19th April 2021

What is Japandi Style & How to Create It

By Darlings Of Chelsea


Over the last few years, Scandi design has been a hot topic when it comes to home interiors. Lesser known but rising through the ranks is Japandi, which is essentially the bringing together of Japanese interior design and Scandi design, to create a style that focuses on simplicity and nature and has a minimalist, functional ethos at its centre.

If you’d like to know more about what is Japandi style and how to create it, we’ve pulled together a detailed explanation and some simple ideas as to how you can incorporate this design concept into your home.

Key Principles of Scandi and Japandi

Let’s start with Scandi style – it’s a trend that has been around for several years now, with hygge, the Scandinavian concept of cosiness and homeliness taking centre stage on many an Instagram pic. Think comfort and simplicity, and you have hygge in a nutshell.

The key principles of Scandi design are functionality, simplicity and connectivity to the natural environment – muted colours, contrasting textures and natural lighting are also key. Find out more about how to create the Scandinavian look with your sofa!

Not unlike hygge, in Japan, design hinges on being zen – i.e feeling relaxed and peaceful. The key design principles include simplicity, functionality and fukinsei, which is the ability to find beauty in things that are imperfect, or perhaps don’t look complete.

When looking at the two design concepts side by side, it’s easy to understand why some designers brought the two together to create Japandi design.

Here are a few elements to consider when bringing Japandi style into your interior:

Colour Palette

When choosing colours for your walls and your furniture, Scandi design uses bright, light colours, while Japanese interiors are warm and natural. To blend the two together for a Japandi colour palette, focus on natural, muted colours, such as beiges, off-whites and light greys.

When choosing an accent colour for accessories, pastels such as pale pinks and greys and muted greens will work well as a contrast. It’s also possible to incorporate darker accents, such as charcoal or earthy tones, creating a richer contrast without losing sight of a clean, simple design.


In Japan, kanso means simplicity – whereby taking unnecessary items out of your room can bring something extra to your space. Clutter is a definite no-no in Japanese design and this concept is married together in Japandi design, in which minimalism plays a central role.

In Japandi interiors, the phrase ‘less is more’ certainly rings true. Whether it’s a minimalist bedroom or a living room, it’s not about an abundance of décor, it’s about curating some statement furniture that provides a purpose.

Meanwhile, the functionality and minimalism of Scandinavian design emanated from aligning their interiors with the seasons – through the dark months, they needed as much bright light inside as possible, and through the cold, they needed rich textures to create a feeling of warmth and cosiness. They incorporated what they needed and nothing more and that minimalism has carried on in today’s interiors.

Darwin Sofa with Yellow Cushions


When choosing furniture for your Japandi living room, focus on clean lines. While Scandinavian design tends to utilise lighter woods, Japanese pieces tend to incorporate darker tones and more elegant shapes. Japanese furniture is also usually low lying, to align with the desire to feel closer to the earth – this can be a feature in Japandi design.

A sofa like the Darwin lends itself to a Japandi interior, with a neutral colour palette, dark legs and clean lines. Utilise accessories like contrasting cushions to complete the look – incorporating the Scandi feeling of cosiness, with Japanese imperfections.

Bring the Outside In

Both Japanese and Scandi design have a strong connection to the environment and Japandi design often incorporates natural accents through house plants. It may only be one or two in each room, in simple, functional plant pots but that splash of colour and nod to the great outdoors works beautifully in a Japandi style living room.

Natural Elements

As well as adding some greenery to your living space through use of houseplants, Japandi design aligns itself with nature in additional ways – particularly via its use of wood. Whether it’s wooden floors, wooden panelling or wooden furniture, the use of wood in your home is a great starting point when considering how to implement Japandi design into your interior.

Decluttering Your Space

If you’ve already started to consider a minimalist interior, chances are decluttering is on your to-do list. It’s a key principle for Japandi design – with every piece of furniture and accessory within your room needing a purpose. Take time to consider your room and everything in it and work out what should stay and what should go.

If there is something which may not be functional but makes you happy, a la Marie Kondo’s ‘if it brings you joy’ ethos, keep it! This is not about removing what you love but about taking away things you don’t need and have no role in your interior.

Quality, Not Quantity

Both Scandinavian and Japanese design celebrates craftsmanship – investing in a few statement pieces of furniture complements the concept of Wabi-Sabi, which is the idea of form being executed via the perfect craftsmanship. By purchasing better quality pieces of furniture, you’re also buying something that inevitably has a longer life, and can be adapted to fit a changing environment.


The environmental theme doesn’t just stop at incorporating natural materials and plants into your home. Japandi design also focuses on the use of sustainable materials such as bamboo. Supporting your local independents and reducing your carbon footprint also ties into this concept.


It’s all about natural light in Japandi interiors. Where possible let natural light do the work and avoid bright lights. Mid-century design played a big role in Scandi design and that has also fed into Japandi interiors – with the clean lines and minimalist lighting a key aspect of this look.

By making a few small tweaks, you can start to create the essence of a Japandi interior in your living space, and hopefully enjoy the zen that comes with this style.

For more design inspiration, check out our blog here!