Japandi: An Interior Style Only a Few Can Resist

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When the Scandinavian interior minimalism meets the Japanese home décor elegance, Japandi is born. The hybrid borrows the best elements from the two aesthetics to bring function and elegance in the home without running the risk of cluttering. What makes this special interior design marriage even more interesting is that it’s more than a style. It’s culture.

There is a reason why the home décor world has embraced the new style. Japandi combines the functionalism of Scandinavian minimalism with the perfect imperfection of the Wabi-Sabi Japanese aesthetics to make the home cozy without disrupting the clean lines. Although adhering to one interior style to define your personal aesthetics is often preferable, some style combos seem to be very successful. And Japandi seems to be everyone’s favorite interior trend.

Aren’t you sure if you are a fan of the Japandi interior trend? Let’s pause for a minute. Let’s see how Japandi is born.

What is Scandi interior style?

The Scandi style is distinguished for its minimalistic approach. Scandi interiors celebrate light colors and simple forms for civic, practical, and psychological reasons. Don’t forget that the days in Scandinavian countries are not always bright. The harsh climate screams for bright interiors that will provide a layer of psychological protection to the people. The strict lines of the interiors, which were also influenced by the Bauhaus architecture, bring clarity. With hectic lives and legacy in craftsmanship, the Scandinavian people prefer designs and objects that last long and won’t make their lives more difficult. Highly liberal, they also share two beliefs:

  1. Products must be affordable to all people because everyone deserves a functional home.
  2. Design must be used to improve everyone’s life and not make it harder.

And so what we witness in the Scandinavian design from the years even before the WWII to these days is strict and clean lines in all objects and interiors. From the fabulous Folding Chair designed by Mogens Koch and the Lounge Chair Wood by Charles & Ray Eames to the Double Bubble Lamp by Eero Aarnio and the famous Panton Chair by Verner Panton, it’s hard to miss the clear lines and function. And such notions are evident throughout the house, where openness and simplicity dominate. Due to their craftsmanship, Scandinavians use a lot of wood and mostly light oak. Natural hues and ergonomic design both prevail in space.

What is Japanese interior style?

Lovers of nature, the Japanese interior designers always try to connect the two worlds: the indoors and the outdoors. The big openings are evidence. The Japanese wabi-sabi style welcomes imperfection and impermanence and is one of the most popular trends worldwide. The Japanese style has its roots in tradition and the belief that people are transient and thus the home design must offer comfort and tranquility. Japanese interiors incorporate light and dark woods, low furniture, and simplicity in design.

Let’s make the Japanese + Scandi styles connection real quick

Apart from some exceptions, both the Japanese and Scandi styles have many common elements.

The Japanese use the word Danshari for their interiors which means putting aside any junk that will compromise simplicity.

The Scandinavian interior utilizes the word Lagom, which refers to symmetry. In other words, just enough of everything – not too little, not too much. Another popular word is Hygge, which wants spaces uncluttered and simple.

What happens when the Japanese Zen aesthetics meet the minimalist Scandi architecture is an interior design fusion only a few can resist.

Japandi Features 

Japandi is the baby of the Japanese and Scandi style marriage. It is distinguished for its openings, clean lines, and simplicity. It’s more eclectic than the Japanese traditional style and embraces darker tones than the Scandi interiors. It’s more relaxed and casual. It focuses on function and statement furniture without creating a fuss in the room. What makes it a very good choice for all homes is that the hybrid opens up the horizons in terms of mixing & matching elements from the two styles. With the ability to incorporate more texture in fabrics and blend lighter and darker tones, there is a broader scope in regard to creativity. You still get a relaxed atmosphere connected to nature and glorified by the element of simplicity for the benefit of function but can use more accent colors and statement objects.

So, how can you incorporate Japandi into your own home? You either have to dress up or down your space. What makes the Japandi style a culture is that it brings function into the home! And that’s vital for everyone too busy to deal with clutter daily.

The Japandi coloring palette

Serenity is accomplished with neutral colors and all sorts of combinations. The good news with Japandi is that you are not limited to whites and wood tones. Your coloring palette choices may as well include pastel hues ranging from soft pinks to blue-grays. Of course, white, black, and grey are still dominant colors. Wood still dominates in both light and dark hues. With Japandi, you can use black & wood furniture in all sorts of combinations. And access colors might include emerald green or smoky grays. Don’t be afraid of contrasting (natural) colors. Choose wood, white, and black for walls and furniture.

Keep accessories simple and monochromatic

From gray and black to white and light grey, choose natural tones for your home accessories. With wooden furniture, you need neutrally colored accent objects to create a warm feeling and harmony. Don’t forget that Japandi is the baby of Scandi and Japanese interior trends, which keep a minimalistic approach. “Less is more” still stands here and helps you keep the house uncluttered.


Bring plants in

One more common element between the Japanese and Scandi styles is the love of nature. And this is evident in the Japandi style as well. Apart from large openings, invest in green plants. Large plants become the focal points in Japandi homes.

Furniture & interior design

Decorate with both Scandi and Japanese interior rules in mind. The truth is that there are so many things in the home, it is hard to get started. So focus on furniture first. Keep furniture relatively low and prefer simple crafts made of wood. Rugs should be plain too. Traditional Persian rugs have no place in Japandi homes. The colors must be natural and simple. If you want to decorate with items, choose ceramics but don’t overdo it. The idea is to keep spaces free of clutter.

Opt for black or white glass sliding doors, statement lamps and objects, and simple textures for fabrics. Japandi welcomes wooden boards for the ceiling, simple curtains, dove grey sofas paired with black armchairs, mid-century modern accent furniture, and a splash of modernity – like a red wall clock or green vase.

For wall decorations, prefer framed pictures. Symmetry is accomplished by using the same frame, preferably black frames.

For the bathroom and kitchen, you can opt for stone countertops and wood to put emphasis on the natural aspect and make the spaces warm and cozy.


Don’t forget…Japandi is all about function & simplicity

Since Japandi is all about functionality, simplicity, and elegance, you don’t need too many objects and accessories. Only choose some statement objects, which make sense to you and your lifestyle and put the rest aside. Stick with natural colors and materials for your home decoration and focus on clear lines. What you achieve with Japandi is to avoid the antiseptic Scandi interior looks or the extreme traditionalism of the Japanese style. What you do is bring the best elements of both trends in the house that will make your home sleek and functional. Isn’t that what you need after a long day at work?


Alexia studied sociology at Essex University and did postgraduate studies at Sussex University in the media field. In Greece she worked for many years in printed and electronic media. She has written and illustrated the children's book "Little Bobby Steps Into the World", which is available on Amazon. Today she is spending endless hours with homedearest.com, regularly writes articles for websites in America and Europe, and is a top rated content writer on Upwork. Alexia has always been interested in interior design and has written relative content over the years.

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