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Destination: Japandi

Right about now, you might be asking, "What is Japandi?" Well, I am embarrassed to admit that less than a month ago, I had never heard of the term either. A client of mine, who is clearly more hip than I am, mentioned it to me as we were discussing what her style was. I have just started working with her and her husband and had asked the question I always do during my first consultation, "How would you describe your style?"

Her response left me astonished (how had I not heard of this before?) and intrigued, and then I became obsessed. See, Japandi is the blend of two of my favorite aesthetics: Japanese (Japan) and Scandinavian (di). Brilliant!

These aesthetics focus on simplicity, natural elements, and comfort, something we all need more of these days. It's actually no surprise that we're seeing more and more designers combine the two looks together and calling it "Japandi." In fact, as I started to read more about this trend, I was surprised it took this long to come to it. Now that we have, get ready for this look to start flooding your Instagram feed.

What is Japandi?

According to Leni Calas of Ward 5 Design, "Japandi design is the combination of Scandinavian functionality and Japanese rustic minimalism to create a feeling of art, nature, and simplicity." This fusion creates the perfect blend of function and form, focusing on clean lines, bright spaces, and light colors.

Some Key elements of Japandi design are:

  1. A focus on minimalistic designs that are aesthetically pleasing and remain highly functional. As a Scandinavian girl myself, I can really relate to that blend. I care very much about what my home looks like (super surprising, I know!), but as a working mom who runs her own bustling design firm, things need to work well. I do not have time for designs that don't perform well. Get it together, people!

  2. Beautiful craftsmanship with a focus on quality and handmade pieces over throwaway, cheap structures. I know, I know, what about IKEA? That's Scandinavian, not Japandi — let's keep up, folks!

  3. Japandi styles often emphasize sustainability. The prevalence of natural materials and simple designs makes it a great green decor style. With more and more consumers looking toward eco-friendly aesthetics, this is an excellent option for your home decor.

  4. The palette tends to be neutral and soothing, with bold colors kept to a minimum and used with great intention to move a design forward. The idea is that the home is a place of respite and relaxation.

How did Scandi and Japanese design become Japandi?

If you're familiar with Scandi design, you probably have come across the notion of "hygge." The Scandinavian concept of coziness in design has become quite popular given the state of the world these past few years. Your home should be your sanctuary and provide comfort every time you walk in the front door.

Now, fuse that idea with the Japanese notion of "wabi-sabi," or the idea that there is beauty in imperfection, and you have the design marriage that is Japandi. Japanese and Scandinavian design styles work so well together because they are both rooted in minimalism and comfort. The shared aesthetics of the two come together to create a style that is both easygoing and sophisticated. Kind of like me (she says hopefully)!

You may now be asking, "How can I decorate my own home in this style?" Well, for starters, you could hire me, but if that isn't in the budget, here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Declutter! Yep, no one ever saw a stunning Scandinavian or Japanese home filled with a ton of clutter. So that is the best place to start. It will visually get the space in a better position to implement the design and get that calming feeling associated with this aesthetic.

  2. Bring in greenery. As in real plants, not silk plants. This touch will help create that organic, natural vibe.

  3. Add texture, not pattern. Scandinavian design relies on lots of cozy and soft textured fabrics and materials. Get some pillows and throws with neutral colors but loads of texture (think sweater knit for a blanket).

  4. Buy well-made furniture that's built to last. Pieces that are focused on craftsmanship are not meant to be a throwaway. Look for items that will stand the test of time and work with your decor for years to come. It's a clear antidote to the one-time-use culture we have embraced for so long. Instead, focus on sustainable and safe pieces for our planet and items that are not too trendy, like that classic black dress that never goes out of style.

So now that I have hipped you to this stunning new trend (although new seems like the wrong term), I hope you can find some ways to incorporate it into your space and enjoy its benefits of calm.

Until next time,



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