Japandi design isn’t the product of a single place or time period. It doesn’t capture a cultural moment or represent a game-changing shift in design philosophy. Instead, it blends the best of two distinct design styles—Japanese design and Scandinavian design—leaving the rest of us with a style that feels fresh, but familiar.
“Japandi is the fusion of two incredible decor styles: Japanese and Scandinavian,” Kristin Bartone, principal designer of Bartone Interiors, says. “The design fusion is characterized by spaces that are naturally bright, simplistic, and uncluttered, with nature-inspired themes and rustic materials.”
What Is Japandi Design?
Japandi design is a hybrid style that draws on Japanese and Scandinavian design. The blended style is known for neutral colors, natural materials, and light-filled spaces, balancing the earthy elegance of Japanese design with the playful coziness of Scandinavian design.
“Scandinavian design is known for clean lines, bold architecture, and neutral colors, while Japanese design is famous for nature-inspired elegance and minimalism,” Bartone says.
These emphases may sound distinct, but looking at the two styles, you’ll find plenty of common ground. Both design styles are full of neutral colors, organic textures, and clean lines, and both use space thoughtfully—creating beautiful interiors that truly feel like home.
To help you create a Japandi-style home, we interviewed two interior designers who know and love the style. And we asked them to share their favorite Japandi interior design ideas for a balanced and beautiful home.
Meet the Expert
- Kristin Bartone is the creative director and principal designer of Bartone Interiors, an interior design firm based in North Carolina.
- Eilla Pradier is the principal designer of Eilla Adi Design, an interior design firm based in California.
Fill Your Palette With Earthy Neutrals
Japanese and Scandinavian design share a love of nature and pared-down color, so filling your palette with earthy neutrals is a natural choice.
“Traditionally, Japandi style focuses on neutral base colors with black as the primary accent color,” Bartone says. “Japandi is also heavily inspired by nature, so earthy tones, such as browns, greens, and beige, are often incorporated into the furnishings and accessories.”
Let in Lots of Light
Japandi design loves a light-filled interior, so let in all the natural light you can, and supplement with lamps wherever needed.
“Japandi style utilizes natural lighting where possible,” Bartone says. “Floor lamps that light up dark corners of the room are common, and metallic fixtures are popular.”
Stock Up on Natural Materials
When outfitting your home, stick to natural materials and layer them to create a textured, dynamic space. “Wood, bamboo, hemp, and other organic materials are very popular in Japandi interior design,” Bartone says. The materials are natural, sustainable, and incredibly striking—making them perfect for any Japandi interior.
Experiment With Symmetry
Japanese design is known for clean lines and symmetrical layouts, so as you design your space, play with symmetry.
“The design style takes the earthy, rounded elements of Scandinavian design and throws in the more symmetric and linear approach found in Japanese design,” Eilla Pradier, principal designer of Eilla Adi Design, says.
Since you’re balancing two styles, don’t take your commitment to symmetry too seriously. Just use it as a starting point, and play with imbalance once your focal points are in place.
Keep Your Lines Clean
One of Bartone’s favorite ways to design a Japandi interior? “Maintain clean lines throughout,” she says. Since both Japanese and Scandinavian design love crisp lines and well-defined shapes, the choice will give you a clean canvas to work with—leaving you plenty of room to layer in soft textures and organic elements.
Layer Cozy Textures
“Mixing together different textures is a great way to incorporate Japandi style into your home,” Bartone says. Why? Scandinavian design gets its cozy feel from plush pillows and soft blankets, and Japanese design makes the most of natural materials, like wood and bamboo. By layering these textures, you can nod to both styles—while creating a space that feels cozy and dynamic.
Play With Color Contrast
Though Japandi design boasts a pared-down palette, the style is big on color contrast. The key? Keep that color contrast subtle.
“Use contrasting elements in a more innate and simplistic way,” Pradier says. “Instead of having a grand gesture of a black focal wall mixed with an all-white interior, create a serene organic setting with isolated pops of black or grounding color.”
Embrace Curves and Organic Shapes
Scandinavian design is big on curves, so naturally, Japandi design makes plenty of space for round edges, curved shapes, and other sculptural forms.
“Scandinavian décor is vibrant in natural tones, curved details, and soft textiles,” Pradier says. “Japandi décor holds those elements, but throws in a mix of symmetry, deeper colors, and straight lines.”
Open Up Your Floor Plan
When it comes to Japandi design, Bartone has some simple advice. “The more bright and open the better,” she says. Avoid bulky furniture, keep wall décor to a minimum, and let the light streaming through your windows flow seamlessly from room to room.
Cut Down on Clutter
Minimalism is a major part of both Japanese and Scandinavian design, so it’s a core tenant of Japandi design, as well. “Japandi-style homes are decluttered and have a mostly neutral palette with pops of color here and there,” Bartone says. So resist the temptation to stock up on furniture and decor. Instead, focus on what you need—and get rid of anything extra.
Let the Outdoors In
Japandi design has a deep reverence for nature. As you outfit your home, look for ways to let the outdoors in. Make use of natural materials, add lush plants to bare corners, and leave your windows unobstructed—letting in lots of light and capturing clear views of the outdoors.
“Japandi style is the perfect combination of both minimalism and nature, creating the perfect mindful sanctuary,” Bartone says.
Go All in on Wood
Wood is a classic material to use in any interior, but it’s particularly big in Japandi design. “Wood—both dark and light—is perhaps the most common choice for Japandi decor,” Bartone says.
While darker woods nod to Japanese design, lighter woods evoke a Scandinavian feel. Don’t be afraid to mix and match woods or wood stains as you design your Japandi interior.
Balance Straight and Sculptural Pieces
Keep your space feeling balanced by pairing Scandi design’s curves with Japanese design’s signature straight lines. “The mix of straight and rigid surfaces with curved elements or lighting really adds richness to Japandi style,” Pradier says. Pair your curviest couches and most sculptural light fixtures with sleek shelves, benches, and tables.
Sprinkle in Soft Accents
Above all else, Scandinavian design is known for being cozy, so be sure to add plenty of hygge to your Japandi interior.
“Textures are often mixed together to add depth, especially in rooms such as the bedroom,” Bartone says. “Think: warm blankets, pillows, and throws in neutral earthy colors. It inspires instant relaxation and grounding.”
Make Sustainable Choices
Design isn’t just about choosing pretty pieces. It’s about creating a space that evokes certain feelings and reflects certain values. Since Japandi style is so focused on honoring nature, Bartone recommends keeping sustainability in mind as you decorate.
“If you truly want to incorporate this design style into your home, ensure you choose organic and sustainable products and materials where possible,” she says.
Use Décor to Bring Your Space Together
When combining two distinct styles, balance can be tough to achieve. But the right décor makes it easier. “Really tune in the opposition in the design style,” Pradier says. “Décor can also go a long way in adding pieces that contrast the colors and sculptural forms used in the space.”
Make your cozy living room sleeker by cutting down on clutter and snagging clean-lined furniture, and soften your minimalist dining room with plush cushions, colorful candles, and a pop of fresh greenery.