With clean lines and minimalism on the rise in interiors, both Japandi and Scandi are basking in their respective design glory. 

And can I just say – I’m not mad about it. 

Although Japandi style and Scandinavian style share many similarities, such as their focus on minimalism and use of natural materials, they also have some key differences in their aesthetics. 

As we explore each of these popular designs and compare them to uncover their differences, as well as what commonalities exist between them, you can decide which one speaks to you.

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Japandi Design

Did you know that Japandi design dates back hundreds of years?

Japandi style is a hybrid of Japanese and Scandinavian design, combining the simplicity and elegance of the Scandinavian style with the warmth of Japanese design to create a harmonious and balanced aesthetic. 

Here are some key features of this style:

japandi living room

Dark, Earthy Tones 

The colour palette of Japandi design is typically neutral and dramatic, with shades of black, browns, and greens dominating the design. 

Natural Materials

The use of natural materials such as wood, bamboo, rattan, cotton, and stone is also common in Japandi interiors, adding warmth and texture to the space.

Natural Light

Further emphasizing bringing nature indoors, access to natural light is an essential component of the Japandi style. 

Simplicty & Practicality 

japandi dining room

Another important aspect of Japandi design is the emphasis on functionality. Furniture and decor are chosen for their usefulness, rather than for their ornate details or decorative features. This creates a space that is both beautiful and practical, with every element serving a purpose.

Follows Tradition 

Japandi style incorporates elements of traditional Japanese design, such as shoji screens, tatami mats, and sliding doors. These elements add a sense of authenticity and cultural richness to the space, while also contributing to the overall sense of simplicity and harmony.

Japandi style is a minimalist, functional, and harmonious design aesthetic that combines the best of Japanese and Scandinavian design. It is a popular choice for those who appreciate simplicity, natural materials, and a sense of balance and calm in their interiors.

Scandinavian Design

Scandinavian style, also known as Scandi, is a design movement that originated in the Nordic countries of Europe, including Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. It emerged in the 1950s and is characterized by simplicity, functionality, and minimalism. 

One of the key features of Scandinavian style is the concept of “hygge,” which is a Danish word that roughly translates to “cozy.” Hygge is all about creating a warm, inviting atmosphere that promotes relaxation and comfort. This is achieved through the use of:

Soft, Natural Light

Scandinavian interiors are commonly described as ‘light and airy’, which is emphasized by its focus on access to natural and soft lighting through use of warm-toned bulbs, candles, and pendant lights.  

Neutral Colour Palette 

Scandi design often employs neutral colours such as whites, grays, and beiges to create a sense of simplicity, serenity, and warmth. 

The use of a neutral color palette in Scandi design allows for a harmonious and cohesive look, creating a backdrop that promotes a sense of calmness and comfort.

Minimalist & Clean Lines 

Minimalism and clean lines are fundamental aspects of Scandi design, characterized by a focus on simplicity, functionality, and a sense of uncluttered aesthetics. 

scandi kitchen

Scandi design often features sleek, streamlined furniture, and minimalist decor elements that prioritize clean lines, geometric shapes, and a sense of minimal ornamentation, creating a sense of visual clarity and orderliness in the space. 

Need assistance decorating your Scandi space? We can help!

Natural Materials  

Scandinavian style furniture and decor is typically made from natural materials such as wood (typically on the lighter side), leather, and wool. 

Scandinavian style is a timeless design movement that has had a significant influence on the world of interior design. Its focus on simplicity, functionality, and natural materials has made it a popular choice for those looking to create a peaceful, relaxing home environment.

Japandi & Scandinavian Comparison

Despite their differences, Japandi and Scandinavian styles share several similarities that make them appealing to homeowners who want a minimalist and natural look in their homes.

Let’s explore both!


scandi decor
  • Both styles emphasize simplicity, functionality, and minimalism
  • Both styles focus on clean lines
  • Both styles utilize natural materials
  • Both styles value natural light and open, breathable space


  • Japandi typically incorporates tones that are darker and more earthy, whereas Scandi style utilizes a colour palette that is more muted and neutral
  • Japandi heavily focuses on craftsmanship, whereas Scandi’s primary concern tends to be functionality 
  • While both styles share a focus on simplicity and functionality, Japandi style creates a sense of balance and harmony, while Scandinavian style is more focused on creating a sense of coziness

As you can see, both Japandi and Scandinavian design styles are popular for good reason. Simple, yet beautiful in their design, both styles offer a unique and inviting atmosphere that can make any space feel like home. 

Whether you prefer the minimalistic and calming Japandi style or the functional and comfy Scandinavian design, both styles can transform any space into a gorgeous and welcoming environment.

Have you fallen out of love with your decor, but want to give it a second chance? Learn how you can consign with Unshelf!