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What Is Japandi Interior Design and How To Use Favorite Elements In Your Own Style

Explore Japandi decor: a blend of Japanese elegance and Scandi coziness. Dive into its history, key characteristics, and transform your home!

Create a wall gallery above your dresser to add personality like this eclectic one in a Japandi style home.
Wood and Texture in a Japandi Dresser Vignette

Japandi Fusion: Blending East and West in Your Home Decor

My all time favorite military duty stations were in Japan and being able to live in  Japandi-styled homes. It was such a joy to discover the Japandi esthetic and I embraced it!

The serenity of the Japanese elements paired with the coziness of Scandinavian design had an unparalleled charm that I couldn’t get enough of! 

And now, I want to share the magic of Japandi interior design with you. Why, you ask? To let you in on a decorator’s secret and provide a comprehensive understanding of what is Japandi style and how you can weave its beauty into your space.

And let me tell you, it’s the big thing in 2023. Google Trends even says it’s super popular in the U.S. right now. 

A beautiful wooden Japanese front door with a round top on our military house rental in Japan.
Our Wooden Japanese Front Door in Iwakuni, Japan

A Dive into Japandi’s Historical Roots

Though you might be tempted to dismiss Japandi as just another design fad, the truth is that it’s steeped in a rich history.

A confluence of Japanese and Scandinavian designs, Japandi speaks of centuries of intertwined aesthetics. The relationship has been brewing for a long time. 

One can’t help but wonder, what is Japandi style?

In essence, Japandi is where the East meets the West in a design dance. It masterfully interweaves Japanese artistry and the  the wabi-sabi philosophy with the hygge comfort emblematic of Scandinavian designs.

Both styles are hallmarks of simplicity, an affinity for nature, comfort, and sustainability. 

In the heart of Japandi design, where East meets West, lies a tale of serene fusion.

The allure of Japandi stems from a historical connection, tracing back to the mid-1850s. Once Japan ended its 200-year isolation and reopened its borders, Scandinavian artisans fell head over heels for Japanese craftsmanship.

That marked the birth of what is now a sensation in the world of interior designs. Curious to dive deeper? Let’s unravel this together!

Japandi’s Key Characteristics

Now, let’s take it to the next level. To incorporate Japandi into your home, it’s essential to grasp its defining features and key elements.

Japandi Colors

The moment I heard about Japandi colors, I was sold. Imagine blending darker, earthy Japanese shades like brown and green with the soft, calming whites and creams typical of Scandinavian interiors. It’s like poetry in the form of a Japandi color palette.

Colorful baskets for global bedroom decor in a Japandi bedroom with eclectic rug and barrel chair.
A Second Hand Japandi Style Chair

Japandi Furniture

But what truly caught my eye? Japandi furniture. The characteristic of a Japandi sofa as most of the soft furnishings are neutral-toned cushions, radiating minimalism and functionality.

Quality over quantity is what it screams. It’s not just about the Japandi living room design; this style ethos spills over to Japandi bedrooms, making them havens of tranquility.

Greenery and Nature in Japandi Style

Why I adore Japandi interior design is because of its deep reverence for nature. Both Japanese and Scandinavian traditions cherish the outdoors, a sentiment I deeply resonate with.

Boho plants bookcase for eclectic global style works well in a Japandi style washitu room.
Books, Plants, and other Natural Find Make a Japandi Style Collection
Garden window ideas on a budget showing a large wooden windowsill with plants in Iwakuni ,Japan.
Large Garden Windows in our Iwakuni Rental Home

When you step into a Japandi living room or a Japandi bedroom, what greets you? The serene presence of plants, the authenticity of natural wood, and the earthy touch of materials like stone, paper, cotton, and rattan.

They aren’t just decorative elements; they’re the soul of the space.

The Subtlety of Japandi Art and Wall Decor

I’ve always believed that walls tell stories. And in a Japandi interior design living room or bedroom, these tales are whispered.

From the poetic strokes of Japanese landscape paintings to the raw simplicity of Scandinavian art pieces, every decor element tells a tale. The choices? Always thoughtful, always meaningful.

 Crafting ambiance: The role of natural and ambient lighting in Japandi design.

Shibori frabric and washi paper print framed for large art keep with a Japanese style mixed with western decor in a Japandi house.
East Meets West with a Renter Friendly Fireplace Featuring Japandi Art

Japandi Lighting

More than Just Illumination: If you’ve ever wondered what sets the Japandi color palette aglow, it’s the magic of natural light. I introduced ambient Japandi lighting into my home simple and neutral table lamps and a lot of natural light. Rooms weren’t just lit; they radiated warmth, comfort, and tranquility.

Small space living room with multiple zones in a japanese house.
Lots of Natural Light in Our Okinawan Home

 Where every item tells a story: The essence of Japandi design.

Embracing Japandi Design and Decor

The essence of Japandi lies in its balance. Clean lines meet organic forms. The beauty is in the spaciousness, the play of natural light, and the curated choices. The ideal Japandi coffee table?

A rustic teapot next to a pile of well-thumbed books, ceramic cups ready for a heart-to-heart, and vases that echo the whispers of nature. It’s not just design; it’s a reflection of a lifestyle.

Bring in candles and plants for a hygge lifestyle.
Learning to Embrace Japandi Lifestyle in Japan!

 On this table, every teapot and book isn’t just an object; it’s a chapter in the Japandi narrative.

Crafting Your Japandi Space: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here’s a guide on how to integrate the Japandi style into different spaces in your home:

1. Japandi Entryway: Your Home’s First Impression

Your entryway is the handshake of your home, the first hello. With Japandi, it’s a graceful and warm greeting.

  • Simplicity: Start with a clean slate. Think less clutter, more space. Aim for a serene environment that breathes.
  • Natural Materials: A wooden console table for storage paired with handcrafted ceramic bowls for your keys becomes the centerpiece.
  • Lighting: Soft, ambient Japandi lighting, like rice paper lamps, welcomes everyone warmly.
  • Decor: Ever thought of Japandi art? Perhaps a mirror with a wooden frame or an art piece that whispers tranquility.

 At the Japandi entryway, as one steps in, a harmonious tale unfolds, setting the ambiance for what’s to come.

A Japanese foyer with beautiful wood cabinets and art.
Japanese Foyer with Beautiful Wood Cabinets

2. The Japandi Office: Where Ideas Brew

This Place is not just about work; it’s about finding inspiration in every corner.

  • Pick Your Palette: While I personally lean more towards darker, earthier tones for my Japandi living room, the choice is yours. Whether you’re designing a Japandi kitchen or a Japandi style office, let your color choices reflect the balance you seek between Japanese and Scandinavian elements..

 Balancing productivity and peace: The Japandi approach to workspace design.

Eclectic office wall in a rental house with feminine style.
Simple and Pretty Office in our Japandi House
  • Choose Quality over Quantity: Invest in high-quality Japandi furniture pieces. For example, if designing a Japandi home office, opt for a functional yet aesthetically pleasing desk and chair. It’s not about filling the space but about choosing items that resonate with the philosophy.
  • Storage: Light wooden open shelving, where every book and artifact has its own story.
  • Organic Materials: How about a rattan chair or a bamboo pen stand? Yes, it’s the little things!

3. Japandi Bathroom: Your Personal Spa

Your japandi style bathroom should be a retreat.

  • Natural Elements: Bamboo bath mats or wooden bath caddies scream luxury.
  • Simplicity: Clear countertops. Just the essentials.
  • Incorporate Nature: From a well-placed bonsai in your Japandi bathroom design to wooden elements in your Japandi bedrooms, always ensure nature is a focal point.
  • Greenery: Plants like ferns that thrive in humidity. Perfect for that touch of nature.

 In a Japandi bathroom, nature whispers its presence, seamlessly blending design and the organic world together.

Japandi bathroom with natural wood bench, plant, and bath salts and lots of natural light.
Japanese Rustic Bench, Plant, and Bath Salts

4. Japandi Kitchens: Where Warmth Meets Functionality

When you imagine a Japandi kitchen design, what comes to mind? For me, it’s a place that’s more than just for cooking; it’s where memories are made.

  • Furniture: Japandi style furniture in kitchens often means clean lines and functional designs. Think of sturdy wooden tables and tall cabinets perhaps a japandi style kitchen island that isn’t just visually appealing but also practical.
Small space solutions for the kitchen showing a small Japadi kitchen with grey tile walls and wood counter.
Warm and Cool Hard Surfaces in the Kitchen

 Heart of the home: A kitchen where memories are stirred and brewed.

  • Colors: Sticking to the japandi color palette, opt for muted tones like soft greys, whites, or natural wood colors. These shades are not just easy on the eyes but also exude warmth and sophistication.
  • Organic Materials: Incorporate wooden cutting boards, ceramic bowls, and bamboo utensil holders. It’s about bringing nature inside.
  • Lighting: Soft under-cabinet japandi lighting can make a huge difference. Consider hanging pendant lights with materials like rice paper or muted metal finishes for that cozy glow.

Now, every time you sip your morning coffee or prepare a meal, there’s a touch of serenity enveloping you.

 Culinary spaces reimagined: The fusion of functionality and warmth in Japandi kitchens.

Kitchen cabinets with removable wall paper in a grey floral design.
Bright and Neutral Kitchen with Florals

5. Japandi Bedrooms: A Dreamy Escape

After a long day, there’s nothing more inviting than the promise of a restful sleep in a japandi bedroom.

  • Bed: The heart of every bedroom. A japandi bed often marries the simplicity of Scandinavian design with the elegance of Japanese elements. Think of low wooden bed frames or even platform beds that are both functional and stylish.
  • Color Palette: Soft neutrals, earthy tones, and muted pastels are ideal choices for a japandi color palette in bedrooms. They promote relaxation and tranquillity.
  • Wall Decor: Minimalist japandi wall decor, such as framed botanical prints or simple Japanese calligraphy, can be captivating without overwhelming the space.
  • Textiles: Natural fabrics like cotton and linen for bedding and curtains. They not only look great but also feel delightful.

 A dreamy escape: Finding tranquility at the end of the day.

Japanese bedroom corner with chinese eterege and Scandi bedding.
Wood Furniture and White Walls and Bedding

The combination of these elements ensures your bedroom isn’t just a space to sleep but a haven to rejuvenate, dream, and find peace.

Japandi vs. Wabi-Sabi: Clearing the Air

Now let’s take it to the next level by discerning Japandi from Wabi-sabi. Many often confuse the two, but they are distinct. 



Wabi Sabi


Design Approach

Interior Decorating


Application in Life

Design Context

Refers to the philosophy or art of simplicity.

Natural materials, clean lines, symmetry

Uncluttered spaces without excess.

About the essential and ensuring the task is done well.

Living in the moment and focusing on the present task.

More contemporary, with elements of Zen Buddhism, repetition, and symmetry.

Creating beauty from imperfections of nature.

Embraces natural marks, blemishes, and imperfections of materials

Might have unfinished or subtly imperfect pieces.

Emphasizes imperfection and the beauty in the process, letting things be.

Being present, valuing imperfections, and living in the moment.

Traditionally used in Japanese art, focusing on the intrinsic beautify of the object.

Conclusion: Embrace the Beauty of Japandi Interior Design

Incorporating Japandi into your home isn’t just about design aesthetics; it’s about embracing a lifestyle that celebrates simplicity, nature, and well-being.

Incorporating Japandi into our homes isn’t merely about following a trend. It’s an experience. And every time someone asks, “What is Japandi interior design?” you’ll have a story to tell. Because Japandi is not just a style; it’s an experience.

So, the next time you think about giving your space a makeover, you know which design has my heart. And perhaps, it might resonate with yours too.

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