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The Rise of Japandi: Japanese minimalism compared to the popular Scandi Design

Updated: Apr 11, 2021

For those who've travelled to both Japan and one or all of the gorgeous Scandinavian countries, it's fair to say that they value simplicity and functionality and demonstrate a love of natural materials through product design and home decor and lifestyle choices.

There is a huge admiration and respect for craftsmanship and eco friendly product design and manufacture and many of the traditional artisan crafts are held to an incredibly high esteem in both Japan and Scandinavia.


The acknowledgement and willingness of many designers to share those attributes have produced a style known as Japandi or Japanese minimalism. As detailed within our Scandi Blog posts previously, clean and simple lines, opening up spaces to allow light to enter, soft and calming colour palettes and the willingness to use natural materials in combination with man made materials is at the heart of both Japanese and Scandi design and modern decor. Japandi seems a really obvious fusion of the Japanese style and Scandinavian style and it's success is now driving design trends around the world.

Similarities between Scandi and Japandi

The Scandi saying of ‘Lagom' (not too much, not too little.....just right) is so similar in meaning to the Japanese saying of ‘wabi-sabi’, (finding beauty in imperfection). This demonstrates and traditional way of life which allows and accepts faults and flaws. Look at the rustic wooden chair (pictured), it's strange shape and mis-matched colour is not perfect, but it works

so well against the calming background of the soft blue wall alongside man made leather products and a stainless steel plant pots - it works because it's NOT perfect. This concept is embraced in the Japandi style.

Japandi works well for modern families with busy and hectic lifestyles, because as with the Scandi design principles, simple, clean and functional products with soft colour palettes are at the heart of Japandi designs. These principles can create the feelings of calm and relaxation and enhance the notion of control and contentment.

Japanese and Scandi design is also focused upon aesthetics, the choice of materials and craftsmanship. Both cultures readily embrace nature, bringing the outside in, protecting the family from often harsh environments and conditions. The contrast between natural materials such as wood or plants alongside or within man made materials is also strikingly similar.

Colour palettes are also very similar based around calming tones. Soft greens, greyish blues, whites or very soft reds all help to create calm and warmth, bring light to a room and not overload the senses or draw and hold your attention for too long. Many believe that the rise in popularity of Scandi design and decor and now the increasing attention placed upon the Japandi design concepts is based upon peoples desire to follow simple and uncomplicated lives. People want to make everyday life simple and sustainable. Clean and uncluttered areas of the home populated with well crafted, eco - friendly products which combine man made and natural materials drive many our design decisions.

Throw Away Culture Many believe that as some manufacturers look to produce cheap and throw away products, designs concepts such as the Scandi and Japandi design movements are seeking to provide an antidote to this throw away culture. The key is to ask yourself are you willing to pay a little more for more sustainable, often longer lasting and well crafted products which have the power to alter your mindset? I think most would say yes, but we now need to make sure our actions follow our ethical values. Incorporating elements of a Japandi style in your home is then, not just about style, it's far more than that. Japandi is fundamentally a desire to simplify your life, both through the designs and products we choose, to the way we wish to bring calm and serenity into our home. Japandi helps to remove the clutter of thought, ego or consumerism.

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