Japandi Decorating Ideas

By Interior Designer TRACY SVENDSEN | Published  on June 30, 2023 | 

Are you looking for Japandi decorating ideas to incorporate into your own home? Japandi is a perfect design choice for those who value simplicity, tranquility, and understated elegance. There has been a universal shift to neutrals combined with nature-inspired hues, soft blacks, hints of copper, rounded corners, and soft, cozy textures. 

Although most of my blog posts feature rustic design applications – rustic design has a different context for different people. Today’s rustic is moving towards a more minimal approach characterized by clean lines, simple shapes, and a focus on creating balance and harmony in the space. 

Japandi design is the remedy to a busy and hectic modern life, combining Japanese elegance with Scandinavian earthiness. It’s an aesthetic inspired by a neutral color palette, organic textures, rustic elements, warm wood tones, natural & handmade materials, and minimalism. 

Japandi Decorating Ideas

Serene Los Angeles Japandi Living Room Designed by Shanty Wijaya
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest, Photo credit: Jenna Peffley

What is Japandi Design?

Japandi design is known for simplicity, clutter-free spaces, and functionality while maintaining a warm and welcoming feel. Japandi is a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian design styles. Japandi decor is a marriage between Japanese ‘wabi-sabi ‘(the belief that there is beauty in imperfection) and the Scandinavian notion of ‘hygge'(a Danish and Norwegian term for coziness).

Although Scandinavia and Japan are roughly 8,000 km apart, the design world has plenty of overlap. Japanese and Scandinavian design aesthetics emphasize simplicity, natural elements, comfort, and sustainability. People in both countries love to spend time outdoors and bring nature into their homes. This resonates with the use of combining different shapes and the addition of wood, linen, and natural fibers.

Japandi Style Interior Design | Japandi Decorating Ideas

A Serene & Minimalistic Japandi Living Room
Image courtesy of Studio M6 

What is the Difference Between Japandi Decorating Ideas & Scandinavian Design 

Japanese design is characterized by minimalism, simplicity, and functionality. It focuses on creating a sense of calm and tranquility through clean lines, natural materials, and neutral colors.

On the other hand, Scandinavian design emphasizes warmth, coziness, and comfort. It often features natural wood, soft textures, and cool colors to create an inviting and welcoming atmosphere.

While both styles prioritize functional design, they differ in their approach to aesthetics and ambiance. Japandi design typically contains more wooden elements, large plants, and raw materials than the Scandinavian style. You may also see a broader range of textiles and textures, combining the various natural materials used by both styles.

Japandi Design emphasizes organic and natural materials like wood, stone, paper, cotton, and rattan. The color palette is neutral and leans towards including darker and earthy tones like brown and green. Intentional and often functional decor such as teapots, books, ceramic cups, and vases are incorporated into uncluttered spaces that use natural light.

Scandinavian Design places emphasis on natural materials, particularly light wood. The palette is also neutral, focusing on lighter colors such as cream and white with soft brown wood tones from birch or white oak. As with Japandi design, spaces are uncluttered; lines are clean, and natural light is essential.

When incorporating Japandi into your home, it’s up to the individual how much of each design style will be included in the final look. For example, you may incorporate a darker color palette full of stones and dark wood to embrace a bit more Japanese style or go lighter if you want more Scandinavian flare.

What is Japandi Design? | Japandi Decorating Ideas

Japandi Living Room Ideas
Image courtesy of Studio M6 

Tips for Using Japandi Style

To incorporate Japandi style into your home décor, consider the following tips:

1.  Minimalism: Japandi style favors minimalism and encourages open spaces with clean lines, so decluttering is essential. Clean your space by ensuring items in your home have a specific place where they belong. Use natural storage situations like wicker baskets or bamboo screens to hide excess clutter.

Japandi Furniture
Japandi Furniture

Japandi Style Furniture | Japandi Decorating Ideas
Image credit Arhaus Furniture & Home Decor 

2.  Soft Neutrals | Japandi Decorating Ideas: The palette of Japandi design is neutral and includes warm tones such as beige, black, tan, and white. Cool neutrals like gray and blue work with the design aesthetic. Natural elements such as warm wood tones and green plants enhance the neutral hues. Soft shades help cultivate a zen atmosphere and simplify the art of mixing and matching tones, as they harmoniously complement each other.

When choosing a neutral shade, opt for cream or warm whites as a starting point. Layer in soft beiges, blues, and greys to create an elegant and serene space.  

Japandi Color Palette

Lovely Neutral Palette | Japandi Decorating Ideas
Image courtesy of Studio M6 

Japandi Color Palette

Soft Blues | Japandi Living Room
Image courtesy of Architectural Digest

3.  Earth Tones | Japandi Decorating Ideas: Japandi design values a solid connection to the natural world and uses earthy tones reminiscent of distinct landscapes to reflect this love of nature. Mix in muted shades of taupe, terracotta, and clay in decorating accents like vases and dishware and throw pillows, area rugs, and blankets. 

What Colors to Use in Japandi Design

Warm Earth Tones in a Minimalistic Bedroom | Japandi Decorating Ideas
Image credit Arhaus Furniture & Home Decor 

4.  Green | Japandi Decorating Ideas: To further honor the outdoors, layer in shades of green from home décor and accents to plants. Japanese plants like bonsai and more common succulents and ferns add hints of greenery indoors and help strengthen a home’s connection to nature—keep in mind the Japandi principle of minimalism doesn’t overwhelm any space with too many plants.

Japandi Decorating Ideas | Decorating with Green
Japandi Decorating Ideas | Decorating with Green

Using Green in Japandi Design | Japandi Decorating Ideas
Image credit Studio McGee + Arhaus Furniture & Home Decor 

5.  Plants | Japandi Decorating Ideas:  Plants play a significant role in Japandi design. They are a great way to bring nature indoors and create a sense of calmness and tranquility. Plants can brighten a space, clean the air, and provide warm green tones. 

Warm Minimalistic Living Area
Warm Minimalistic Bedroom

Plants in Japandi Spaces
Image courtesy of Studio M6 

6.  Subtle Rustic Elements | Japandi Decorating Ideas: Include rustic natural materials with imperfections, like a tabletop made of granite, handmade ceramics, bamboo, rattan, paper, and materials that will gain a patina over time for character.