Every year, January unfurls with a bunch of weird feels (did I read enough in 2022?
will I die alone??) and a hankering to give ourselves a fresh-ish start. Off the table for 2023: hooking up with people who steal your wallet; on the agenda for 2023: turning your home into a relaxation station with the trappings of a Scandinavian spa or the Nakasendo trail. You don’t just need better decor, you need Japandi decor.
Japandi, which is a portmanteau of “Japan” and “Scandi,” refers to the design match made in heaven of Nordic and Japanese minimalist aesthetics. Think archive IKEA, J.B. Blunk’s dreamy forest house, or George Nakashima’s woodworking genius. The term is design shorthand for interiors that feel effortlessly elevated, utilizing natural materials such as wood, linen, and rice paper, and a solid Japandi style can blend pieces of contemporary, antique (think, Edo period Japan), and mid-century modern decor to create a timeless, relaxing space.
We’ve written an exhaustive VICE guide to Japandi decor, but suffice to say: a lot of Japandi pieces can cost a lot of coin—not that we don’t fully support you investing your tax return at Herman Miller, but we would also love for you to be able to both 1) buy a coffee table that looks like a legit Noguchi, and 2) afford to get those cavities filled this year. Luckily for us thirsty design plebes, Amazon’s Japandi edit is actually very legit, and filled with highly rated pieces for every room in your apartment, from dining tables under $200 to ambient bedroom lighting.
Light up some River Path incense (very Japandi), and let’s make your home into the Japandi oasis you deserve.
You dream of a Noguchi coffee table
… Same, mate. A Noguchi coffee table can set you back $2,195 at Herman Miller, but this doppelgänger will give you the look for a fraction of the price, and it’s 22% off. As one reviewer writes, “the glass is super thick and sturdy, [the table only requires 1 screw to assemble and the look is just *chefs kiss* HIGHLY RECOMMEND.”
The best Japandi dining room furniture
Hans Wegner designed his iconic Wishbone chair for Carl Hansen & Søn in 1949, and today, a vintage Wegner set costs almost as much as our monthly rent (this pair is going for $1,100 at Kaiyo, one of our favorite places to buy used furniture online). Luckily for us not-rich people with good taste, Wans Hegner designed this highly-rated doppelganger for way less.
We’ve impulse-purchased pants (worth it; they’re Gaultier) that cost more than this entire dining table, which is a great example of how great Japandi design is at mastering minimalism.
The best Japandi living room furniture
We’re also here to dispel the myth that mid-century modern and Japandi furniture can’t be wildly comfortable. This plush ivory couch has a solid hardwood frame and foam-padded cushions, earning it a 4.7-star average rating from over 200 reviews. Plus, at around $900, it’s one of the most affordable couches for your sweet peach.
Every home has one: a reading or statement chair that collects books, shopping bags, and the precious bums of your visitors. This espresso-colored chair has birch wood legs and a sculptural silhouette that screams, “My coffee is strong, and my love for Bossa Nova is even stronger.”
We used to fill our small apartment with small furniture, until we realized that it kind of makes everything look incohesive and cheap. Instead, anchor your room with a large couch and a credenza that can hold your TV, record player, and side lamp, and your space will actually look much larger and more pulled together.
Handsome dinnerware (for elevating leftovers)
Eating Amy’s mac and cheese from a 90s team building mug = standard; eating Amy’s mac n cheese from a ceramic Japandi bowl that makes us feel like someone who owns a lot of buckwheat-colored linen and smells like hinoki candles = swag. This set of four bowls has earned a 4.9-star average rating from over 2,100 reviews on Amazon, and it comes in four earthy colorways. As one reviewer writes, “I’ve had them for a few months and they are really sturdy, no chips or scratches.”
Once you’re bowled up, cop a set of matching 10-inch ceramic dinner plates. Like their bowl kin, the ceramic plates look and feel significantly more expensive than their (quite affordable) price tag, thanks to their aesthetic appeal and durability, with a five-star rating on Amazon from thousands of reviews; the glossy, lead-free glaze is crystallized to resist scratches, and the slight lip on the plates means your burrata won’t runneth over.
Aesthetic storage solutions
Everyone deserves a living room basket for keeping cozy blankets on hand, or a laundry basket that doesn’t look like something from a college dorm. This jute rope basket brings a bit of texture to any space, comes in several colorways, and is perfect for stashing electric blankets, dirty sheets, and, according to one Amazon reviewer, a sacred stuffed animal collection. “Each stuffed animal is very special with a unique personality, so heaven forbid we purge,” the reviewer writes, “But we also don’t play with them […] If you have an abundance of stuffies as we do, this is the perfect solution!”
Stashing a sopping wet trench in your closet is an amateur jawn maestro move, but this height-adjustable bamboo coat rack will help you show the world that you know what you’re doing, and keep your puffers, umbrellas, scarves, and balaclavas at the ready.
Nightstands house our most precious daily possessions, so the more storage, the better. This rattan side table is designed with a clever display section for you to humble brag about your vintage magazine collection, or keep your latest self-help read at the ready.
Japandi bedding = peak relaxation
If you want the look and feel of linen without the $280 price tag, this washed cotton duvet cover has an impressive 4.5-star average rating from over 7,400 reviews on Amazon, and it’s 25% off. As one reviewer writes, “[It’s] very comfortable. Also, the inside corners have ties you can tie to your duvet which is a bonus!”
Cozy lighting is a must
From Isamu Noguchi’s light sculpture lamps to the longstanding Scandinavian tradition of leaving candles by window panes, cozy lighting is an integral part of the Japandi aesthetic. Swapping out your Landlord Special™ overhead lighting is one of the best renter-friendly ways to improve your apartment, and Amazon is filled with hypnotic, star-shaped pendants and traditional Japanese-inspired paper lamps to bring more ambiance to your kitchen island or dining table.
Chic invisible lighting doesn’t always mean that you have to hide cords or install recessed lighting; you just need a handsome, light-emitting wood plank that looks like it rolled out of Dia Beacon or a Noguchi-esque standing paper lamp.
Lest we forget the perfect bedside lamp for your rattan nightstand, this little glass mushroom is a bestseller on Amazon, and emits the perfect amber glow for sex, sleep, and overall relaxation.
Matsumoto Hoji’s really cool toads
Edo period artist Matsumoto Hoji was really good at painting bulbous, blank-stare frogs that stand the test of time. This ribbit boi print duo by the artist is peak cottagecore-Japandi, and will bring a little playful elegance into your own lily pond/restroom.
Now crack open a tall boy, and enjoy your new Japandi throne.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.