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What is Japandi Interior Design and How You Can Create the Look

Japanese and Scandanavian styles are unsuspecting pairs, yet their aesthetics are the perfect complement. Nature, minimalism, and functionality collide to create a cozy, yet stylish, look.

A side effect of the last few years of pandemic and lockdowns is that we've been spending a lot more time at home and also getting a glimpse into everyone else's living room through Zoom.

This has led many of us to have a new appreciation for our homes and a desire to make them cozier, more comfortable, and stylish. And also to have them look a little more camera-ready, in case we have to hop on an unexpected call!

One interior decorating trend that has been popping up all over Instagram and Pinterest lately is Japandi.

Neutral-toned abstract piece with a brown frame over a low Japanese-style table.
Featured Art: Silver Slate by PI Studio

Japandi: Where Scandinavian Design Meets Japanese Aesthetic

Japandi is a blend of Japanese and Scandinavian design, creating a look that is both minimalist and cozy. Both of these aesthetics are known for their simplicity, functionality, and natural materials, so it's no surprise they would go so well together! The reason they pair up so well is that they share a lot of the same design principles. Both styles focus on simplicity, functionality, and natural materials.

The Japanese and Scandinavian cultures may seem worlds apart, but their décor style does have a lot in common.

Japanese homes are known for being minimalistic, zen-like sanctuaries, borrowing from the country's Buddhist spiritual roots and bringing nature indoors through the use of natural materials like wood, paper, and stone. The Japanese concept of "wabi-sabi," or finding beauty in imperfection, also informs the Japandi aesthetic. By seeing the beauty and the value in the imperfect, or the old and worn, wabi-sabi honors the history and patina of each piece, making it unique.

Scandinavian homes focus on functionality and coziness, creating homes that are perfect for passing the long winter nights by a fire. The concept of "hygge," which is all about being cozy and enjoying the simple things in life, sums up the Scandinavian approach to design.

Japandi design takes the best of both worlds to create a style that is both cozy and minimalist, functional and stylish.

Two geometric giclée-style canvases with gold detailing over a white couch.
Left: Golden Embrace II Right: Golden Embrace I by Aimee Wilson

Elements of Japandi Interiors

So how do we create the beautiful combination of Japanese Minimalism and Scandinavian Hygge in our homes?

These are some of the key elements to Japandi style:

  • Clean lines. It really is a case of "less is more," as both Japanese and Scandinavian designs favor clean lines and simple shapes rather than ornate details.
  • Neutral color palette. Japandi style relies heavily on neutral colors like white, black, gray, and brown. This creates a calming atmosphere that is perfect for relaxing at the end of a long day.
  • Natural materials. One of the things that makes Japandi so unique is the focus on natural materials like wood, stone, paper, and bamboo. These materials bring a sense of calm and grounding to the space. By bringing the outside in and letting the light brighten up the space, we can create a serene and tranquil environment that reflects our natural surroundings.
  • Sustainability. Japandi design is all about sustainable living, using as many natural and recycled materials as possible, and looking after what you already have instead of constantly buying new things.
  • Functionality. Every element in a Japandi home has a purpose, and everything is designed to be used and enjoyed. Everything should be easy to use and maintain. There is a focus on quality over quantity and on making the most of the space you have.
  • Minimal furniture. Japandi home décor is all about keeping things simple, so you won't find any unnecessary pieces of furniture cluttering up the space. The focus is on quality over quantity, so choose a few key pieces that are well-made and will last for years. And once you have them, look after them!
  • Decluttered space. Just as important as simplicity through having minimal furniture is decluttering your space to get rid of anything you don't need. This will help you focus on the important things to you, and it will make your home feel more peaceful.

The key is to find the perfect balance between these two styles and to create a space that is functional, cozy, and minimalist. With a little effort, you can create a Japandi home that is the perfect haven for you to relax and unwind.

An abstract blue, gray, and white canvas over a modern white kitchen table.
Featured Art: Sheets of Blue II by PI Studio

How to Incorporate Japandi Into Your Space

If you've been aching for an extensive renovation project, you might want to follow the Japandi aesthetic as the perfect way to give your home a fresh start.

But if you're not quite ready to jump into a full-blown remodeling, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate a little Japandi style into your space.

Here are some easy ways to add some Japandi touches to your home:

  • Bring in natural elements. You don't have to redo your whole house in bamboo; just try to add some plants or fresh flowers to your space. Not only will they add a touch of nature, but they can also help to purify the air and boost your mood.
  • Declutter your life. This is one of the most important aspects of Japandi design and is also one of the easiest to do. Get into the habit of getting rid of anything you don't use or need, or as Marie Kondo would say, anything that doesn't spark joy. You might be surprised at how much lighter and brighter your space feels when it's decluttered.
  • Focus on what you have. Instead of buying new things, try to focus on using and enjoying the things you already have. This could mean taking the time to actually read those books on your shelves, repairing that damaged chair, or using that pretty dishware for your everyday meals.
  • Choose quality over quantity. When you do need to buy something new, choose a few well-made pieces you love, instead of filling your space with cheap, mass-produced items. Not only will your home look better, but it will also be more sustainable in the long run.
  • Add a Japandi-style accent. If you're not ready to commit to a total Japandi makeover, try adding just one or two Japandi-inspired pieces to your space. This could be anything from a simple bamboo vase to a sleek, minimalist chair or Japandi-style wall art. Choose something that you can treasure, that fits in with your existing décor, and brings you the sense of zen and hygge that you want in your life.
Neutral-toned abstract piece on canvas above a modern brown couch with futon-like cushions.
Featured Art: Subtle Texture I by Tim O'Toole

Art Adds Polish to Any Style, Even Japandi

Incorporating art into your décor is a great way to add a personal touch, and it can also help you achieve that perfect Japandi balance of simplicity and sophistication. Whether you're going for a full-blown makeover, simply adding a few Japandi elements to your home, or you're already living the style and want to add a finishing touch, some Japandi-inspired art can be just the thing you need to complete the look.

We've curated a selection of art to go along with the Japandi aesthetic of simple, cozy sophistication. These pieces are minimalistic and stylish, but they also have an organic quality that helps to bring a sense of nature into your home.

Remember that, keeping with the minimalist style, you don't want to overcrowd your space with too many details. Simply choose one or two pieces that you speak to you and complement the elements of Japandi, and that can be enough to give your room a polished look.

Looking for more inspiration? Explore more of our Japandi-inspired art collection here.

We believe art wields the power to inspire, energize, and transform people and places. Our team of curators and craftspeople are passionate about providing art that meets your unique vision and style.

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