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Are you a fan of clean, simple, and minimalistic interior design that makes coming home feel like arriving at a meditation retreat? If so, you’ll probably like Japanese or Scandinavian design styles. 

The only problem is, they’re both so beautiful that it can be impossible to choose just one. Well, the good news is, you don’t have to! 

Introducing Japandi—the elegant, functional, comfortable, and inviting design style that borrows influences from both Japanese and Scandinavian interiors.

Read on to discover more about what it is, its foundational principles, and how to incorporate it into your own home. 

Let’s get decorating! 

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What Is Japandi Style?

living room
Source: instagram
Japandi interiors are minimalistic, yet cozy and inviting. Photo via @lyxvillan

Japandi (a portmanteau of Japan and Scandi) design is a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian interior design styles. The two regions are quite far apart and have vastly different cultures, but they share many values and principles when it comes to interior design. Both styles are centered around simplicity, functionality, using natural materials, and creating an environment that fosters peace and well-being. 

They also have their differences: Japanese interiors are sleek, elegant, and feature earthy tones, while Scandinavian interiors are light, cozy, and a little rustic. Japandi allows you to mix and match these two styles—they seem like opposites in some aspects, but they complement each other quite well. 

living room
Source: instagram
Japandi decor incorporates low-profile furniture and natural materials. Photo via @japandi.lights.

Japandi Interior Design Principles

Japandi borrows key principles from Japanese and Scandinavian design styles. Combining them can help you create a minimalist and elegant, yet cozy and comforting atmosphere in your space. 

Minimalism

Both Japanese and Scandinavian styles are rooted in minimalism—the idea that less is more. You won’t see any clutter or eclectic furnishings in Japandi interiors. Every piece of furniture and decor is chosen intentionally and serves a specific purpose. The colors follow a cohesive palette, and nothing distracts the eye. 

Quality

Japanese and Scandinavian design styles emphasize high-quality, beautiful, and unique pieces. Instead of cheaply made, mass-produced pieces, you’ll want to buy furniture and decor items that will stand the test of time. They may be more expensive, but choosing quality over quantity can save you money in the long run. 

Choosing Japandi design is also a great opportunity to support local artists and small businesses who make handcrafted furniture and decor pieces. 

Sustainability

Choosing high-quality pieces means they’ll last longer and be less likely to end up in the landfill. In addition, Japandi styles incorporate natural, sustainable materials. Items made from wood, rattan, and cotton are both aesthetically pleasing and eco-friendly. 

Hygge

The Danish word “hygge” doesn’t have a direct translation to English, but it describes a feeling of coziness, comfort, well-being, and contentment. Japandi design incorporates many hygge elements, combining soft textures, neutral colors, and warm lighting to create a peaceful, cozy atmosphere. 

Wabi-Sabi 

Wabi-sabi is an ancient Japanese philosophy that celebrates the beauty of imperfections and the impermanence of everything. When it comes to decor, this can mean displaying items that have aged and are naturally a little worn down or that have chips, cracks, or stains. 

Handcrafted decor pieces also fit well into Japandi decor because they’re usually not as perfect as machine-made items, but that’s what makes them unique and beautiful. 

little pot on bench
Source: instagram
Don’t be afraid to incorporate items that are worn down or imperfect. Photo via @carolinashop.to

How to Incorporate Japandi Decor Into Your Home

Decorating your Japandi-style home means choosing everything with intention. Let’s take a look at how to choose furniture and decor pieces that will fit perfectly into your Japandi interior and help you turn your home into a calming, comfortable oasis. 

Japandi Furniture

Japandi furniture has simple, clean lines and prioritizes functionality. Avoid anything with intricate details or embellishments, as those can be distracting to the eye. 

Many Japandi furniture pieces like sofas, beds, and coffee tables have a low profile, inspired by the fact that eating and sleeping on the floor or close to the ground is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture. Low-profile furniture helps create a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere in the home. 

Materials

The use of natural materials in Japandi decor is not only environmentally friendly, but also helps bring a bit of nature into the home. Look for furniture made from unfinished wood, bamboo, or rattan, as well as decor pieces made from terra cotta, clay, glass, or concrete. For upholstery and textiles, choose pure cotton, linen, wool, and hemp. 

Colors 

The Japandi color palette has both Scandinavian and Japanese influences. In Scandinavian design, you’ll see light neutrals, off whites, and soft pastels. Japanese design, on the other hand, favors darker earthy tones like browns, dark greens, and reds. Both color palettes are muted and understated. 

For your Japandi space, you can mix and match these two color palettes. Whatever you choose, try to stick to just three or four colors in any room. Use neutral colors for large areas like walls, floors, rugs, and big pieces of furniture, then add small pops of pastels or earthy tones with your accents. 

You can also use a bit of black as an accent color. Limit this to small things like railings, furniture legs, frames, vases, or hardware. 

glass table
Source: instagram
Black furniture legs provide a nice bit of contrast. Photo via @sallashouse

Patterns

Patterns are quite uncommon in minimalist design styles—most things in your Japandi home should have a solid color. That being said, one or two pieces with a subtle pattern can be a welcome addition to any space. This can be a rug, pillows, curtains, or artwork. Just make sure the patterns aren’t too distracting to the eye and are limited to a few accent pieces. 

Decor Pieces

Like furniture, Japandi decor tends to be simple, minimalistic, and functional. It has neutral colors and simple lines. 

Opt for things that serve a purpose, such as lamps, vases, candles, and books. When choosing decor, don’t forget the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi and feel free to bring in something second-hand, worn down, or slightly broken. 

Dried florals and live plants also make excellent decor pieces. Just like natural materials, they help bring a bit of nature inside. 

In terms of wall hangings, choose minimalist and abstract artwork for common areas. If you’d like to display family photographs, limit them to hallways and bedrooms. 

Lack of Clutter

Both Japanese and Scandinavian design styles are minimalist in nature. When selecting your furniture, decor pieces, colors, and patterns, remember that less is more. Leave plenty of negative space and choose every item with intention.

Minimalism is not just about how you decorate your space, either—it’s a lifestyle that prioritizes only the things we truly need and enjoy. In order to create a minimalist space, you may need to look through your possessions and see what you can declutter. When it comes to storing the things you decide to keep, contain them in cabinets or baskets and avoid leaving them out on surfaces or kitchen counters. 

chair with bookshelf and table
Source: instagram
Feel free to leave shelves completely or mostly empty. Photo via @Japandi Lighting & Design

Start Decorating

Japandi is a relatively new trend, but it’s quickly rising in popularity and will definitely stick around. If you’re new to interior design, be sure to familiarize yourself with both Japanese and Scandinavian design styles, minimalism in design, and the concept of hygge. When you’re ready, choose your favorite aspects of what you learned and start mixing and matching! 

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