A glass jug with twigs in it next to vintage books, bamboo bowls and a black and white abstract painting.Love the cozy meets elegant look of a Japandi space? Learn all about Japandi interior design and how to get the look in your own home.

Blending design styles is not at all uncommon. There are so many ways you can mix and match styles, such as modern boho, rustic industrial and many, many more. 

The only thing that makes Japandi different is that instead of referring to it by its longer name, which is Japanese Scandinavian design, we’ve created a portmanteau. Thus, Japan and Scandi became Japandi. 

So now that we have the linguistics lesson out of the way, let’s move on to the design lesson! Read on to learn about the main principles of Japandi design, or skip ahead for inspiration and tips on how to get the look in your own interior space.

And if you want to know how to incorporate salvaged building materials into your home – no matter its design style –  you can read all about where to find reclaimed materials.

Note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I strive to only feature eco-conscious products and brands.

What is Japandi Interior Design?

Japan and the Scandinavian countries may seem worlds apart, but they actually share very similar design aesthetics. Both styles embrace minimalism and use natural elements and nature-inspired items to create interior spaces that are calming and uncluttered. 

They also both tend to use muted, earth-toned colour palettes and stick with natural materials such as wood and stone.

Japandi combines the Scandinavian design focus on comfort and simplicity with the Japanese design focus of functional, albeit beautiful, things. 

A woman arranging flowers in a vase in a Japandi inspired living room.
This Japandi living room hits all the right notes with its neutral colours, use of wood and pops of matte black. (Image Credit: Design Anthology)

Overwhelmed by the thought of choosing eco-conscious furniture and decor for your home? 

Don’t worry – I can do it for you!

 Check out my custom eco-friendly design packages!

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5 Key Elements of Japandi Design

Whether you’re a designer or simply a person in love with te Japandi look, knowing its main design principles is important when you’re trying to create a Japandi interior space. This will help you to choose furniture and accessories, as well as arrange them, in a way that honours Japandi’s blending of simplicity and elegance.

A few of the main elements of Japandi style are:

  • Simple, clean lines in built-in elements, furniture and accessories. 
  • Well-made, often low-profile furniture in neutral or earth-toned colours.
  • Use of light and medium toned woods throughout the space.
  • Textiles and other materials should originate in nature – think linen curtains, stone planters and simple glass light fixtures.
  • Allowing for empty spaces in corners, on the walls and on shelves.
Japandi living room with a black sliding pocket door.
Japandi interiors like this one perfectly blend rustic, modern and minimalist aesthetics. (Image Credit: Dezeen)

Japanese and Scandinavian Design + Sustainability

While all design styles can be done sustainably, some make it easier than others. And Japandi is definitely one of them!

Minimalism and the use of natural elements are key parts of both Japandi style and sustainable design. Historically, both Japan and the Scandinavian countries have relied on sustainable principles such as a circular economy and revitalizing traditional manufacturing processes.

Plus, both cultures clearly have a deep appreciation for the natural world as many of their iconic works of art feature elements from nature.

Nature-inspired dining area with a light wooden table.
This Japandi dining room gets its earthy, eco-friendly vibe from the variety of wooden objects in the space. (Image Credit: Arscity via Pinterest)

12 Common Japandi Style Interior Design Materials

Knowing what kinds of materials to watch out for when you’re shopping (or thrifting!) for your home will be a big help in cultivating the Japandi style. 

As previously mentioned, both modern Japanese interior design and Scandinavian design favour natural materials such as wood and stone. But this is a pretty vague guideline, so here are a few specific materials that would work well in a Japandi home.

A Japandi sitting area with a dark grey-brown couch, a wooden chair and a woven pendant light.
A Japandi style living room rooted in earth-tones and awash with textures. (Image Credit: A&C Homestore)

Wood, Bamboo, Cane 

You could use pretty much any type of wood in a Japandi space, although avoid anything stained in a dark colour – with the exception of a very dark brown or near-black stain. Bamboo is also an excellent choice, as are furniture and accessories made from cane, which is actually a grass – not a wood.

Clay, Porcelain, Terracotta

Think simple, rustic clay bowls paired with a more delicate porcelain vase and a few touches of earthy terracotta both for colour and for texture.

Cotton, Linen, Muslin

As for textiles, keep things natural with materials derived from plants such as the always-popular cotton, or linen (which comes from flax) and muslin (which is also made from cotton, but a lighter weave).

Concrete, Glass, Metal

Surprise! Not all Scandinavian Japanese design materials need to be “all-natural.” I love how concrete and metal – especially in matte black – can add a hint of an industrial vibe to a space and is a must if you’re going for a modern Japandi look. Meanwhile glass has a delicate, weightless look to it.

4 Japandi Furniture Ideas

The kind of furniture you choose will, of course, depend on the room you’re trying to infuse with Japandi style.

But regardless of whether it’s a bedroom, living room, kitchen or other type of space, Japandi style furniture pieces are all going to have several things in common – namely they’ll be made from natural materials, be mostly neutral in colour and have very simple lines.

A bright Japandi living room with light wooden furniture and nature-inspired accessories.
This Japandi living room design stays bright and airy with its use of light wood and lots and lots of white. (Image Credit: Cozy Home 101)

Sofa

Choose a sofa in an earthy tone such as off-white, beige, soft grey or even green if you like a bit of colour in your home. Look for straight lines and firmer cushions as an overstuffed couch would be too much for a Japandi space.

Dining Table

Once again, the theme is simplicity – as in simple lines and no embellishments. Japandi style dining tables also tend to be on the thinner side, meaning a slender top and slim legs. But don’t mistake the lightweight appearance as cheap, because Japandi furniture should be sturdy and well made.

Coffee Table

Japandi coffee tables come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, although circular is often used thanks to its pleasing lines. But one thing nearly all Japandi coffee tables have in common is that they sit relatively close to the ground, which gives that cozy, sit-cross-legged-around-me look.

Bedframe

Japandi bedframes tend to be very simple – no surprise there, but are a great way to sneak in some storage with built-in under the bed drawers. And no headboard required! Instead use some kind of textured wood or screen to create a feature wall instead.

6 Japandi Home Decor Ideas

Even in a minimalist space, you’re still going to want to add some decor pieces because these are the items that give a room personality, taking a house and turning it into a home.

And while there’s no formula for decorating any space, here are some suggestions for items that would go perfectly with the Japandi aesthetic.

A neutral kitchen with a light grey counter and wooden shelves.
Japandi decor works best when it’s simple, neutral and sparse. (Image Credit: Blau)

Bamboo Bowls and Trays

Whether you’re using them as functional items or purely as decor pieces, bamboo bowls, trays, platters, cups, and all the other things you can find made from bamboo definitely fit into the Japan Scandinavian style. Plus, bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet!

Woven Rugs and Other Textural Elements

One way to stop a space defined by simple, clean lines from feeling bland is to add in texture. Take a look at images of the majority of Japandi spaces and you’ll see how a woven rug, a textured pendant light, or a nubby-looking throw pillow are just begging you to touch them.

Framed Drawings and Sketches

There’s something so pure about a simple black and white sketch. It’s like the story of the piece is in the white spaces, not the pencil or charcoal marks. Bonus points for artwork that features natural elements like trees, botanicals and animals.

Concrete Planters

A great way to add weight to an otherwise airy space is with a heavy material like concrete. Concrete looks especially great as a planter because of how its industrial vibe contrasts with the plant inside.

Glass Vases

You really can’t go wrong with a simple glass vase in any interior space – no matter the design style. The great news is that glass vases are super easy to find secondhand, sometimes for only a few dollars, yet they always look classy.

Matte Black Lamp and Other Black Accessories 

Love me a hit of matte black in an otherwise light coloured interior. It really draws the eye and a black metal lamp is a great way to anchor a space.

How to Get the Look in Your Home

Now you know the answer to the question – what is Japandi style? – you can start adding Japanese Scandinavian design elements into your home. But where do you start?

Shop Your Own Home

Of course, the first thing you should start with is what you already have. Do you own any wood furniture pieces that could be sanded down? What about a couch that could use a sandy beige or forest green slipcover?

Shop Secondhand Shops and Antique Stores

Next, start thrifting. Now this could be at secondhand shops, antique stores or on online buy and sells. Be on the look out for things like simple baskets, neutral throw pillows, glass vases, black lamps, paper lanterns and so on.

Shop Sustainable Brands

If you’d like to buy new, or just can’t seem to find anything secondhand, check out eco-minded furniture and decor companies that make their products by hand, partner with artisans and pair them fair wages and carry third-party certifications, carbon neutral status or have tree planting initiatives.

Here are a few brands I highly recommend you check out. I also have more furniture and decor brands in my sustainable product directory.

Buy a Design Package from Of Houses and Trees

If all of the above sounds like a lot of work and like something you just don’t want to tackle on your own – then I am your gal. Here is a Japandi living room design package I recently created, which you can purchase over on my Etsy shop!

A 2D design board featuring Japandi furniture and decor.

Ahhh.. don’t you feel super zen after looking at all those pictures of relaxing Japanese Scandinavian style spaces? I sure do! If you’re ready for more design inspiration, check out my post all about greening any decor style – using the examples of modern glam, industrial and maximalist. Yup, I said maximalist and green in the same sentence!

 

PIN ME!

A glass jug with twigs in it next to vintage books, bamboo bowls and a black and white abstract painting with text Japandi Interior Design.

Posted on April 27, 2022

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Japandi Interior Design: How to Infuse Your Home with a Cozy Cool Vibe

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