For most people, modern minimalism has been a highly sought after aesthetic but there’s a new craze in town: Japandi. As an amalgamation of the Nordic Scandinavian look and the natural Japanese style, Japandi boasts both minimalism and functionalism while bringing in natural elements for an overall cosy atmosphere.
Think Muji meets Ikea. From choosing the right colour scheme to having fitting furniture to complete the look, here are some quick tips to achieve the Japandi aesthetic:
1. Go for neutral tones like beige and white
Image credits: @scandihomeofficial
Just a quick stroll through Ikea can tell you that the Scandinavian theme favours bright, white tones while Japanese styles lean more towards earthy and natural tones and textures.
To achieve a home that fits the Japandi-style, start first with a colour scheme that marries the two – a bright colour scheme with warm and natural tones. You’re mostly looking at a neutral, muted colour palette of beige, ivory, cream, tan and taupe.
Image credits: @wabi_living
For a little more variety, limewash walls can add a layer of texture to your home while imbuing some rustic vibes to really sell the Japandi look. Let’s not forget that it’s also an environmentally-friendly way to zhng your home.
2. Choose furniture with hidden storage for a clean look
Image credits: @one_treehouse
An essential feature of the Japandi style is minimalism and functionalism. While Marie Kondo teaches us to get rid of what doesn’t spark joy, the Scandi part of the equation is all about keeping things out of sight. Especially in most BTO-flats where space is a luxury, maximising storage is a must.
The best way to fool your friends into thinking you actually have your life together is to get furniture with hidden storage like ottomans or coffee tables. Having storage in accessible but unassuming areas can help you hide stray chargers, or remote controls to keep the overall look clean.
3. Use wood and accents for a natural look
Use woods to contrast the neutral tones in your home
Image credits: @interiorsbymonet
The Japandi aesthetic is synonymous with wooden accents, bamboo and rattan – but too much wood could also easily make your home look more mountain lodge than stylish. It’s advisable to start with a palette of neutral tones, then add your wood accents bit by bit.
Carpentry aside, at the reno stage, these could be a fluted wood feature wall, a wood-laminated ceiling, or wooden ceiling beams contrasting a white wall. High-moisture places like the bathroom are impractical places for wood, but you could go for plastic wood tiles that replicate the look and feel of wood.
If there’s still more room for a touch of wood, having mirrors with a thin wood frame, or even adding wood laminates to cupboards can help without going a little too overboard.
4. Use natural fabrics for your bedsheets, curtains and cushions
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Wood aside, the natural look also constitutes natural materials such as cotton and linen. This is commonly found in Muji in both the furniture section and the clothing section. With the softness of the material and its rustic look, it’s no surprise that it’s a staple in Japanese- and Japandi-styles.
Image credits: @decoratewithdaniela
These natural materials are particularly great for bedsheets because of their breathability, which can be helpful for those with sensitive skin by minimizing dirt build up during sleep. These fabrics can be bought at places like MUJI or, homegrown brand, Sojao.
5. Add some plants to your living space
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This tip isn’t exclusive to Japandi-style homes but a great way to spruce up your living space would be to add potted plants. Particularly for this aesthetic, plants enhance the natural look of your home and bring in a little bit of the outdoors.
To avoid going Jungalow instead of Japandi, keeping it to a few potted plants per area is more than enough. One way to maintain the simple look would be, for example, to use large potted plants like olive plants or eucalyptus to centre a space.
Image credits: MinimumDesign
If you’re like me and you don’t know diddly squat about plants, put your focus into getting minimal pots in neutral shades to match the theme. This helps any plant fit into the aesthetic and ensure that it blends into the decor.
6. Decorate the house with minimalist art
Image credits: @japandi_shop
Other than plants, paintings are also a good way to add another dimension to your home. For those who may not be a fan of adding feature walls, you can use minimalistic portraits or paintings to add an element of personality or life to your home.
For affordable options, Shopee has a good selection.
Image credits: canvaswallart.sg
To stick to the Japandi rule of simplicity, a good approach would be to use paintings with similarly muted tones and a simple subject matter. Paintings that fit into this aesthetic are often modern art or abstract paintings that use blotches of solid colour across the canvas.
7. Lower the height of your furniture for a down-to-earth look
Image credits: @mujisg
This may sound strange, but if you’ve ever been to Muji and browsed the furniture section, you may notice that a lot of their furniture is on the short side. Apparently, some suggest that having low furniture can enhance the Japandi-style by bringing in the Japanese tatami aesthetic.
Having your furniture lower to the ground is also said to embody a sort of down-to-earth philosophy that also brings out the natural elements of the Japandi-style. Other than Muji, you can take a look at Hommage for some chairs and bed frames that match the description.
Transform your home with these Japandi style tips
Whether you’re a first-time homeowner or not, everyone wants a chill and zen space to return to after a long day out. And the Japandi aesthetic certainly fits the bill. With its timeless style – thanks to the sleek Scandi look minus the showroom vibe – you can create a warm atmosphere and a home that will stay in trend for years to come.
So, although renovation and redecorating can be extremely daunting, it’s worth it when you end up with a home beyond your wildest dreams.