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  • PublishedJanuary 25, 2024

By Cody Sabo of Haus of Sabo

Fall is here and winter is coming. Is your bathroom ready to not only help you get warm but also help you feel warm?

Do you know our brain also considers the visuals as an important piece of information about how a place will thermally feel like?

Imagine the times when despite lying in a hot water-filled bathtub in a heated bathroom, you still felt no warmth and it all just felt like a wasted effort to achieve that coziness.

Luckily, you don’t have to deal with this disappointment anymore with the help of the Japandi style of interior design.

Here’s a hint: Focus on your, not anyone else’s, but your big idea.

More on that a bit later.

Let’s first quickly learn what really is Japandi style so you can learn how to correctly implement it in your private bathroom while still keeping it unique to you.


Japandi is like Yin Yang between Japanese style and Scandinavian style of interior design where features of one style interconnect with and complement the features of the other style.

Both the styles have a few similarities and a few key differences. You can’t truly incorporate Japandi unless you understand these key similarities and differences between the parent styles.

Japanese Style Interior Design: Focuses towards minimalism, comfort, lighter side of neutral colors from white to brown depicting the beautiful nature. Textures and curves are other aspects of nature that this design style thrives on! Handicrafts bring a sense of intimate human touch to the interiors. The prime thought is to achieve the warm, zen vibes.

Scandinavian Style Interior Design: Talking about similarities, the Scandinavian style also prefers minimalism and comfort. Besides white, this style focuses on darker sides of the neutral colors, but not the brown neutrals. Smooth, glossy, polished, plush are the words that come to mind while working with this style. All of this along with the use of steel and iron for hardware somewhat gives a sense of industrialism. The prime thought behind this style is to achieve coziness while maintaining the sleek modern aspect of today’s architecture.


Japanese style lightens and brightens up the dark, depressing, and somewhat cold mood of the other style. While the Scandinavian style helps in bringing the modern sleek aesthetics to its counterpart.

Due to these features of the two design styles, it turned out to be so easy to merge them into the Japandi design style.

“The overall thought behind the Japandi style is – achieving warmth and coziness while appreciating the natural beauty (beauty in nature).”

Now, let’s discuss the big question here.

Related: See how I’m creating a Japandi styled bathroom for my amazing law-practicing client from Dallas.


If I tell you to buy ABC items from XYZ stores and place them in 123 style, your bathroom won’t look any different from other fellow readers. This must feel cool as a community, but each one of you is unique, have different tastes and personalities. Telling you to do the same stuff to your bathrooms is not justice to any of you. Right?

So, here’s how you do it instead.


Do you have a mirror in your bathroom? I’m sure you do. When you’re standing naked (i.e. your natural state) in front of that mirror, do you feel yourself to be standing in your bathroom or in your sanctuary?

For many, the answer is well, in your bathroom.


Warmth is just a word. The feeling this word provides arises based on your personal choices, desires, and experiences.

Tell me, how do you describe the feeling of warmth?

Is it soaking in hot water springs in the middle of snow-filled Alaska… is it the Desert hot springs that you visited once with your friends?… or maybe it’s the time when you were camping on a calm riverside under the clouds with a bonfire?

Once you decide what will truly offer you the sense of warmth and feel like being in the place that once gave you the utmost comfort, then you just have to use the Japandi style as a simple tool to work towards achieving your personal definition or warmth and ignore everything else.

Colors and Textures

Both Japanese and Scandinavian styles are at opposite ends in terms of color, texture, and materials. Japanese style has lighter neutral colors and textures both of which represent nature. While the Scandinavian style has dark neutral colors and rustic and/or plush finishes.

Example: You have an option to either get rustic hardware on stone-clad walls… or add stone basin and stone-designed hardware on smooth glossy walls. How you balance both styles is totally up to your taste.


Now, you may be asking how to know which materials would work for me, Cody?

See, just follow the above rule of colors and textures. A rough-textured stone tile of light brown color would symbolize Japanese style while a glossy stone tile or marble tile of black color would symbolize the Scandinavian style.

Based on your Big Idea, use colors and textures from one style more than the other.


Lighting plays the most crucial role in setting up a room’s mood.

If your Big Idea was a camping site at night, then you’d be more inclined towards using warm color artificial lights. But if your big idea was Hot springs in Alaska, then you’d be more inclined towards natural daylight.

Unfortunately you sometimes just don’t have the luxury of having a bathroom with big windows. To mimic natural light in such cases, you should place your artificial light fixture in your small bathroom window or ventilator in a way that the fixture isn’t visible, but the light coming from it feels like coming from the outside.


Even if you don’t have any wall opening, you can still place fake windows in the form of cove lights covered by blinds.

Or how about that artificial skylight made of resin being perfectly lit by cove lights in your false ceiling?

You see, the limits go as far as your imagination can go.


Accessories and decor give character to a space. Without them, it’s only an empty cave.

I’m sure by now, you’ve already figured out whether you resonate more with the Japanese aspect… or the Scandinavian aspect of the Japandi design style. So, accessorize and decorate your modern zen bathroom according to it.

Here are two quick tips to help you reach there:

  1. To depict the Japandi style in your bathroom, you have options to add shelves of matt or polished steel… or of bamboo. You can even place textured towels or velvet towels.

  2. Any handcrafted items and fabric represent Japanese style while any machine-made accessories or shiny fabrics will represent the Scandinavian style.

To get an actual feel of nature in the Japandi style, the incorporation of indoor plants is imperative. But don’t place 100s of plants, otherwise, your bathroom will feel like humid forbidden ruins, haha.


Regardless of your bathroom’s size, you must have a focal point where you want your eyes to go first as soon as you open your bathroom door.

This focal point can be your bathtub, your basin, your sitting corner in the bath, or even a well-designed wall.

Similar to how you usually first place a sofa set in your living room and a dining table in your dining room and then design everything around them, you shall do the same for your chosen focal point in your bathroom.


Since the Japandi style is all about minimalism, you want to open up your space as much as you can. Remove any unnecessary shelving or storage… and lift up your vanity. It’d be a cherry on top if you can add some lighting on, around, or under your vanity and shelving.

But the lighting shall only be of neutral colors or the sun’s colors. Otherwise, you’d drift away from the Japandi design style.


If you’ve got some creativity in you, then sure, this is all you need to achieve your desired warmth this winter.

But if you feel like you’ll need some expert help, then that’s where I come in!Click here to book an appointment with me where we’ll discuss everything from your desires to your bathroom’s present condition in utmost detail to figure out how exactly can I help you in realizing your zen bathroom before it gets too late.

It’s all about creating that soothing contrast while sticking with neutrals, rustics, and naturals. You can do it with a 50-50 of the two styles or you can incline more towards either one style. It all depends on your bathroom’s current situation and your own personality.

The rules are just to guide a beginner but are not set in stone. Don’t agree with anyone who says it otherwise.


About Cody Sabo

Cody Sabo Haus of Sabo interior design expert DFWCody Sabo, principal of Haus of Sabo, is an American designer creating timeless, well-tailored, and provocative environments. In projects spanning the state of Texas, the Sulphur Springs-born native intuitively mixes modern furnishings and period moments for unexpected spaces. Click here to learn more about Haus of Sabo or book an in-person or virtual consultation.

Written By
Kat Stovall

Kat was born in Dallas, Tx but is an East Texan through and through. She graduated from Rains High School went on to earn her BFA in Design Communication in 2015 and has recently began working towards her Master’s in Business Marketing. She recently moved to the Miller Grove area to lay down roots with her fiancé, son, and their pack of animals. With 12 years working in the design and marketing industry, Kat has worn many hats. This has helped her to experience first-hand the importance of branding, marketing, and having a great website to a business’ success. Her true passion is helping startups and small businesses turn their dreams into a reality. This energy and vision encouraged Kat to start her own business, De La Grove Agency, a boutique creative agency that offers branding, web design and marketing services. When she’s not working, you’ll most likely find her doing home renovations, road tripping somewhere, hunting for vintage finds or binge watching a new show.