What is Japandi Style and How to Achieve it in Your Home


If you are a fan of minimalist design, nature, and living well, then the Japandi style may be the perfect fit for your interior design inspiration. A mixture of Scandinavian and Japanese styles (Japan + Scandi = Japandi), this style has a legacy of merging the best of Eastern and Western design philosophies. How can you achieve this clean, peaceful interior design look in your home?

In this article we’ll give you everything you need to know by diving into the history of the Japandi style, its notable features, and how to achieve it in your own space.

History of Japandi

The merging of two cultures emerged from Danish designers visiting and getting inspired by Japan. Japanese design culture is largely centered around the idea of Wabi-Sabi. This philosophy is a way of life defined by finding the beauty in imperfections and showing respect for the passage of time. Wabi-Sabi accepts the natural cycles of growth and decay, honors materials in their natural state, and focuses on harmony and balance.

Photo credit: Linh Le

This philosophy was incorporated with the Danish philosophy known as Hygge—a word for which there is no direct English translation. Hygge represents coziness and surrounding yourself with the good things in life like friends and food, warmth, and sunlight. As highly compatible philosophies, both value the outlook that “less is more” and encourage the art of finding happiness and beauty in small things. So how does this manifest within a visual interior design style? Let’s explore.

Photo credit: Timothy Buck

Distinguishing features of Japandi

Now that you’re familiar with the philosophical context of Japandi, let’s explore how this plays out as an interior design style. Here are the common features that define Japandi design:

  • Simplicity and minimalism with character: Keep things smooth, clean, and calm but don’t be afraid to include imperfections like worn down wood or asymmetrical clay decorations. The harsh lines and sleek metal or glass surfaces of a minimalist look are not as representative of a Japandi style, but the “less is more” approach holds true.
  • Embrace nature: This means incorporating natural materials, woods in their natural state, and emphasizing natural light to merge the outdoors with the indoors.
  • Reduce clutter: Japandi is about living well and peacefully, and that is not possible in a messy or highly cluttered space. To achieve this look organized storage is key.
  • Functionality: Objects and furniture often serve a purpose and avoid ornamentation in a Japandi style. You’ll see people decorate their homes with tea kettles and clay cups—items that can also be used day to day.
  • Sustainability: In line with the importance of nature, Japandi style means prioritizing sustainability through material choices. Opting for wood or ceramic instead of plastic, for example, is important within the philosophy.

Photo credit: Nine Koepfer

How to achieve a Japandi interior design style in your home

Here are some ways you can decorate your space to achieve this look and inhabit the above features of the Japandi style:

  1. Be intentional with your decoration: Use simple elements

Decorate your shelves or surfaces with simple items like clay or ceramic pots, mugs, and vases. Include simple, sparce artwork on the walls and don’t overwhelm the senses. Give everything space to breathe and emphasize the natural beauty in each item. Try not to fill your visual space with clutter to trinkets that make a room look busy and chaotic.

Photo credit: Minh Pham

  1. Orient your space around natural and warm materials

Materials like rattan, ceramics, light wood, and bamboo define a Japandi style. Another defining characteristic is the use of light-colored, raw wood in an unfinished state. This represents the value of materials and their relationship to nature. Unlike a more traditional look, which may feature dark and ornate stained woods, Japandi will have cleaner rounded silhouettes with a lighter color palette.

  1. Focus on an earthy tone color palette

The Scandinavian aspect of Japandi often incorporates whites, creams, and light colors, while the Japan side will bring in earthy greens, olives, and tans. Make the most of both by keeping the walls light and bright and using soft natural fabrics like linen and cotton as accents.

Photo credit: Katja Rooke

  1. Decorate with plants

Nothing brings nature indoors better than house plans. Place these items carefully throughout the space to add splashes of color and a breath of fresh air. You can bring them into every room in the house and mix potted plants on your shelves with floor plants or hanging plants, wherever possible.

  1. Maximize storage to reduce clutter

As we’ve discussed, simplicity is key to achieving a Japandi look. This means reducing clutter through efficient organization and storage. Make the most of built in cabinets and closet organization to keep your belongings out of site and easy to access.

  1. Enhance the warmth of the lighting

Although natural lighting is key, when it gets dark outside you can ramp up your “hygge” by using candles and soft lamps to create a cozy atmosphere. Avoid built-in ceiling lighting and instead create an ambient glow by placing smaller lamps strategically throughout the space.

Work with 5Blox to upgrade your interior design

If you’re looking to transform your space through a new interior design style or home renovation, 5blox is here to help you. Our team of professionals can help you bring your vision to life so that your home is everything you dreamed it would be. Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.

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