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Trend Alert: Meet Japandi, The Latest Trend Taking The Design World By Storm

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.

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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.

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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.

Want to learn more about the history of Mid-Century Modern design and where Scandinavian and Japanese design fit into this style? Listen to episode 3 of our podcast!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Want help bringing Japandi style to life in your own home?

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Dream Home Tour: A Vibrant Take on Modern Desert Style

desert minimalA bit boho. A little modern. Even a touch rustic. There’s a cool new style that’s catching our eye in a big way and we’re calling it Desert Minimal. You may have caught glimpses of it in some of our recent summer designs, with its mix of warm desert tones, comfy clean-lined furnishings, and organic and natural accents. It’s the perfect blend of easy and eclectic that gives spaces a curated look as well as calming appeal.

Of course, we’ll be the first to admit that bringing together various design styles and all the right pieces can be tricky. What do you pair with organic-shaped side tables? Is there a good neutral color to bring in amid a sea of white and wood tones? How do you work in pops of patterns? We totally get it. So to help guide you along, our design team dreamed up this charming bungalow that showcases the desert minimal style and how it can all come together in a harmonious way.

Dive in and get our style tips as we break down the big and small design elements—from grouping organic shapes with sleeker furnishings to working in varying earthy hues throughout—for bringing the layered look home.

desert minimalMix In Organic Shapes

This is the foundation of the desert minimal look, so start here. You’ll want to nail down furnishings you love that have organic silhouettes, such as coffee and side tables with curvy bases, a cowhide rug, or a natural-leather sling chair.

Then, to balance the look, you’ll want to offset them with more modern pieces, like poufs, ottomans and sofas with soft rounded edges. Think of this approach to grouping furnishings as a warm and cool balance—for every organic element, like a leather butterfly chair, you’ll want to even it out with a clean-lined piece, like a mid-century inspired sofa.

The one exception? Lighting. You can go organic or modern here—think a textural fixture, like a fabric or rattan chandelier or try an ultra-modern armed pendant. The only requirement is that it should make a statement.

desert minimalThink Warm Neutrals

It’s not desert minimal if there isn’t a mix of earthy colors and natural tones. The key with this palette, however, is to keep to mostly warm neutrals—think nude and terracotta, mustard yellow and dusty pinks. These hues will immediately bring to mind the arid landscapes of the American southwest and sunsets on the horizon, giving the home a rustic vibe that still comes off as collected and chic.

Another great thing about this palette is that because there is such a rich layering of pretty earth tones, you can keep your walls relatively minimal with little to no styling or graphic art with white backdrops that recede into the background. They’ll actually stand out more on their neutral canvas.

desert minimalLet Natural Materials Shine

Choosing a few favorite designs made with natural materials is a great place to start with the desert minimal style. Since you want to keep the overall furniture look pretty minimal, pick pieces that really speak to you. The best part is that furnishings made with natural materials—think leather, cowhide, linens, raw wood, rattan, stone, and bone elements—will seamlessly play up the warm neutral palette in your space.

Even try mixing varying leather and wood tones, which is a stylish way to add bold visual texture throughout the space.

desert minimalGet Smart With Geometrics

Once you have your foundational pieces, layer in art and objects to bring the look to life. We love geometric patterns for the desert minimal style.

Don’t be afraid to add pattern to even your furniture, like this inlaid console. Just be sure to carry this design element through to your art and accents with graphic prints and decorative objects that have strong shapes.

The idea is to bring these bold pops of patterns, even tribal elements, into your space through smaller geometric details that add visual texture without compromising on the overall airy, minimal look.

desert minimalKeep it Light and Clean-Lined

What sets desert minimal apart from other spaces that feature a modern mix, is that this look is all about clean-lined furnishings that have a lighter, airier appeal. Think of it as mid-century meets relaxed, minimal design. Aim for pieces that have curvy silhouettes that play well with organic designs and light woods that pair easily with all the natural materials.

The key is to find streamlined pieces that have natural textures and shapes, like this dining room credenza with pretty wood graining and the dining table with a rounded top and legs. They help to balance out the organic pieces and smaller patterned accents, such as art, pillows, and decorative objects.

desert minimal trendMake For Minimal

Because there’s such a richness in the materials and shapes in the desert minimal look, keep styling to a minimum. Unlike boho or eclectic styles, desert minimal is all about artfully arranged surfaces that put emphasis on a few unique designs, such as hand-crafted artisanal pottery, a beautiful inlaid tray, or a lamp base with subtle detailing that comes off as bold texture.

Don’t feel the need to fill out your console surfaces and bookshelves; instead lean into a leaner, sparser look with meaningful pieces.

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