Japandi Is the Minimalist Home Trend That’s Taking Over Pinterest

If cottagecore felt a little too dark, cluttered and uh, mossy for your tastes, this year’s emerging home trend may be more your speed: Japandi. The design movement marries two minimalist aesthetics, infusing the Japanese principle of wabi sabi with Scandinavian décor’s penchant for sleek-yet-comfy furnishings. It’s sparse without looking stark, bright without being bland—and it’s taking over big time. Pinterest has seen searches for “Japandi” climb 100 percent year over year, prompting the site to deem it “the new modern” in its 2021 predictions report.

“Japandi teaches us to find beauty in imperfection, form deep connections to earth/nature, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life,” explains Shanty Wijaya of Allprace Properties, who spent the better part of 2020 infusing the aesthetic into her own home, with the staging assistance of A 1000x Better. It “created a peaceful and calm space that we desperately needed.”

So, how do you score that sense of Zen in your own home? Here are our takeaways from talking to Wijaya—and poring over Pinterest data.

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japandi design living room jennapeffley
Photo: Jenna Peffley/Design: Shanty Wijaya/Staging: A 1000x Better

1. keep Your Palette Earthy And Muted

Part of what makes Japandi so appealing is how you can create a space that’s both bright and tranquil. The key to achieving that mix lies in focusing on earthy, muted tones, like Wijaya did. Think matte finishes and a light color scheme that skews toward creamier shades than stark, crisp neutrals. (On that note, Pinterest has seen three times as many searches for “neutral color palette earth tones” over the past year.)

2. Decorate with sustainability in mind

“Follow the principle of wabi sabi and embrace imperfection by repurposing your furniture,” Wijaya says. Sustainability is a huge component of Japandi design—along with comfort, simplicity and incorporating natural elements—so if you do buy new décor, Wijaya suggests searching for vintage items or handmade pieces that incorporate eco-friendly materials. (In her own home, for example, she used sustainably sourced, rot-resistant Accoya wood for the exterior and reclaimed French oak for her kitchen countertops.)

japandi design natural light peffley
Photo: Jenna Peffley/Design: Shanty Wijaya/Staging: A 1000x Better

3. ditch Heavy Drapes

If you were looking for an excuse to save money on custom window treatments, here’s your chance. To get the sunny, airy look so often associated with Japandi style, you’ll want to let in as much natural light as possible. Skip curtains altogether if you can, but if you can’t stand that much light in the morning or evening—or you just need a little privacy—opt for Roman shades or roller blinds in neutral tones.

4. Connect the indoors with the outdoors

This can be as simple as adding potted and hanging plants to various rooms throughout the house (Psst: These types tend to be pretty low maintenance). Creating an outdoor lounge, alfresco dining area or meditation space is another relatively low-lift option. And if you’re going all out with a full remodel, you could take Wijaya’s lead and install a sliding door that can open up your living room to your yard.

japandi design vertical
Photo: Jenna Peffley/Design: Shanty Wijaya/Staging: A 1000x Better

5. choose Materials That Will Patina Over Time

A little wear and tear adds character and charm to a room, Wijaya says, and it’s right in line with Japandi principles. To do so, work in natural stone and wood throughout the room. White oak, pine and other light wood are particularly popular with this aesthetic, but that doesn’t mean they have to (or should) be all the same tone. In fact, Wijaya recommends the opposite: “To create depth and interest when incorporating Japandi design, use different stained, colored woods.”

6. Choose low-profile furniture

“Create a Zen-like oasis in your home by choosing simple and low-profile furniture pieces,” Wijaya says. “For example, in one of the bedrooms, we used a simple half-moon headboard, and we chose a low-profile, dark-stained wood bed frame for the junior suite.” This creates a more grounded feeling, and it also shifts your focus to the views from the windows in each room, further connecting you to the great outdoors. (Not to mention it can make the ceilings seem higher, adding to that airy, open vibe.)

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VP of editorial, recipe developer, cookbook author

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...