Japandi style is a blend of Japanese and Scandinavian designs that highlight the best in both.

Dear Debbie;

I have lived very simply for years as a student and am now finally finished. Yes, lots of student loans to pay off, but I want to start to invest in some furnishings that are more permanent and have style. I like minimal, hate clutter and am a nature buff. Suggestions?
— Bronwen

Dear Bronwen;

Congratulations on graduating and moving on to the next chapter in your life. It’s an exciting place to be and I wish you all the best as you reach out for your next goals. Have you heard anything about a style that is labelled Japandi? Judging from you letter, I think it would suit you. It is a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian styles that combines communion with nature with calm, clear lines. For example, furniture (beds, sofas, tables) are built low to the floor to be close to the ground. An emphasis on handcrafting pieces made from wood gives furniture a feeling of permanence and beauty. The Scandinavian influence brings warmth and comfort to the Japanese Zen spirit. Modern furniture store Mobilia, mobilia.ca, has been developing its own Japandi collection, which artfully blends the best of Scandinavian design with the Japanese art of living. As shown here, the emphasis is on a mx of dark and light woods with clearly defined lines that establish the calm style. The curio is constructed with slats of Monkeypod wood (an ornamental tropical tree), light brown and set on a matte black iron base. There is plenty of room inside the buffet to store china or books with peek-a-boo designed slats that are airy and give you a look at what’s behind them. The low coffee table has exceptional lines, simple yet surprising. A black and white abstract pattern showcased in the area carpet shares a minimalist vibe with the rest of the room. Any of these pieces would start off a memorable interior that would last.

All styles are enlivened with pots of lush green plants. You are a nature buff so I’m sure you have already chosen indoor greenery for your home. Add a splash of colour, and shop for sales, collecting pieces that convey the spirit you love.

Dear Debbie;

I have recently started my own business and work from home. I’m perched at the dining room table and my files are in a box on the floor. I am finding it challenging to keep at it all day. How do you work from home?
— Penny

Dear Penny;

If you don’t take the business of your work seriously, this will show in your results. Create a work space that encourages you and inspires you. Can you position a desk that is apart from the dining room? Buy an ergonomically sound chair that supports you properly. Set up a bookshelf that will give you easy access to your notes and sources. Choose something fun such as an eccentric desk lamp or wonky-looking shelves to make you smile. Paint a few colour screens to prop up at or around your desk to switch the atmosphere. Make this space your own and make it special. Your clients will hear the professionalism in your voice and I guarantee your work will improve. Remember that you are “at work” not at home and remove or block out distraction wherever possible.

I travel a great deal and have taught myself how to concentrate on an airplane, in a strange hotel room and even in restaurants. But when I’m home I have created a ‘me’ space where I can clear my mind and do my best. Put some energy into your home office and it will pay big dividends.