What is Japandi Style (and Why Does My Cat Care)?

Not a dance, not a culinary technique, and not a fashion movement, Japandi style refers to an interior design sensibility that combines key elements from both Japanese and Scandinavian principles to offer maximum calm and cozy with minimum fuss. Blending the casual comfort of Scandi design with the soothing refinement of Japanese interiors, CNN reports that Japandi style took hold in America in late 2020. This was the first winter of the Covid pandemic after we’d spent more time than usual in our homes and sought a more thoughtful design that decluttered our minds and spaces while making them as comfortable as possible for whatever was ahead. Japandi was no flash in the pan, though; the style is more popular than ever, so we’re going to drill down on a few of its core principles so you can reap the benefits in your own home. You’ll thanks us, and so will your cat!

Cut the clutter

Step one in embracing Japandi style is to declutter your space. This ethos is all about freeing your mind from chaos by freeing your space from the same. You’ll want to scale back on knick-knacks and other unnecessary accessories while looking at your furniture to ensure everything has a purpose. Japandi style is no friend of maximalism, but it’s far from utilitarian design. Japandi spaces value simple, clean lines and tend to shun bright pops of bold color but are neither cold nor uninviting and equally lack the all-white, angular elements you might associate with modern interiors.

What are Japandi colors, then?

There’s no official palette for Japandi style, but the emphasis is on neutral tones of natural elements like sand, wood, and stone. More prominent design elements, like furniture, often tend toward the Scandinavian preference for the lighter end of this spectrum, but small accents of darker tones like deep gray or even black ground these spaces with a Japanese gravitas. And no rule says you must keep your large elements light (more on that later). Designed to soothe, Japandi still shies away from all-white spaces or even large white elements since these can appear too bright and jarring to achieve the serenity a Japandi room seeks. 

But I like color...

That’s great! While it’s true that Japandi style doesn’t incorporate vibrant pops of cherry red, you can quickly bring color to your Japandi spaces with muted tones of nature-forward colors like blues and greens. And if red is your favorite color, you can even incorporate this one through clay and terra cotta tones that are just as much a part of the natural environment as rivers and trees. Remember, Japandi style is not about whitewashing a space. It is about calming space, but comfort and joy are equally important in this movement, so color has a place here.

Where does the comfort come in? 

Quick, picture a cozy scene! Did you imagine someone wrapped in a fluffy blanket curled by a fireplace? Maybe this wasn’t your mental image, but it probably included that thick blanket. Japandi style loves a variety of pleasing textures, leaning heavily on the Scandinavian penchant for the soft and fluffy while incorporating some of the more solid, grounding elements of Japanese design. Think of chunky-knit wool throws and fluffy rugs softening the textures of wood and stone found in furniture and accents. Also, while Scandinavian design favors organization through straight lines, Japandi style embraces curved lines, bringing added visual comfort through these organic, inviting shapes. And, though Japandi style avoids loads of objects in a space, it fully embraces tons of textures, particularly those crafted from eco-friendly, natural materials. You don’t need to spend a fortune to embrace eco-friendly furniture and textiles. Lean toward sustainable materials like woods of rattan and bamboo and cotton and hemp fabrics to easily incorporate Japandi elements without breaking the bank.

Isn’t personality important in a personal space, too?

Definitely! No need to sanitize your Japandi space with a sea of uninspired uniformity. This style encourages contrast. The most obvious way to do this is to include a mix of light and dark in your design, which some achieve by contrasting darker furniture with lighter walls, but you can adapt this effort to single elements, too, like a cream blanket with dark gray stripes. Simple patterns like this are easy to punch up a space with personality without abandoning Japandi principles. Do it somewhat sparingly, and veer toward those patterns that remind you of nature if you’re unsure where to draw the line. Remember, Japandi is a blend of two styles already, so don’t be afraid to mix and match your favorite elements when putting together your personalized space. Dark and light, hard and soft, straight and curved—use it all to customize your space, and don’t forget to pick a couple of careful colors and patterns that define the space as your own. 

I love it, but what does this have to do with my cat?

Cats are our number one love at Mau, but we’re also major fans of interior design, so we only source and offer luxury cat furniture that complements thoughtful homes. Because much of our cat furniture is crafted from natural materials and features neutral palettes with the coziest spaces for cat naps, it blends seamlessly with Japandi style while offering your cat the best in exercise, stimulation, security, and comfort. Now that you’re a Japandi pro consider the Cento tree, for example. Did you notice its variety of textures from natural wood tones accented by a fluffy “rug” and plush cushions in neutral tones, bringing Japandi comfort and functionality to your discerning kitty without cluttering your space? On a smaller scale, look at the Strato cat cave and notice how it offers the rounded lines and natural tones of Japandi furniture with a plush interior that adds the functional style your Japandi sensibility craves and your cat needs. Dedicated cat furniture is vital for a cat’s sense of security and comfort in your home, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid Japandi style just because it demands you to declutter. Thoughtful cat pieces are functional, visually pleasing, and easily blend into a serene Japandi space. If you’re unsure where to start making your home a Japandi home, let your cat get the ball rolling with a purrfectly Japandi piece of cat furniture that may inspire the rest of your relaxing room.

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