Japandi interior design: How to style your home with this trendy East-meets-West minimalism

PHOTO: Originals Furniture Singapore

They say two is better than one, and Japandi — the hybrid style that’s swept the home design world by storm this year — is proof positive.

As the name suggests, Japandi is a fusion of the Japanese and Scandinavian brands of minimalism . Given the similarities of the two, it seems like a natural progression to weave them into one space – both are grounded in touchstones like simplicity, natural textures, and clean lines.

At its heart, Japandi blends the best of two great philosophies. On one hand, it taps into the Japanese notion of wabi-sabi, or finding beauty in imperfection — a soothing aesthetic styled around natural flaws and slow living.

On the other, it draws on the Scandinavian art of hygge, which embraces comfort, cosiness, and practices that enhance contentment.

The result is a play on zen elegance and Scandi warmth, producing a supremely welcoming feel for your home. If you’re planning to give your space a Japandi refresh, here’s our guide to getting the balance right.

Give your neutrals a subtle pop

A neutral palette is the cornerstone of Japandi minimalism — it’s what creates that sense of serene, simple beauty.

Japanese design, in particular, tends to favour light yet muted hues: off-whites like sand and cream, along with pale wood tones. For a pop of contrast, you can harmonise your neutrals with classically Scandinavian colours — slate grey, dusky pink, mossy green, icy blue. or go boldly monochromatic with darker tones like charcoal and even black.

For inspiration: Get some colour inspiration with the help of Canva’s Colour Palette Generator , a nifty tool which automatically creates a colour scheme from photos you upload. Do a Google search for some of your favourite Japandi looks, then run them through the generator to get a breakdown of their precise colour hex codes.

Or generate pre-made palettes with Colormind – you can fix a main colour or two to centre your home, and this tool will generate up to five matching shades.

Play with natural textures

Both Japanese and Scandi aesthetics are rooted in wood, and the same is true when they come together. A mix of light and dark wood furnishings can play well in harmony, alongside a range of other organic materials.

Rustic textures like bamboo and rattan, for instance, will work beautifully in statement pieces like lamps and armchairs. For a hygge touch of cosiness, you can also layer your space with natural fabrics like knitted cushions, linen curtains, and woven rugs.

For inspiration: With a sprawling range of Japanese furniture sourced directly from makers across Japan, Hommage Lifestyle is a good starting point for furnishing your Japandi home.

From oak furnishings to modern tatami mats, you’d be hard-pressed to dream up something they don’t have. Meanwhile, Namu Wood Furniture offers a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese craftsmanship, with each natural oak piece showcasing clean lines.

Soften the shine

Floods of natural light aside, soft lighting is the key to switching on those tranquil Japandi vibes – especially warm light, which amps up the restful look of wooden surfaces.

To create a soft glow in your home, keep it traditional with Japanese lampshades crafted of bamboo and washi paper. Or mix it up with some edgier Nordic-style industrial pendant lights — copper or pewter can add a spot of vintage charm.

For inspiration: Light Vault ‘s collection of Scandinavian lightings run the gamut from sleek wood to industrial cages – the Radcliff Wooden Claw Pendant Lamp ($336) is a stunning example of Japandi style with its asymmetrical natural wood slats. For something understated, this Frici Ceiling Mount Light ($80 on FortyTwo) gives the classic ceiling light a rustic twist with a light oak frame.

Cut down on clutter

Japandi style is rooted in minimalism, so pare your décor down to statement pieces and Marie Kondo the rest. Keeping your space clutter-free can be tough in a small home, but a few storage tricks can go a long way.

Stash your miscellaneous items in boxes or baskets with natural textures such as wood and wicker — these can easily blend in with your style scheme. For large objects, you might need decorative folding screens to help conceal them.

For inspiration: Muji’s rattan storage boxes will have your bric-a-brac neatly stowed away into stackable, hand-woven baskets.

We’re loving Hooga's Scandi storage holders too, including the Cadee Multi Purpose Basket ($21.90) with its chunky white-and-brown weave. For larger storage solutions, check out our interior design hacks to maximise storage space — from multifunctional sofas with hidden compartments to extendable dining tables.

Plant some greenery

Houseplants are the perfect way to heighten the restful, natural look of your home – in minimal doses, of course. Smaller Japanese plants like bonsai can make an elegant table accessory, while taller bamboo plants are suitable for accenting corners.

For something more Nordic, the monstera has taken the plant-loving world by storm with its striking Swiss-cheese looks. Minimalist plants like cacti and succulents are always in style too.

For inspiration: Jia Bonsai ‘s potted beauties are a sight for sore eyes, spanning myriad types from prickly toshi bonsai to flowering cherry bonsai. Over at Noah Garden Centre, you can take your pick of popular houseplants like monstera and rubber fig. Or check out our beginner’s guide to buying plants in Singapore for more options.

Luxe it up

For a finishing touch, give your home some luxurious cosiness, hygge-style. Marble counters and tabletops can add a dash of chic to your natural palette, especially those with green or brown veins.

Gold accents on drawer handles, lamps, and more are perfect for jazzing up the rich warmth of your space, while velvet in muted hues — say forest green or slate grey — can turn your room into a plush cocoon.

For inspiration: Decked in blush-hued velvet, HipVan’s sleek Esme 3 Seater Sofa ($1,799) is a shortcut to snuggly comfort while keeping the colour palette muted. For subtle elegance, this Marble Coffee Table ($1680 on Originals) is a sleek white affair with a minimalist oak base.

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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