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Japandi Kitchen Design: Blending Japanese and Scandinavian Styles

In the sprawling expanse of interior design trends, a movement has been quietly but consistently gaining traction for a few years now. Its philosophy is a subtle and elegant dance between the calming essence of Japanese aesthetics and the functional, unadorned grace of Scandinavian design. This is Japandi, and it’s not just a fleeting trend; it’s a way of life that many are choosing to infuse into one of the most important rooms in the home – the kitchen.

Source: Nordiska In an apartment in central Stockholm, the interior designer Alexandra Ogonowski and Nordiska Kök have created a kitchen where the modern Scandinavian meets the traditional Asian in a harmonious mix of colors, shapes and materials. With a kitchen island in warm, stained oak and Jura limestone, inspired by the Japanese teppanyaki hobs where the chef entertains the guests with his cooking, and cupboards in a calm, gray tone, you bring out the best of both worlds.

For home decor enthusiasts, interior design lovers, and DIYers alike, the Japandi approach offers a unique synthesis of two distinct yet surprisingly complementary styles. Far from the cold rigor of minimalist design, Japandi softens edges, incorporates nature, and values craftsmanship, resulting in spaces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but deeply comforting.

Key Elements of Japandi Kitchen Design

Understanding Japandi starts with deconstructing its core components. When it comes to the kitchen, these are the pillars upon which a harmonious space is constructed.


While minimalism can be associated with scarcity, in the Japandi context, it’s about curating items with purpose. In the kitchen, this means tucking away what’s not in use, opting for sleek lines, and avoiding clutter. Storage is a feature, built into the design, not an afterthought.

Natural Materials

Japandi celebrates the genuine and warm quality of natural materials. Think wood, stone, and earthenware—all elements that not only look great but age gracefully, telling the story of their use.

Neutral Colors

The color palette of a Japandi kitchen is a soothing haven of soft neutrals – think warm beiges, muted grays, and subtle earth tones that provide a canvas for light and space to breathe. These hues create a backdrop for the main stars of the show, your culinary creations.


Scandinavian design is renowned for its practicality, and Japandi takes this one step further by merging it with the Japanese concept of ‘Ma’ or the ‘right time and place’. This means that every item in your Japandi kitchen should serve a function, but also be placed thoughtfully, working in harmony with the room and its inhabitants.

Who Came Up With Japandi Style?

The origins of Japandi style are not attributed to a single designer or specific moment in time. Rather, it emerged as a natural amalgamation of Japanese and Scandinavian design principles, each with a long-standing history of valuing simplicity, nature, and functionality.

This fusion is considered to have been a gradual process, gaining popularity as global design trends shifted towards minimalism and sustainability. It reflects a growing global appreciation for designs that not only look beautiful but also promote a sense of calm and well-being.

Incorporating Japandi Style in Your Kitchen


Converting your kitchen into a Japandi sanctuary doesn’t necessarily mean a complete overhaul. You can start by slowly integrating these elements into your existing design.

Furniture and Layout

In a Japandi kitchen, furniture is not chosen merely for looks. It should be beautiful, yes, but also well-crafted and with a purpose – perhaps a solid oak dining table where family and friends can gather, or a set of simple, well-made stools. The layout should promote ease of movement and everyday functionality, with an emphasis on clear, open spaces.

Color Palette and Textures

Selecting the right colors and textures is key to setting the Japandi tone in your kitchen. Refrain from overly glossy or loud materials, and opt for a matte finish that feels natural to the touch. Incorporate textures such as rough-hewn wood, smooth ceramic, and maybe a bit of woven rattan for a cozy element.

Lighting and Greenery

The importance of lighting in interior design cannot be overstated. Soft, diffused lighting mimics the natural light of both Japanese and Scandinavian environments. Statement pendant lights with warm bulbs can be a focal point that distributes light evenly. In terms of greenery, bring in potted herbs or a small bonsai tree—living elements that echo the Japandi commitment to nature.

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Choosing Cabinets for Your Japandi Kitchen

In the realm of kitchen design, cabinets are more than just storage solutions; they’re a testament to the kitchen’s aesthetic and functional ethos. For a Japandi-inspired kitchen, the choice of cabinets plays a crucial role in bolstering the design’s minimalist and nature-centric philosophy. The ideal cabinetry for a Japandi kitchen harmonizes simplicity, functionality, and natural beauty, characteristics that are epitomized by white shaker cabinets.

Nelson Cabinetry white shaker cabinets
Nelson Cabinetry white shaker cabinets

White shaker cabinets align perfectly with the Japandi aesthetic due to their clean lines, unadorned faces, and quality craftsmanship. Their simple yet elegant design avoids the unnecessary frills and flourishes found in more traditional cabinetry, making them an excellent choice for those looking to achieve a serene, clutter-free kitchen environment. Additionally, the bright white finish of the cabinets serves to enhance the sense of space and light in the kitchen, creating a tranquil backdrop that complements the soft neutral color palette typical of Japandi interiors.

Besides their aesthetic appeal, white shaker cabinets are highly practical. Their timeless design ensures that they blend seamlessly with both modern appliances and traditional Japanese or Scandinavian furnishings. This versatility is a boon for Japandi kitchens, which often mix elements from different eras and cultures. The cabinets’ functionality is further evidenced by their sturdy construction, which provides ample storage and helps maintain the minimalist integrity of the space by keeping countertops clear of clutter.

Benefits of Japandi Kitchen Design

The allure of the Japandi kitchen goes beyond its aesthetics. It promises an environment that nurtures and endures, both in terms of style and substance:

  • Serenity and Calm: The Japandi aesthetic promotes a tranquil atmosphere, reducing visual clutter and fostering a sense of peace and calmness in the kitchen.
  • Efficiency in Design: By prioritizing functionality and simplicity, Japandi kitchens enhance workflow, making cooking and socializing more enjoyable and less cumbersome.
  • Connection with Nature: Incorporating natural materials and greenery brings the outdoors inside, improving air quality and establishing a grounded, earthy environment.
  • Timeless Beauty: The minimalist approach of Japandi design ensures that your kitchen remains stylish and relevant, resisting the ebb and flow of short-lived design trends.
  • Sustainable Practices: The emphasis on eco-friendly materials and durable craftsmanship means that Japandi kitchens not only look good but also support sustainable living.
  • Versatility: Japandi’s neutral palette and unobtrusive design elements make it easy to blend with various kitchen appliances and accessories, ensuring longevity and adaptability in design choices.



In the world of interior design, there’s a design paradigm to suit every taste. Japandi is more than a style; it’s a commitment to harmonizing function and form, nature and nurture. It offers a refreshing approach that encourages us to slow down, breathe, and appreciate the beauty of the everyday.

For those looking to revamp their kitchen or even infuse their current space with a touch of Zen, exploring Japandi could be an enriching endeavor. Whether you’re crafting new decor pieces or simply rearranging what you have, take the time to savor the process and the transformation it brings to your home environment.

With Japandi, the heart of your home can beat in perfect unison with the tranquil rhythm of life.

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Evan Nelson

Evan Nelson is a skilled content writer with over 5 years of experience specializing in kitchen and bath design. His expertise in the field and ability to convey complex ideas in an accessible way have made his articles a valuable resource for homeowners and design enthusiasts alike. Evan's insights have been featured in top publications like Homes & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Real Homes. He focuses on providing practical advice, innovative ideas, and detailed guides to help readers make informed decisions about their kitchen spaces. With a passion for creating content that educates and inspires, Evan's writing helps transform kitchen dreams into reality.

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