Japandi: The Design Trend That’s Not About Design

japandi bedroom in muted colors

Japandi design has been increasing in popularity over the past few years. This blend of Japanese and Scandinavian styles features the best of both. As the world looks for calm coming out of a crazy year, people are flocking to this neutral minimalist design style that embraces cozy imperfection.

Japandi design = Hygge + Wabi Sabi

What is Japandi design? Put simply, Japandi blends the elegant minimalism of Scandinavian design with the similarly sleek lines but richer color palette of Japanese interiors. There are plenty of practical design elements you can add to your home to get the look and we will get to those in a bit. But first, the thing that I find the most fascinating is that Japandi is really more about a lifestyle than a design trend. Let’s start with the basics.


Hygge is a Danish word that has no direct English translation, but then again…it doesn’t really have a singular meaning in its native language. It is a feeling…an intentional way of being present in the moment and finding joy in the simple. In fact, the word hygge originates from the word “hugr”, which means soul, mind, consciousness…and later became the word hug. Given the year we all just experienced, its no wonder we are looking to embrace a sense of calm and peace.

cozy hygge feel

Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi is the Japanese philosophy of embracing life’s imperfections and appreciating the beauty that comes with age. Characteristics include asymmetry, roughness, and simplicity. Japanese pottery is a great example of Wabi Sabi. It is beautiful, yet rustic and the glaze often changes through the years as hot water is poured over it repeatedly. Some pieces are even chipped intentionally. The tradition encourages authenticity by reminding us that there is incredible beauty in handcrafted items that you just can’t find in mass market decor.

wabi sabi wood bench

Japandi design combines the best of Hygge and Wabi Sabi philosophies. The focus in on functional simplicity – well-crafted furnishings that will stand the test of time. Basically, its the opposite of our modern throwaway culture. Design choices are intentional, with an emphasis on effortless beauty. But, what does Japandi design actually look like and how can you use it in your home?

How to Incorporate Japandi Design in your home

Get Rid Of Clutter

The first thing you notice about Japandi design is the lack of clutter. It is definitely not a style for maximalists! Each item is carefully selected and has a purpose. There is nothing extra in the space. By keeping only what is necessary, each item gains a sense of importance and is featured in the space. If you love the idea, but know that true minimalism may not work with your family try adding stylish storage options like linen covered boxes for stashing unsightly items.

japandi design no clutter
minimal interior design

Go Neutral (But Not Boring) With The Color Palette

The color palette combines the airy, light neutral colors of Scandinavian design with deeper, muted, earthy tones from the Japanese aesthetic. So, in Japandi, you will find a base of tan, or beige with creamy whites accented by sky blue, blush pink, and pearl grey. Create contrast with deeper earth tones like rust, green, brown, or even black. The beauty of Japandi is the contrast of light and dark. Whether you choose to go more monochromatic or to add in bold contrast, the overall color scheme should be serene and calming.

muted japandi color scheme
neutral color palette

Combine Light & Dark Wood Tones

Furniture is one of the most easily recognizable features of Japandi style, because Japanese and Scandinavian furniture styles share such similar aesthetics. Both are characterized by clean lines and natural woods. Scandinavian design tends to use lighter tones to create a modern farmhouse feel, while Japanese furniture leans toward more sophisticated darker finishes.

japandi mix of wood tones

Bring In Nature

Bring the outdoors in with wood and long greenery stems. The focus is on the green – not the flowers. So, even if you lack a green thumb, you can incorporate hearty plants that require little to no care. If you are feeling brave, bring home a fiddle leaf fig. They are gorgeous and make a huge statement with their giant leaves, but do need a lot of love an attention.

japandi restaurant

Choose Functional Statement Accessories

With a focus on function, Japandi design uses few decorative accessories. So choose accessories that make a statement in the room. Create an edited, sophisticated room by blending Japanese accents such as vases and unique pottery with cozy, soft Hygge inspired throws and pillows. Use natural materials in accessories, such as wood, jute, linen, and seagrass.

japanese aesthetic room
minimal accessories japandi

Embrace The Now

We can add Japandi design elements like those above into our homes, but the truth is that Japandi is less of a style and more about the marriage of two philosophies. We can incorporate Japandi when we recognize the beauty in the imperfect and embrace the warm comforts of home. By being truly present in each day we can appreciate the gifts (and the relationships) we have been given rather than constantly adding more “things” to our cluttered lives.

When we do choose accessories, we should be thoughtful. Hang a piece of art because it reminds us of a special place. Use the clay vase our child made in school to display some beautiful greenery. Wrap up with someone special in front of a fire and enjoy being together. Embrace today. It only comes once.

Japandi: The Design Trend That\'s Not About DesignJapandi: The Design Trend That\'s Not About DesignJapandi: The Design Trend That\'s Not About Design