Crafting Wabi-Sabi and Japandi Magic - Elevate Your Hospitality Business with Japanese Style

12 September, 2023

You've probably heard of the Japanese design trends Wabi-sabi and Japandi. But what are they and why are they more fashionable than ever? Welcome to the world of Japanese design and aesthetics, where simplicity meets elegance in the most unique and captivating way. In recent years, two distinct trends have emerged as the epitome of modern Japanese style: Wabi-Sabi and Japandi.



These styles have taken the interior design industry by storm, capturing hearts with their minimalist approach infused with a touch of warmth and harmony. If you run a hospitality business or simply want to revamp your space, embracing these trendiest Japanese styles could be just what you need to create an inviting atmosphere that will leave your guests in awe.

So, get ready to explore the essence of Wabi-Sabi and Japandi as we take a deep dive into their philosophy, characteristics, and how they can transform your space into a tranquil haven that reflects Japan's timeless beauty.

Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a Japanese aesthetic that celebrates imperfection and impermanence that has certainly always been part of Japanese sensibility.

While Japandi (Japanese-meets-Scandi design) is a fusion of Japanese and Scandinavian design elements and is sweeping the internet. 

In a world plagued by high stress levels, fast-paced living, an unrealistic quest for perfection and a damaging affliction for materialistic wealth, there is an ancient Japanese way of life that may be just what we need right now, to save us from our own folly.

Right now many people are looking for a style that is soothing. The serene and soothing aesthetics of Japanese styles and the connection to nature and to oneself fit perfectly with these needs.

Read on to learn about these trendy Japanese interior design styles and our insider secrets to help you apply them to your business - let the light in!

What is Wabi-Sabi?

Wabi-sabi is an elegant Japanese philosophy that embodies a more connected way of living, a lifestyle in which we are deeply connected to nature and therefore better connected to our true inner selves.

Wabi-sabi is a concept that invites us to constantly seek beauty in imperfection and to embrace the most natural cycle of life. It reminds us that all things, including ourselves and life itself, are impermanent, incomplete and imperfect. Perfection, then, is impossible and impermanence is the only way.

Taken individually, wabi and sabi are two different concepts:

The term wabi (侘) designates a new aesthetic sensibility closely related to the tea ceremony, which referred to the general atmosphere and objects used during this formal service. The definition of wabi goes back to solitude or melancholy, to the appreciation of a serene and simple life, far from the urban bustle. 

The term wabi-sabi (侘寂) remains difficult to translate. For the Japanese, wabi sabi is a feeling rather than a concept and is found in classical Japanese aesthetics. Wabi sabi is concerned with the passage of time, how all things grow, age and decay, and how it manifests itself beautifully in objects. It suggests that beauty lurks beneath the surface of what we actually see, even in what we initially perceive as broken.

Together, these two concepts create an overall philosophy for approaching life: Accept what is, stay in the present moment and appreciate the simple and transitory stages of life.

What Is Wabi-Sabi Interior Design?

As we have seen, Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that values simplicity, imperfection and naturalness. It is inspired by the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which values imperfection and irregularity. Wabi sabi design is about eliminating the superfluous and revealing the beauty of the essential. 

In the world of interior design, wabi sabi sabi is about creating uncluttered, unpretentious spaces with a focus on natural materials and textures. Furnishings are usually minimal and there is a deliberate emphasis on negative space. The Wabi Sabi aesthetic can be applied to any type of space, from homes to offices to public spaces. When done well, it creates an atmosphere of calm and serenity that can be deeply relaxing and rejuvenating.

The principles of Wabi-sabi interior design

When creating a wabi-sabi interior design, the key principles of this Japanese concept should be kept in mind.

The importance of simplicity: Wabi-Sabi interior design is all about keeping things simple and uncluttered. This design style is about creating a comfortable and relaxing space. It is about using natural materials and neutral colours. Wabi Sabi design is about embracing imperfection. 

It is about celebrating the beauty of wear and tear. This design style is about creating a space that feels organic and lived in. If you want to create a calm and serene space, then Wabi Sabi interior design is for you. This design style is the perfect way to create a haven of peace and relaxation.

The importance of functionality: The Wabi-Sabi aesthetic is about finding beauty in imperfection and embracing the impermanence of life. This aesthetic can be applied to interior design in a number of ways, but one of the most important things to remember is that functionality is key. 

Creating a functional space is important for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that you make the most of the space you have. Secondly, it helps to create a space that flows well and is easy to navigate. Thirdly, it ensures that the space is comfortable and welcoming.

The importance of natural materials: There is something about natural materials that makes a space feel more complete. Maybe it's the patina they acquire over time or their feel, but whatever the reason, we're big fans of Wabi Sabi design here. 

So this philosophy can be applied to our business premises and our surroundings, using natural and organic materials and embracing the imperfections of our living spaces.

Wabi sabi is a Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in imperfection. It values the natural and the handmade over the mass-produced and the perfect. Wabi sabi can be incorporated into your environment in many ways.

Embrace the allure of Wabi Sabi culture and its celebration of imperfection, simplicity, and the natural flow of existence. Unlock the secrets of this fascinating way of life and elevate your perspective on the world. 

The welcoming cleanliness of Scandinavian interiors and the minimalist beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics have made them both staples of modern interior design. 

Now, there is a crazily growing trend that combines both: "Japandi". It is influenced by the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, a way of life that values slow living, contentment and simplicity, as well as the Scandinavian practice of hygge, which relates to a sense of comfort and warmth.

Today, contemporary interior designers are rediscovering the commonalities of a penchant for neutral tones, natural materials and minimalism.

Japandi combines the soft, modern lines of Scandinavian design with the sleek, functional elegance of the Japanese aesthetic. It is minimalist yet cosy, and is based on the use of neutral tones, lots of textures and natural materials. 

To achieve the Japandi aesthetic it is essential to declutter the space. It favours bright and wide spaces, whilst emphasising the negative space. The Japandi style also celebrates craftsmanship. After all, it is a philosophy guided by the belief that "less is more".

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What Is Japandi Interior Design and why is this taking over the internet?

The welcoming cleanliness of Scandinavian interiors and the minimalist beauty of traditional Japanese aesthetics have made them both staples of modern interior design. 

Now, there is a crazily growing trend that combines both: "Japandi". It is influenced by the ancient Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi, a way of life that values slow living, contentment and simplicity, as well as the Scandinavian practice of hygge, which relates to a sense of comfort and warmth.

Today, contemporary interior designers are rediscovering the commonalities of a penchant for neutral tones, natural materials and minimalism.

Japandi combines the soft, modern lines of Scandinavian design with the sleek, functional elegance of the Japanese aesthetic. It is minimalist yet cosy, and is based on the use of neutral tones, lots of textures and natural materials. 

To achieve the Japandi aesthetic it is essential to declutter the space. It favours bright and wide spaces, whilst emphasising the negative space. The Japandi style also celebrates craftsmanship. After all, it is a philosophy guided by the belief that "less is more".

Ways to Incorporate Wabi-Sabi and Japandi Design in Your Business

Nature-inspired colour palette

When choosing colours, you can also take inspiration from nature - please don't forget the feelings your brand wants to convey.

This leaves plenty of room for choice, as nature offers a wide range of colours, from the crimson of cherries to the green of pine trees. 

The general recommendation is to go for neutral, muted tones: think beige, sand, cream, taupe, oatmeal and stone. Avoid anything too white or bright. Nothing should clash, clash or overpower. The aim is to create a calm and harmonious atmosphere. If these tones seem a little bland, you can add a contrasting colour or add some richness with a darker accent colour.

Light-coloured natural fibres and sustainable materials - such as rattan, bamboo, cotton, hemp and paper - are a key component of Japanese style and help to make the space feel warm and inviting.

Mix and match

Mix and match natural materials to create an interesting visual look. Along with bamboo and rattan, wood is an obvious choice for furniture. Using natural stone (avoiding stone materials) is also an excellent option.

Scandinavian designs tend to have clean, simple lines. In Japan, on the other hand, it is more common for woods to be stained or painted and for furniture to have curved shapes. Don't be afraid to mix and match the two styles to add visual interest. Make sure the pieces you choose are top quality, so you can grow with them and avoid having to replace them regularly. 

Both light and dark woods work for the Japanese style. However, try to match the colour of the wood as closely as possible. This helps to bring the room together and creates a sense of modernity and harmony.

Minimal accessories

Get rid of superfluous clutter and useless objects. In this way, the things that really matter stand out and shine.

Ultimately Japandi is about having zero clutter. Less is more. Invest in a few impressive pieces that will stand the test of time. It can be tempting to constantly add and change things in your business; in the end it is what society wants us to do. Remember that wabi-sabi is about stripping away the unnecessary in order to enjoy a calm and fulfilled life.

Plants are a great natural accessory. They are an important element of Japandi design and an easy way to bring nature indoors. They are welcoming and soften minimalist interiors. The added bonus is that they improve air quality, which is perfect for emulating healthy Scandinavian air. If you want to make more reference to the Japanese influence, you can include typically oriental plants such as bonsais, cherries, or bamboos.

Natural materials and textures

The best way to add warmth and interest to your Japanese interior is to use natural materials with different textures and fabrics. 

Incorporate wood, stone and plants into your environment. These materials age gracefully and add character while evolving over time.  Stop looking for perfection. Imperfections are not the result of sloppiness, but of the nature of the materials and the process, or the use of the object itself.

The Japanese are famous for using exquisite patterns. Invest in your cushions, curtains, blankets and tableware. Pleasant textures will help create hygge and patterns will add vibrancy. This makes the style cosy, not cold. Rugs are very important in adding texture and warmth to a space.

Low-intensity lighting

The perfect complement to your minimalist interior is elegant and beautiful lighting. Just as every accessory or piece of furniture should be carefully chosen for its functionality and beauty, so should the lighting. 

Natural lighting is a must. Spaces should be softly bathed in natural light, this is achieved by screening the light with curtains or blinds, to encourage a sense of tranquillity and peace.

Incorporate industrial light fittings to give a Scandinavian feel to a darker, Japanese-inspired colour scheme. The use of candles will add contrast, warmth and elegance.

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Embracing Imperfection: Wabi-Sabi's Art of Finding Beauty in Flaws

Wabi-Sabi, a traditional Japanese aesthetic, celebrates the beauty of imperfection and embraces flaws as part of the overall design. This philosophy values simplicity and believes that there is beauty to be found in natural decay, asymmetry, and even roughness. By embracing imperfections, hospitality businesses can create spaces that feel authentic and unique.

Incorporating wabi-sabi into your hospitality business could involve using materials with visible wear or adding handmade elements like ceramics with irregular shapes or unfinished edges. Such details can add character to a space while also conveying a sense of warmth and history.

By focusing on imperfections rather than striving for perfection, you create an environment that feels more inviting and relatable to guests. This approach aligns well with the Japandi style which emphasizes minimalism combined with Scandinavian influences. Ultimately, embracing wabi-sabi allows your hospitality business to stand out by offering an experience that values authenticity over flawless aesthetics.

The Essence of Japandi: Blending Japanese and Scandinavian Design for a Harmonious Space

Japandi is the perfect blend of minimalist aesthetics from both Japanese and Scandinavian design styles. It combines the clean lines, light colors, and natural elements found in Scandinavian interiors with the simplicity, functionality, and mindfulness seen in traditional Japanese spaces.

In a Japandi-inspired space, you'll find a focus on decluttering and keeping only what is essential. Each item has its purpose while maintaining an uncluttered appearance. Natural materials like wood are used extensively to create warmth and serenity.

Japandi embraces the concept of "less is more" by promoting calmness through simplicity. Muted tones such as pale neutrals or shades inspired by nature dominate the color palette. This creates a tranquil atmosphere that promotes relaxation for guests staying in your hospitality business.

Creating Tranquil Spaces: Incorporating Natural Elements in Wabi-Sabi and Japandi Interiors

Natural elements play a key role in creating tranquil spaces within Wabi-Sabi and Japandi interiors. Bringing the outside in is essential for both styles, as it promotes harmony and connection with nature.

  • Embrace Imperfection: In line with the Wabi-Sabi philosophy, incorporating natural materials like wood or stone allows for imperfections to shine through, adding character and authenticity to the space.
  • Use Organic Colors: Earthy tones such as warm browns or muted greens are perfect for creating a serene environment inspired by nature. These hues evoke feelings of calmness and balance.
  • Bring in Greenery: Both styles emphasize the importance of plants to create a sense of tranquility and freshness. Potted plants or small indoor gardens can be strategically placed throughout the space, adding life and beauty.

By prioritizing natural elements such as imperfect materials, organic colors, and greenery, you can effortlessly infuse your hospitality business with the peaceful essence of these Japanese design trends. The result will be an inviting atmosphere that encourages relaxation and rejuvenation for your guests.

Minimalism with a Twist: How Wabi-Sabi and Japandi Styles Enhance Functionality and Comfort

Wabi-sabi, the Japanese philosophy of imperfection and appreciation for the beauty of natural materials, can be seamlessly integrated into hospitality spaces. By incorporating organic textures like unfinished wood, hand-crafted ceramics, and raw stone, you create an atmosphere that feels warm and inviting. This minimalist approach embraces simplicity while exuding a sense of calmness.

Japandi takes this minimalism even further by adding a touch of Scandinavian design to the mix. With its clean lines, neutral color palette, and emphasis on functionality, Japandi effortlessly blends Japanese tranquility with Scandinavian practicality. The result is a space that balances aesthetic appeal with comfort - making it perfect for providing guests with a cozy yet stylish environment.

When designing your hospitality business with these styles in mind:

  • Focus on natural materials such as bamboo furniture or paper screens
  • Opt for muted colors like soft greens or earthy browns
  • Incorporate handmade items like pottery or woven textiles to add warmth and uniqueness to the space

Colors and Textures: Exploring the Subtle Palettes of Wabi-Sabi and Japandi Design

Embracing Natural Hues

In both Wabi-Sabi and Japandi design, a muted color palette inspired by nature takes center stage. Soft earth tones like warm browns, dusty grays, and creamy whites create a calming atmosphere that promotes relaxation. These subtle hues can be incorporated into your hospitality business through paint choices, furniture selections, and decorative accents.

Texture for Visual Interest

Another essential element of both design styles is the use of texture to add visual interest. Incorporating different textures into your space not only adds depth but also reflects the imperfect beauty that is celebrated in Wabi-Sabi and Japandi aesthetics. Consider incorporating elements such as raw wood finishes, woven textiles, or matte ceramics to create a tactile experience for your guests.

Pairing Simplicity with Elegance

Wabi-Sabi celebrates imperfections while Japandi focuses on simplicity; these philosophies can be merged to create an effortlessly elegant ambiance for your hospitality business. This fusion emphasizes clean lines and minimalist decor while still embracing natural materials and handmade items. By achieving this balance between simplicity and elegance, you can create spaces that exude tranquility and sophistication desired by modern travelers.

The Art of Zen: Infusing Serenity and Mindfulness into Your Hospitality Business with Wabi-Sabi and Japandi

Find tranquility in simplicity

Embrace the philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, appreciating imperfection and finding beauty in simplicity. In your hospitality business, this means creating spaces that emphasize natural materials, organic shapes, and minimalist design. Opt for earthy tones like muted greens and warm neutrals to create a calm and serene atmosphere.

Harmonize aesthetics with functionality

Combine elements of both Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian design by embracing Japandi style. This fusion allows for an effortlessly elegant atmosphere while still prioritizing comfort and functionality. Choose furniture that is sleek yet comfortable, ensuring your guests feel at ease while engaging with your space.

Create balance through nature-inspired decor

Bring the outdoors inside by incorporating nature-inspired decor into your hospitality business. Use plants as natural accents throughout your space to promote a sense of harmony and well-being. Additionally, consider integrating traditional Japanese art forms such as Ikebana (flower arrangement) or bonsai trees to add a touch of elegance.

By adopting principles from both Wabi-Sabi and Japandi styles, you can infuse serenity and mindfulness into every aspect of your hospitality business. From calming interiors to functional furnishings that prioritize comfort; let these trendy Japanese designs provide a transformative experience for both you as the host and your valued guests.

How your business can benefit form using Wabi-sabi and Japandi Design?

Taking inspiration from Japanese aesthetics for your business can be a good place to start. Why? Most of us need to pause, embrace the moment and slow down, so we can get on with our day feeling recharged.

In a world plagued by high-stress levels, fast-paced living, an unrealistic pursuit of perfection and a detrimental affliction for materialistic wealth. Finding a place that conveys peace and tranquillity is highly valued in today's fast-paced world.

Every interpretation of the Japanese way is different, it is very important to dare to make your own choices. Your business is not a showroom and should not be a copy-paste of something you have seen. An important part is to add the elements and values of your brand.

One of the teachings of the wabi-sabi philosophy is simple: Don't strive for perfection, strive for excellence.

All things in life, including your brand, are in an imperfect state of change, so don't strive for perfection, strive for excellence.

Using Wabi-sabi and Japandi design for your hospitality business 

The essence of Japanese-inspired interior design is to find balance. The key is to keep it simple, natural, uncluttered, clean lines and minimalism.

Let your space evolve over time and don't be afraid to experiment. Embrace imperfection and find beauty in the every day; the key is to keep your feet on the ground and embrace the connection with nature.

One of the best things about Wabi-Sabi and Japandi interior design is that it can be easily incorporated into any space.  If you need more help, we'd be happy to discuss your specific needs and help you achieve the perfect interior design for your business.


Yaiza Martinez

Founder and Lead Designer

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