The last few years have definitely had a huge impact on our home life. More and more people are yearning for simplicity and realness in our lives as a whole. There are two main design trends that are emerging in response to this social shift and you might need help pronouncing them – Japandi and Lagom.
Never heard of them? Honestly, neither had I and although the words are a bit tricky to say the concepts are easy to grasp. These two design styles have a lot in common which allows them to blend seamlessly into each other. Stick with me as I break down the main highlights and give you tips to help you incorporate it into your own home.
While it sounds like the name of a cute new Hello Kitty character (pronounced ja-pan-dee) it is really a hybrid of Japanese and Danish design aesthetic. The look blends the classically quiet sophistication of Japanese design with the contemporary vibe of Scandinavian traits. Think Mister Miyagi instead of Hello Kitty and you’ll be on the right track.
This style (pronounced la-gum) shares similar characteristics with Japandi, but it’s literal Swedish translation is “not too much, not too little”. It is all about finding the balance between having it all and not needing it all. It doesn’t just apply to the aesthetics in your home either, but is a mindset for living in a more manageable, comfortable, and overall enjoyable state of being.
Design Element #1 – Wood You?
There’s no denying that pretty much any kind of wood element brings a certain warmth to an interior space. Wood has a way of grounding us to our roots (pun intended) and comforting us. It can morph to fit all sorts of design forms and tastes – from traditional to modern to vintage and everything in between. It can also be used in a variety of applications be it furniture, cabinetry, wall or table top accents, and of course flooring. Tones are kept natural or even bleached versions of themselves that highlight the grain patterns.
How to design with it:
Often, I will create a kitchen with white perimeter cabinets and a contrasting island in a wood tone. Since these spaces are mainly filled with hard surfaces (ie: tile, stone, cabinetry, lighting) they do not have a lot of opportunities to incorporate soft furnishings (ie: upholstery, window treatments, pillows, rugs) that aid in making a space feel welcoming. When a client tells me they want something modern, but they don’t want it to feel cold, the answer is always – incorporate wood.
In your own home, this design trend can be incorporated simply by adding an earthy bowl to a coffee table or switching out your photo frames for wooden ones or plopping a chair with a wooden frame and lots of character in the corner. If you’re feeling bold, try installing a wood paneled feature wall (skinny slats are where it’s at) or replacing your flooring with wide planks.
Design Element #2 – Color Me Softly
The au natural vibe also applies to color. Shades of white, beige, black, and greige are the dominant tones taking over the design scene right now. You’ve probably noticed this in a variety of ways and not just in the home industry. The automotive industry, for one, has released a fleet in fresh, but soothing shades of paint and I find myself dreaming of a new car in those tones when one goes zipping by (even though I just purchased mine six months ago, but I digress).
How to design with it:
Keeping tones similar, instead of introducing shots of color, can make an interior feel safe and welcoming. It’s like our brains know what to expect and we take in a room as a whole, instead of our eyes jumping from one feature to the next. There are still ways to incorporate a “wow-factor” in any given space though.
Texture is going to be your best friend here. By mixing different materials like linen, velvet, boucle, or leather with things like high-gloss, lucite, and wood we appeal to many of the five senses. This keeps a room calming, yet interesting and creates a space we want to spend time in (regardless if we have to or not).
If a room of nudes seems boring to you, then by all means, throw in some color. Artwork is a great way to do this and can definitely inject some life into a space that needs a little action.
Design Element #3 – Less is…well, less.
Minimalism is also a key component in these design trends. That might scare some people, but have no fear – you don’t have to get rid of all your stuff to pull this off. Well, not everything. The main idea is more about decluttering your life, mentally and physically.
How to design with it:
Did you know that “reduce, reuse, recycle” isn’t just a catchy slogan, but that the words are in that order for a reason?
The first step is to reduce consumption by buying only what you truly need. The less we have to put away or clean, the less the chance is that it will end up on our floor (or the designated “clothes chair” that everyone has in their bedroom), which means less time you have to spend thinking about getting around to putting it away and more time you can spend doing, well, whatever you want. Winning!
Next, to reuse what we have when its original intention no longer serves us. An easy way to do this is with towels, for example. Once they no longer feel luxurious being rubbed over our wet bodies, they can be cut up to be used as cleaning rags, or drop cloths for art projects, or for applying stains to dollhouse trims (or regular house trims too). I clearly remember my mom turning our old socks into dog toys when I was a kid and those always turned out to be their favorite ones to play with.
And then lastly is to recycle it, as this always sounds idyllic, but the recycling process has its own share of challenges (but that is a post for another time).
If none of this works for you then go with my favorite – donate it. Let someone else love it if you do not. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and I for one love me a good treasure.
This way of thinking not only benefits our sanity, but also our environment. And that is always trendy in my book.