Wabi-Sabi vs. Japandi: What’s the Difference?

japandi vs wabi-sabi

If you’re just now catching on to the Japandi style craze, you might be wondering how this distinctive design type is different from its wabi-sabi roots. In order to truly differentiate the two, you first need to understand the history behind how Japandi came about. While some might use the terms wabi-sabi and Japandi interchangeably, there are subtle nuances that separate the two — read on to find out what they are!

Wabi-What? A Brief History of Wabi-Sabi Philosophy

Many interior design enthusiasts get easily confused about the Japandi style and its relationship with wabi-sabi for one simple reason: They are mistaking wabi-sabi for a design style when really it is a design philosophy. Emerging in the 15th century, the philosophy is focused on finding beauty in “seemingly negative elements,” such as solitude, imperfection, or decay. For most Japanese people, the term “wabi-sabi” is not related to design at all, but rather an entire way of life inspired by the traditions of Zen Buddhism. When applying this philosophy to the interior design world, stylists are drawn to items that are:

  • Clean
  • Linear
  • Multi-functional
  • Neutral-colored
  • Natural
  • Utilitarian

For this reason, the wabi-sabi philosophy most closely resembles the minimalist interior design style. But the Japandi interior design style doesn’t just end at minimalism: In order to master the Japandi vibe, you must also travel to Scandinavia!

What the Hygge is Going on Here?

It might surprise you to learn that Denmark and Japan have long-held cultural tiest hat have lasted 150 years. Back then, Danish architects, artists, and designers would travel to Japan, drawn there in search of inspiration for future designs and artworks. In the Danish culture, the term “hygge” is used to describe “a quality of coziness” and comfort. Like wabi-sabi, the hygge philosophy largely influenced Scandinavian design with many Danish interiors featuring warm woods, rustic accents, and soft colors. It’s no surprise that these two cultural philosophies and design preferences found the ultimate pairing in Japandi (Japan + Scandinavia).

Japandi Your Home with We Are Stellar Designs!

Finding the right fixtures and furnishings to pull off the Japandi style can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. At We Are Stellar Designs, our Japandi collection is carefully curated by experienced interior design professionals so you can have confidence while you shop knowing that each piece is cohesive and thoughtfully-selected. Shop our Japandi collection online today!