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Embracing the Japandi style of living

Designer Shanty Wijaya @allprace

The past year presented us with the task of blending multiple functions into our homes. From home offices to gyms, to classrooms, chances are your home has served a multitude of things for you throughout 2020. If you are anything like me, I had the idea that by summer of last year, we would be back to some kind of normal living. I quickly learned that I was very wrong. Temporary set-ups grew to become more permanent, and in the blink of an eye neglected areas in our home seemed to have a spotlight shining right on them. Things like organization, or decluttering came to the forefront. With our desire to be truly comfortable in our spaces, everyone was looking to live with a sense of peace, safety and practicality.

So, how can our homes help us to create a sense of being? The first question I always ask my clients during our initial meeting is: what do you need this space to do for you? Followed closely with: how do you want this space to make you feel? When it comes to creating a space that meets your needs, I encourage you to consider these three things: Comfort, Wellbeing, and Sustainability.

The recently popularized design trend Japandi mixes all of these together to solve our current interior stressors. Combining the Japanese style of Wabi-Sabi (the belief that there is beauty in imperfection), with the concept of Scandinavian functionality, it creates a blend of clean and simple spaces that are warm, cozy, and most importantly impactful.

images via peerspace / etsy / JakeArnold

Tackling this can sometimes feel like a daunting task. So where should you begin? Here are 4 ways to start implementing this in your home today to create a more zen tomorrow:

1. Combine indoor and outdoor living - From adding more plants and greenery to your home, to a well placed mirror across from a set of french doors or picture window, anytime you can give a nod to the great outdoors is well worth the effort. Doing this will help bridge the gap of feeling stuck, or bogged down by being inside more than you’re used to. Not to mention the immediate sense of zen that’s inspired by a big deep breath.

2. Organize and get clutter free - Remember watching The Home Edit and getting inspired to get your entire house organized! It’s no big secret that a clutter free home helps inspire a clutter free mind. With so much going on in our spaces on a daily basis, it’s crucial that we leave as little of this up to chance as possible. If you find even your absolute necessities seem to be piling up, utilize wicker baskets or decorative bins to silo items and make things more pleasing to the eye and the soul.

Choose pieces with meaning - Be intentional with your space. Think about how each room functions and who uses it most. Think about underutilized areas and how you wish they could be different. I have a gallery wall in my home with pictures of our favorite family vacations. Every time I walk by, it makes me smile. Being thoughtful in your selection of furniture, and even decor creates a space that serves you and your family in the way you need it to. Beyond this definition of “meaning”, think also about shopping for something vintage or home-made to create a sense of story, warmth, and depth in your room.

Repurpose items and mix old with new - Consider sustainable options first. When it comes to decorating and redecorating things can add up, and even worse, spaces can be left feeling too pristine or sterile. Curating items with history and repurposing or refurbishing items you’ve had for years can turn any space into a home without hardly lifting a finger. Embrace the imperfection between old and new and watch your room transform into an inviting, yet still contemporary space. It’s a wonder what some sanding and a new coat of paint can do.

An Artisan bowl showcasing it's imperfection

via Jaime Foley Design

Whenever you’re presented with a design decision or even a function decision for your space, reflect back to the key elements for living well in your home to help you make the decision. If any certain item, or even placement of an item, doesn’t serve or inspire you, consider an alternate solution.

And don’t forget to shop small and shop local with any and all of these tips! From choosing your local nursery for plants, to choosing a vintage store or an etsy shop. The items you choose to fill your home with will impact the feeling of the space itself. Choosing goods with a little history can go a long way when it comes to creating an intentional home. Research local Artisans who specialize in restoration for a beloved family heirloom and get their take on modernizing the piece if you choose. Having things in your home that mean something to you will automatically bring a sense of joy and warmth that you might be missing today.

Pandemic and trends aside, taking the time to assess your home and think thoughtfully about the purpose and function of your space is always a good idea. Natural materials, clean lines, and clutter free spaces have always been the driving force behind my design inspiration, and will always be. As Oprah once said “Your home should rise up to meet you”.


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