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Japandi Design: 7 Feng Shui rituals to invite abundance into your space

Japandi style blends the warm minimalism of Scandinavian design with the Japanese love of functionality and natural materials

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By House & Garden South Africa | February 21, 2024 | Design

What is Japandi Interior Design?

Japandi is a design direction that emerged a few years ago across all creative industries. Fusing some of the most sought-after elements of Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics, a Japandi style brings a sense of serenity and harmony to any home.

A Japandi style blends the warm yet minimalist elements of Scandinavian design with the Japanese love of functionality and natural materials. Neutral colour palettes, texture variations and clean lines produce a look which is simple and minimalist, yet simultaneously warm and welcoming.

It is arguably the philosophy behind the Japandi aesthetic that has led to the style becoming so prominent in modern interior design. Feng shui, colour therapy, lighting design and natural materials have all been implemented to create a unique space that beautifully encompasses both the Japandi philosophy and aesthetic. A Japandi style in design helps to create a spacious feel and calming ambience, a welcome respite from the chaos of the external world.

Flexible Use of Space

One of the main characteristics of Japandi interior design is a flexible use of space. But the challenge is maintaining an open plan and spacious feel while allowing privacy when required. This can be achieved using sliding and bi-fold screens to separate the bedroom and dressing room from the living area. Consider screens made from real Japanese rice paper, a material that transmits light yet allows the rooms to be separated.

Also, think about exposing beams and raising the ceiling to create more vertical space, which makes up for the relatively small footprint. Exposed beams make a beautiful statement, especially when they are in a contrasting colour to the rest of the home.

Using low-level furniture opens space further and incorporate Japanese design principles. The low-level seating area, for instance, immediately creates more vertical space while also giving the apartment a relaxed and welcoming feel.

The primary material used throughout a Japandi apartment is wood. Image via Unsplash.

Use Texture to Create Warmth and cosiness

One of the key ways that Japandi style differs from traditional minimalist interior design is through its use of texture to bring warmth to the space. This is especially important in a home with neutral colours and the décor very simple. Incorporating various materials and finishes will add dynamism and character to the room.

The primary material used throughout the apartment is wood. From the flooring to the kitchen fittings and even the bathtub, wood and wood-effect pieces enhance the natural feel that represents both Scandinavian and Japanese interior design. The bespoke stained ash dining table makes a stunning centrepiece, beautifully accentuated by the soft pendant lights.

Other materials used throughout the home include steel, wool, felt, hemp and faux suede. The metal basin in the bathroom beautifully contrasts the wooden bathtub, whilst the soft textured wool rug in the bedroom adds a cosy and welcoming touch. These subtle variations in texture help elevate an otherwise simple space, whilst the natural materials used are a homage to the outside world, incorporating design principles from both the East and West.

Don’t Sleep on Lighting

Light is one of the key considerations in every interior. Still, it’s particularly paramount in Japandi interior design, where, due to the minimalist décor, it plays a bigger role in elevating the space. Focus on enhancing this and providing enough light for darker days and evenings.

Light is one of the key considerations in every interior in Japandi interior design due to the minimalist décor. Image via Dior Home.

Install LED strips on top of each exposed beam to reflect light upwards and back into the room, producing a soft light instead of the harsher glare of exposed or visible light fittings. All additional lighting in your space should be soft and simple, seamlessly integrated to produce a gentle glow. If needed, you can adjust the brightness using the dimmer switches. Consider implementing several additional loose lights, such as the floor, table and wall lamps. These create extra layers in the simple interior, enhancing the warm, welcoming and relaxing atmosphere.

Function Follows Form Design Principle

In a Japandi-style home, every piece has a function or, in many cases, a multifunction. Imagine how a window bench opens up the space and creates a sociable seating area, yet it also provides additional storage. Or a simple floating shelves strike the perfect balance of aesthetics and functionality. Acoustic walls help to soundproof the room allowing one to play the grand piano without disturbing the neighbours. But, it also adds a unique texture and adheres to our neutral colour palette. The acoustic curtains soundproof the room and allow our client to relax without disturbing the bustling Soho streets.

Blend Neutral Colours with Varying Textures

There are two main techniques often implemented when it comes to the use of colour in Japandi interior design. Many designers use a neutral colour palette, bringing the character in varying textures. A neutral, monochrome interior is accessible to the eye and peaceful. Another approach is to use contrasting colours to define the area or elevate the space. The colour palette remains very simple but is more saturated.

Pick an accent colour to use throughout your space like anthracite for pendant lights that frame the table to a vertical radiator and exposed beams, the black highlights work as a sharp and contemporary contrast to the neutral colour palette.

Feng Shui principles are often used in Japandi interior design. Image via Unsplash.

Embrace Feng Shui

Feng Shui principles are often used in Japandi interior design. This ancient and somewhat complicated science aims to bring positive energy into the home. There are different techniques used to achieve harmony and balance. One of the primary principles of Feng Shui is a separation between different areas of the home, which, in open-plan areas, can be a real challenge.

More subtle Feng Shui principles include using a large, rectangular dining table to frame and balance with rounded pendant lights, while a sleek black handrail and soap holders take up the often wasted area of wall space next to the bathroom basin. By incorporating both Japandi style and Feng Shui principles, you created a tranquil space, a calming respite from the chaotic energy of everyday life.