Despite their geographical distance, East and West not always lie ”worlds apart“. Japandi is a prime example: merging Japanese and Scandinavian elements, it shows that seemingly opposite cultures can complement each other perfectly. But what’s so special about this concept, and how does it translate into furniture and decor? Read on to find out.

The best of both worlds: Scandinavian and Japanese design

The “Scandi style” has long been trending among interior enthusiasts. With light colours and simplistic shapes, it offers a welcome relief amidst our busy everyday lives. Natural materials and charming details add the final touches for an all-round cosy ambience – the “hygge” factor, as Danish natives call it.

But what about the Japanese part of Japandi? This is where the philosophy of “wabi-sabi”  comes into play: rooted in Zen Buddhism, it celebrates the beauty of imperfection in various aspects. 

  • “Wabi” refers to the value of seemingly “flawed” objects: instead of looking for uniformity everywhere, we should appreciate the little irregularities that make an object unique. Likewise, an “incomplete” appearance can be all the more intriguing when it leaves room for our imagination.

  • “Sabi” in turn challenges the way we perceive signs of wear and tear: scratches, cracks, or changes in colour don’t necessarily mean that a piece of furniture is less beautiful. Rather, they just demonstrate that the piece has been put to good use and served as a steady companion for years on end.

Wabi-sabi thus not only symbolises clarity and purism, but also leaves lots of room for creativity. That being said, Japandi interior design is far from arbitrary or chaotic. It always remains focused on the essentials: anything that doesn’t serve a distinct purpose can be left out. The main goal is to create a calm, functional space that helps us clear our minds and recharge our batteries.

From furniture to decor: Japandi inspiration for your home

Now that you know why Japanese and Scandinavian culture work so well together – how can you implement them both in everyday life? First and foremost: always remember that less is more. Try to avoid throwing too many colours, patterns, or accessories into the mix. Instead of bulky furniture and elaborate decorations, stick to a few selected pieces that bridge the gap between form and function. This not only makes a room feel more spacious and clean – it also adds a sense of effortless elegance.

Natural materials are another hallmark feature of Japandi interior: you can combine all kinds of wood (including bamboo for the eastern flair, of course) with fabrics such as cotton and linen.

When it comes to Japandi decor, keep it as minimalist as possible. Each accessory should be carefully chosen and blend in with the overall ambience. Handmade pieces, e.g. vases or tableware, are a great way to bring out the “wabi” part (i.e. celebrating the unique irregularities of an object).

Japandi style at its finest: dark furniture in mid-century design paired with bright pastel colours. Source: Sandie Lykke Nolsøe for Karimoku Case Study

Small changes, big difference: how to round off the Japandi look  

Apart from soft pastel colours, dark accents can also make an appearance here and there: contrast a beige or white wall with furniture in black, brown, or aubergine, for example. This will enhance the perceived depth of a room and create a sense of clarity. Don’t forget the little details such as switches and socket outlets – they should fit into the overall concept just as well.

Switch frames from the Gira E2 or Gira E3 design line are a great choice for Japandi-style living rooms: minimalist and yet distinctive, they will stand out without dominating the overall picture. Not sure which option works best on your wall? The Gira Design Configurator helps you find the perfect match: using AR technology, it generates a live preview of a given switch variant in your own home. Thus, it will only take you a few minutes to find out which colours and materials complement the Japandi atmosphere best.