carpets, which are also very “Hygge”!


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