Are you drawn to interior design with plenty of organic elements, but with a more minimalist spin? Then it might be worth checking out Japandi—a design style that’s been around for decades but that’s experiencing a surge in popularity! Read on to learn more about this soothing, zen design trend.
What is Japandi design and where did it come from?
Japandi is an interior design style that celebrates the harmony between minimalism and organic modernism, with a good dose of comfort mixed in. Stylistically, it incorporates elements from Japanese and Scandinavian design. Japanese style is earthy, warm, and uncluttered. There’s an elegant simplicity, warmth, and ease to this style. It also brings in the tenants of the wabi-sabi worldview, which is all about embracing transience and imperfection. Scandinavian design is a branch of Mid-Century style, featuring clean lines and minimalism in a cozy, informal, and inviting setting.
As a style, Japandi was born by combining Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian modernism. It was a natural combination, as these two styles already have great harmony and synergy. At its core, it’s a style that’s all about relaxation and using tactile and visual elements to create soothing sensations. The feeling this design style evokes is similar to that you get when going to a spa. Think of it: the fluffy robes, the essential oil-filled air, the tactile sensation of relaxation. That’s the vibe this style brings to life.
What are the key elements of the Japandi style?
Practically speaking, Japandi interior design comes to life through textures, finishes, and styling. You’ll see a lot of natural elements in Japandi spaces, like raw, live-edge woods and leathers that feature a relaxed patina. Other natural materials are also big here—like jute, cane, and even iron and other metals. The use of earth tones helps promote that warm and zen vibe, helping promote a feeling of calm when you enter a Japandi space.
And, since this is a more minimalist style, you’ll notice plenty of clean and elegant lines in furniture and decor. Function and ease of use are very important when bringing this style to life, so an uncluttered space with simple, minimal styling is essential. With that, artwork tends to be abstract, and if there are patterns, they tend to be fluid and repetitive, so as to not take over the space or make too bold of a statement.
Why is Japandi design trending right now?
Japandi style is all about creating a serene, elegant, and relaxing space that’s filled with ease. We’re seeing a lot of decor trends right now that are more about ornamental detail and flash. (Think: Cottagecore, Grandmillenial, and even Regencycore, thanks to the Netflix show Bridgerton!) These styles are all a bit more loud, bright, and busy. Japandi style is on the complete opposite end of the style spectrum—and it’s our belief that this style is rising in popularity almost as a reaction to those brighter trends, as well as the uncertainty of this last year. We’re seeing a surge in people looking for more calm and serene interiors.
It’s worth noting that this style is nothing new—it’s simply experiencing a resurgence in popularity. As a style, it’s been around since the mid-century, but today’s version is being remixed into the trend sphere with new elements, like cane, which is very popular right now, as well as more organic approaches to mid-century design.
In general, calming styles are always more popular during times of chaos or strife—so, it makes sense that now is the moment that Japandi style came back onto the trend scene, considering the social, political, and economic environment we’re in right now. There’s a lot of chaos and uncertainty in the world, and people are looking to create pockets of calm in their homes.
How to Get the Japandi Look
Want to try out Japandi design and create a calming, soothing atmosphere in your home? Here are our tips on how to get the look, as well as some great minimalist design ideas.
1. Start with a Neutral Base
Since Japandi design is all about creating a sense of peace and calm in your home, we recommend starting with a neutral color base—from furniture to wall color. In a Japandi space, Swiss Coffee from Benjamin Moore is our favorite neutral wall color, since it’s a warm and inviting tone that’s not as crisp and cold as a bright white. But that doesn’t mean you have to go for all light neutrals. You can switch it up with darker earth tones on walls or upholstery as a way to add more visual warmth to your space.
From there, think in color layers. Layering in multiple shades of one color, like we did in this living room, will help create depth and contrast in a neutral space. You can also accent your neutrals with natural wood tones and pops of charcoal or black in your accent decor. This can show up in an iron end table, darker upholstery on your bed linens, or even in your rugs or wall art.
2. Bring in Natural Wood Tones
Natural wood tones help bring warmth into a Japandi space. When picking out furniture, like tables and chairs, as well as accent decor, look for warm or light wood tones. You can even consider mixing wood tones to bring additional depth to your space.
3. Layer in Cozy Natural Textures
Natural materials are a great way to bring visual texture and depth to your space when decorating with Japandi style. Layering in natural textures such as a jute pouf or woven wool blankets and throws will help bring in some coziness to your space!
4. Go for Low-Profile Furniture
Lower profile furniture will help your space feel larger, airier, and brighter—which helps give the illusion of a more minimalist space. So, choose beds, sofas, and chairs with simple, clean lines. You could also consider beds and sofas that have legs and are lifted slightly off the ground to further drive home that light and airy vibe.
5. Invest in Cozy, Plush Materials
When it comes to furniture in a Japandi space, prioritize comfort. Imagine your home as a retreat and choose furniture pieces to reflect that. You want furniture that you can sink into and get really comfortable—furniture that you can curl up on at the end of a long day and recenter yourself and relax.
6. Reduce Clutter
In Japandi design, you want to pare back your shelves and furniture surfaces to reduce visual clutter. Keep decor like picture frames, trinkets, or nonessential items to a minimum. But just remember—this doesn’t mean you’ll have a boring space! Quite the opposite, in fact. Rather than using objects as ornamentation in your space, you can think of materials as ornamentation—like the texture a cane chair brings to a space or the organic texture and shape of a floral arrangement.
7. Add in Natural Pops of Greenery
We all know that plants make us happier (and up the quality of oxygen in our homes). So it makes sense that incorporating plant life into a Japandi space is an absolute must for a style that’s all about calm and relaxation. Would a spa be complete without some pops of natural greenery? No—and neither would a Japandi space! Plus, plants are a great way to add texture, color, and a bit of ornamentation without adding more “stuff” to your space.