8 Ways to Create a Japandi Office for Sustainable Style

The importance of sustainability in modern office design cannot be overstated. In recent years, sustainability has evolved from a niche interest into a mainstream priority, primarily due to growing awareness of climate change and the importance of preserving natural resources.

With working from home, or hybrid working, now being commonplace, it is important that we create a home office that can help us be productive, but enjoy our surroundings at the same time. This is where a Japandi office comes in!

What is Japandi? 

japandi style office with crittal windows, huge bookcases and wooden desk and chairs

Japandi, as the name suggests, is a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian design principles. This hybrid aesthetic takes the best elements from each style to create a unique, balanced, and minimalist approach to interior design.

From the Japanese aesthetic, Japandi borrows a deep respect for craftsmanship and a love of natural materials. This appreciation for quality, simplicity, and natural beauty echoes the ‘wabi-sabi’ philosophy that finds beauty in imperfection and embraces the natural cycle of growth and decay.

Scandinavian design contributes its principles of functionality, clean lines, and a muted color palette.

This design style, often associated with IKEA, is known for its minimalistic approach where less is more, and every item in a space has a purpose. Scandinavian design also highly values the use of natural light and creates a cozy (or ‘hygge’) atmosphere.

When these design philosophies are combined, Japandi style creates an interior that is warm, minimalist, and filled with natural elements. It focuses on creating a functional and calming space, which promotes tranquillity and mindfulness.

Japandi interiors are characterized by their restrained color palette (mostly neutral and earthy tones), focus on sustainability, use of high-quality handmade items, and a deep connection with nature.

Why Japandi Style Suits a Home Office

The Japandi style is particularly well-suited to office environments for several reasons:

  • Simplicity and functionality
  • Natural elements to create a calming atmosphere
  • Sustainable style 
  • A harmonious environment, creating balance and positive vibes
  • Flexibility – versatile and adaptable interior design
  • Creating wellness in the workplace

How to Create a Japandi Office

Creating a Japandi office that aligns with sustainable practices involves blending the minimalist and functional aspects of Japanese and Scandinavian design. Here are eight ways to do this:

  1. Use of natural materials
  2. Adopt a minimalist approach – declutter!
  3. Embrace indoor greenery
  4. Optimize natural light and space
  5. Choose neutral and earthy tones
  6. Invest in quality, not quantity 
  7. Choose functional furniture
  8. Create a warm and relaxing home office

1. Use of Natural Materials

The use of natural materials in Japandi style is not just an aesthetic choice, but a core principle rooted in the philosophy of both Japanese and Scandinavian designs.

In Japanese design, there is a deep reverence for nature, which is linked to the Shinto belief in the spirit of natural objects, a concept known as “animism.”

This reverence manifests itself in the use of natural materials like wood, bamboo, stone, and rice paper in Japanese interiors, helping to foster a deep connection to the natural world.

Similarly, Scandinavian design also emphasizes the use of natural materials, reflecting the region’s geographical environment rich in forests and other natural resources. In a Japandi office, natural materials can help create a serene and calming environment, conducive to productivity and wellness. 

an office space inspired by Japandi style with a wooden desk, natural artwork, plants and wooden furniture

When choosing sustainable furniture, flooring, and other elements for a Japandi office, consider the following options: 

Furniture

  1. Sustainably-Sourced Wood: Choose furniture made from FSC-certified wood, which ensures the timber is sourced responsibly without causing deforestation.
  2. Recycled Materials: Look for furniture made from recycled or reclaimed materials, which helps reduce waste and resource consumption.
  3. Quality and Durability: High-quality, durable furniture may be more expensive initially, but it lasts longer and therefore needs to be replaced less frequently. This reduces waste and is often more economical in the long run.
  4. Local Artisans: Support local artisans who produce handmade furniture. This not only supports local economies but also reduces the carbon footprint associated with shipping furniture from overseas.

Flooring

  1. Bamboo: A highly sustainable option, bamboo grows much faster than hardwood trees, making it a renewable resource.
  2. Cork: Cork flooring is durable, biodegradable, and made from the bark of the cork oak tree, which regrows naturally, making it a renewable resource.
  3. Recycled Materials: Consider flooring made from recycled materials, such as recycled wood or rubber.
  4. Natural Fiber Carpets: Carpets made from natural fibers like wool, jute, or sisal are biodegradable and often have less environmental impact than synthetic carpets.

Other Elements

  1. Eco-Friendly Paints: Choose paints with low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are better for indoor air quality and the environment.
  2. Energy-Efficient Lighting: Opt for LED lights, which are more energy-efficient and have a longer lifespan than traditional light bulbs.
  3. Natural Fabrics: Use curtains, rugs, and upholstery made from natural materials like cotton, linen, or wool, which are more sustainable than synthetic fabrics.
  4. Indoor Plants: They not only enhance aesthetics but also improve indoor air quality and promote a connection with nature. Choose local species that require less water and care.

2. Adopt a Minimalist Approach – Declutter!

a minimalist japandi home office with rattan chair, oak desk and plants

Both Japanese and Scandinavian designs adopt a minimalist approach when it comes to interiors, where spaces are often kept open and clutter-free. There is a shared belief that excessive items can complicate life, resulting in a preference for simple, functional objects. 

Design the office layout efficiently to make the best use of available space. This reduces the need for excessive furniture and helps maintain a clean, clutter-free environment.

It is best to choose fewer but higher-quality items. This not only embodies the minimalist approach but also encourages the use of products that last longer, reducing waste and the need for replacements.

Multipurpose furniture can help maximize space and functionality while maintaining a clean, minimalist aesthetic. Choose furniture with added drawers and cupboards and keep your desk space clear of clutter.

3. Embrace Indoor Greenery

a japandi style home office with large sash windows, a desk and chair and plants

Nature plays a fundamental role in Japandi style, reflecting core principles inherent in both Japanese and Scandinavian design traditions.

It’s about creating a serene, balanced environment that enhances well-being, productivity, and our connection with the natural world.

When choosing indoor plants for a Japandi office, consider the following factors: 

  • Opt for plants that require less water, such as succulents or cacti. This not only conserves water but also reduces maintenance needs.
  • Choose plants that can thrive in your office’s natural light conditions. This reduces the need for supplemental lighting and can help the plants stay healthier.
  • Where possible, choose indoor plants that are native or adapted to your local area. These plants are more likely to thrive in your office, reducing the need for replacement and potential waste.
  • Use organic methods to manage pests and fertilize your plants. This helps to reduce the environmental impact of your indoor plants.
  • Choose pots made from sustainable materials, such as recycled plastic or terracotta. When potting or repotting plants, consider using a high-quality, organic potting mix.

4. Optimise Natural Light and Space

a light and bright office space with wooden desk and office chair. There are lots of plants dotted around the room

Natural light and open spaces play a vital role in Japandi design, embodying the minimalist, functional, and nature-centred principles of this aesthetic. In both Japanese and Scandinavian cultures, natural light holds immense significance.

Optimizing office lighting and space sustainably can not only create a more comfortable and efficient work environment but also significantly reduce the environmental footprint of the office.

Make use of large windows or skylights if possible and opt for light and reflective color schemes that can help bounce light around the room. 

Keep window areas clear of obstructions to allow as much light in as possible and consider installing light shelves or other light-distributing devices to direct daylight further into the office.

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To make the most of your Japandi office space, opt for an open-plan design, which can improve the distribution of natural light and reduce the need for artificial lighting.

Use multifunctional furniture to reduce material usage, keep the space adaptable, and consider using movable partitions or flexible furniture arrangements to allow for easy reconfiguration of the space as needs change.

This helps reduce the need for renovations or new furniture.

5. Choose Neutral and Earthy Tones

a home office with large windows, a desk with swivel chair and a bookshelf

Choosing the right colors for a Japandi home office involves striking a balance between the cool, muted tones often found in Scandinavian design and the warm, earthy colors typical of Japanese aesthetics. The result is a palette that’s neutral, calming, and grounded in nature.

You could also add an exotic-style wallpaper on one wall to bring a bit of Japanese culture into the room. Put the wallpaper behind your desk to create an elegant and calming background whilst you work.

6. Invest in Quality not Quantity

a home office with large windows, a chaise lounge, a desk and swivel chair

Investing in quality furniture for a Japandi home office involves selecting pieces that align with the minimalist, nature-inspired aesthetic of the style and that will stand the test of time.

Look for furniture made from solid woods like oak, ash, or walnut, and consider other natural materials like bamboo, leather, or linen.

Also look for well-constructed furniture with sturdy joints, smooth finishes, and attention to detail. Furniture that’s handcrafted or made by artisans can often be a good investment.

Pieces that serve multiple purposes can be a smart investment. For example, a desk with built-in storage can eliminate the need for additional storage furniture. Japandi style values items that can last for years, both in terms of style and durability.

Opt for timeless designs that won’t look dated as trends change, and prioritize quality to ensure the furniture can stand up to daily use.

Since this is a workspace, consider the comfort and ergonomics of the furniture you invest in. A well-designed, ergonomic chair, for instance, can improve posture and prevent back problems, making it a worthwhile investment.

7. Choose Functional Furniture

a home office with desk, chair and a small chest of drawers under a window

You’ve found your high-quality furniture, but does it help keep your home office free of clutter and harmonious? Investing in clever storage solutions in your Japandi office can help keep the room spacious and mess-free. 

Aim for furniture that doubles up as storage. For instance, a desk with drawers, shelves, or cabinets can provide a place to keep documents, stationery, and other items organized and out of sight.

Consider furniture that serves multiple purposes. A bench with storage beneath can provide seating as well as a place to store files or office supplies. Similarly, a bookshelf can hold books, and baskets for small items, and also serve as a divider in an open-plan room.

Make the most of your vertical space with tall, slim shelving units or wall-mounted shelves. This can help keep your workspace clear without requiring much floor space. Be sure to keep the top shelves clutter-free or minimally decorated to maintain the Japandi aesthetic.

Remember, the key to Japandi style is simplicity and minimalism. Regularly declutter your office to ensure that you only keep what’s necessary. This reduces the need for excessive storage and helps maintain a clean, serene workspace.

8. Create a Warm and Relaxing Home Office

a japandi style home office with large wooden desk, wallpaper and exposed concrete walls. paper lanterns hang from the ceiling

Balance and harmony are fundamental principles in Japandi design, intertwining with its roots in both Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics.

This fusion style aims to create spaces that evoke tranquillity, functionality, and a profound connection to nature, all of which are achieved through a careful balance and harmony of elements.

Creating a calm, warm, and relaxing office environment can enhance productivity, reduce stress, and foster a sense of well-being. Here are some tips to help you achieve this:

  1. Use soothing colors as above
  2. Incorporate natural elements like plants and textures which provide a warm and cosy environment
  3. Declutter regularly
  4. Add personal touches that make your office feel more welcoming and comfortable. 
  5. Consider aromatherapy. Scents can impact mood and stress levels. Consider a diffuser with essential oils like lavender or lemon, which are known for their calming and mood-boosting properties.
  6. If space allows, create a small area for relaxation or meditation. This could be a comfortable chair with a throw blanket, a small yoga mat for stretching, or even a corner with a few calming items like a plant, a piece of art, or a stress-relief toy.
  7. Natural light can boost mood and productivity, so make the most of any windows. For artificial light, choose warm, soft lighting rather than harsh overhead lights. Consider adjustable desk lamps for task lighting.
a wooden desk with bookcase in a home office with large paper lantern

Japandi design presents an opportunity to foster productivity, create a harmonious atmosphere, and contribute to a sustainable future, all while celebrating the beauty in simplicity and nature.

From investing in quality, sustainable furniture, to exploring the power of natural light and open spaces. Try your hand at integrating clever storage solutions, and let yourself play with the balance of colors and materials until you find a blend that feels just right.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, read my full affiliate disclosure here.

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