Japandi: the Art of Small Space Living

Japandi: the Art of Small Space Living

Comfort, cosiness, organisation and minimalism lies at the heart of Japandi. This sleek culmination of all the best bits from Japanese and Scandinavian design is flooding interiors across the world. Best of all, the hybrid trend fits small space living like a glove. Here’s how to add this special blend of Nordic and the Far East into your home.


What exactly is Japandi?

Japandi is a décor trend that combines aesthetics from two main design styles:  Scandinavian and Japanese. Both styles have a strong emphasis on functionality, minimalism and using sustainable materials.

Japanese design is based on simplicity, a natural aesthetic and philosophy of wabi-sabi; a response to overly ornate design in the 15thcentury and is governed by finding beauty in imperfection.


Scandinavian design is based on hygge, (comfort and cosiness), lagom, (the principle of the right amount, not too much and not too little) and monochromatic schemes.


So, let’s get into the Japandi must-haves!

Raw Wood

Both Japanese and Scandinavian design use light wood; like beech, ash and white pine (Scandinavia); and cypress, cedar and larch (Japan). However, Japanese homes often have darker wood interiors due to their use of Japanese Elm and carbonised (black) wood for exteriors.


Consequently, the Japandi trend is filled with wood, the rougher and rawer the better. Incorporate this natural element into your home with artisanal carved bowls, wood bookshelves, a raw oak table or hang up a piece of wood art.

Organised Precision

Much like its roots, the Japandi trend oozes organised sophistication. Each piece of décor or furniture has its home within every room, in line with the philosophies of queen of decluttering, Marie Kondo.


Bring clutter-free calm into your home: firstly, make sure you have enough storage space; secondly, sell or give away what you don’t need; thirdly, have a specific place for everything you own. If you‘re living a small-space life, keeping it organised will make a tiny space feel big.

Sliding Screens

Replace hinged doors with sliding screens like shoji from Japan. Traditional shoji screens are made from thin paper and a wooden frame but in a Japandi setting, a glass or solid wood screen is perfect.  No handles mean doors and windows can have clean lines and emphasise the minimal look. 


Add a screen to your interior by replacing kitchen cabinet fronts or cupboard doors with sliding screens. Alternatively, use a glass or wood panelled screen as a room-divider (or art piece) in a studio apartment.

Texture for Hygge

Even though Japandi has the clean lines and minimalist aesthetic of Japanese design it also has the cosiness from Scandinavian design. So, go plush with super soft pillows, bedding and luxurious throws and woollen rugs for added comfort.


Black Accent Pieces

One of the many traits Scandinavian and Japanese interior styles have in common, is using black. So, it’s not surprising that this latest trend is making the moodiest hue its own. Use black as an accent colour to highlight a feature wall, a multi-functional furniture piece, or décor.



Luckily, Scandinavian and Japanese art are often monochromatic, which makes it easy to mix your favourite black and white pieces in your Japandi interior.

Colours from Nature

Soft analogous colours like pastels are popular in more feminine Japandi interiors. However, a forest floor or midnight sky is equally important for a trend that comes from very distinctly nature-inspired design styles. Sandy tones, rock grey, sky blue and leaf green are excellent choices in this new style. 


Stick to a neutral colour-palette and add nature-inspired hues in scatter cushions, upholstery, artwork or even a feature wall.

What do you think: is Japandi the best of two worlds or a passing trend?

All images via Pinterest 




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