A World Map in Japandi Colors

Japandi is an interior design style that combines elements from the far north and the distant east. It’s a very popular style in interior magazines and websites. I tapped into that popularity with a world map that seamlessly integrates into the concept.

Two sections from the Japandi world map, showing Japan and Scandinavia
From left to right: Japan and Scandinavia


“Why is everyone opting for a ‘Japandi’ bathroom?” read the headline of a column by Floor Rusman in newspaper NRC that I came across a while ago. The column mostly talked about the uniformity of modern interiors, especially in magazines and TV programs. But my attention was particularly drawn to the term Japandi. Was it a contraction of…? Indeed.

Japandi living room with large cupboard and on the television screen a world map in matching colors
An AI-generated Japandi interior


Japan and Scandinavia are quite far apart, each at opposite ends of the vast Eurasian continent. And at first glance, their cultures don’t seem closely related either. Sushi and Swedish meatballs, Sakamoto and ABBA, Sumo wrestling and the Norwegian decathlon, the connection is hard to find.

However, when it comes to home decor, there are many similarities. Both in Japan and in Scandinavia, people appreciate simplicity, sustainability, and craftsmanship.

Wabi-sabi and hygge

Two key concepts in Japandi are wabi-sabi and hygge. Wabi-sabi is the Japanese philosophy focusing on the beauty of imperfection, the art of omission, and the acceptance of transience. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a Danish word that blends coziness, comfort, and joy. The combination of the two results in comfortable interiors with natural materials and minimalist design.

Fictional living room with a Japandi interior, a view of Reykjavik and on the wall a large world map with matching colors
Japandi interior in Reykjavik


Also in terms of colors, Japanese and Nordic people find common ground. Warm, light, and unsaturated tones are preferred. Although Scandinavian interiors are often somewhat grayer and more neutral, whereas the Japanese tend to embrace a bit more color.

World map

Every now and then, I have the inclination to think somewhat commercially. If Japandi is indeed becoming so popular, couldn’t I create something that perfectly aligns with that style? A Japandi world map, for instance?

An elevation map of the world in a "Japandi" color palet with warm, muted colors
The Japandi world map


I employed the same technique as I did when creating the rainbow world map about a year ago: a gradient overlay in Photoshop on an elevation map of the world. Only the purpose was different: that rainbow map was a statement, whereas with the Japandi world map, I aimed to create an ambiance that seamlessly fits into the respective interior.

The gradient editor in Photoshop overlays a color palet on a world elevation map
The gradient editor in action


I added the Japandi world map to my webshop and went on vacation. And while some of my maps gather digital dust unseen in my shop for years, this map turned out to fulfill a need. At least for one buyer who purchased an art frame print. May many others follow this pioneer, this early adopter!

Detail of the Japandi world map with a part of North America including the Rocky Mountains

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