‘Kawaii’ is a Japanese word that embodies all things pretty, sweet, and cute! You’ll still recognize this distinctly adorable style even if you haven’t heard that specific term before.
Best characterized by charmingly coordinated pastels and simple graphic images of kittens, hearts, cupcakes, and unicorns, kawaii decor is quickly gaining popularity. Here, we’ll talk about how to incorporate kawaii style into your home. This style works perfect for a kid’s bedroom, a teenager’s bedroom or even for and adult who is a fan of these characters and wants to have a kawaii-inspired space.
Kawaii expressions in daily life
Before we dive into decor-specific ways to apply kawaii style, let’s talk a bit about where you can draw inspiration from — the number of places kawaii aesthetics pop up might surprise you!
Source: Women’s Kaleidoscope
Aesthetics — Even down to things like hairstyles, kawaii cute will fit into your life. Think of adorable styles like blunt bangs with pigtails, high buns á la Sailor Moon, long, straight cuts, and other cute-as-a-button styles.
Color palette — When you think kawaii, think all things pastel. Whatever your favorite colors are, the pastel versions are perfect for bringing kawaii style into your life. Classic kawaii colors are baby pink and baby blue, but you can take whatever color direction makes you the happiest — that’s what kawaii is all about.
Fashion — The sky’s the limit when it comes to kawaii fashion. Throw out all those ideas of muted hues and sleek silhouettes that get ingrained into us — kawaii fashion is all about whimsical childlike wonder and fun.
Clothes — If it existed in a childhood dream, cartoon, or fantasy, it fits in perfectly with kawaii clothing style. Your favorite characters adorably splashed onto tops, skirts, or knee-high socks are classic kawaii cute.
Accessories — Oh, the kawaii accessories to draw inspiration from! Cupcake pins, heart bobbles, unicorn phone charms, Hello Kitty backpacks — you’ll be in kawaii heaven when you start looking into Japanese kawaii accessories.
Makeup — Take the color palette we talked about before and apply that to your makeup, and you’ll have picture-perfect kawaii cute makeup. Pastels, sparkles, shimmery iridescent powders, and cupcake frosting-themed palettes are delightful additions to your kawaii style.
TV & animation — Media is hugely influential in kawaii aesthetics. Particularly important are animated TV shows, movies, and online media. Kawaii style draws a ton of inspiration from visual media like anime and manga.
Popular Kawaii icons: While talking media, anime and manga characters are central to the kawaii cute aesthetic. Characters like Hello Kitty, Pikachu, Doraemon, Hamtaro, and Gudetama are just a few examples of mainstream ‘kawaiiness’. If you’re searching for inspiration for your kawaii style makeover, peruse these popular characters!
Office/school supplies with kawaii themes — We dare you not to develop at least a mild obsession with kawaii-themed stationary supplies once you get into them. These adorable notebooks, paper clips, erasers, pens and pencils, folders, backpacks, and more are the sweetest additions to your kawaii style.
How to convert your room into Kawaii style
Whether you’re looking for some small ways to incorporate kawaii cute into your space or a full-on room makeover, we’ve got you covered with the tips below.
Source: Japan Crate
Planning your project
If you think a complete room makeover would fill your heart with kawaii-themed joy, here are a few tips to keep you on the right track:
Budget — It’s helpful to establish a budget at the outset of your project. Even if it’s flexible, you can keep track of expenses if you have a plan.
Hire a pro for small construction projects — If you’re handy with small DIY projects, full steam ahead! If not, plan for the cost of hiring a handy person to help you with things like hanging curtain rods, putting bookshelves together, or painting your walls.
Where to find kawaii-themed decor — Let your fingers walk and search online for cute kawaii decor. Further on, we’ll talk specifics.
Project timeline — Especially if you’re hiring professionals to handle certain aspects, having a timeline is endlessly helpful to keep everyone on track and finish your kawaii-themed room on time.
Kawaii vibe — Soft yet bright pastels and adorable characters embody colors and styles of the Kawaii lifestyle. There’s no limit on how many colors and shapes you can incorporate, so feel free to mix and match your favorites from the list below and use your imagination, too!
Pastel colors — Picture baby pink and cream-painted walls, with artwork including your favorite images, accented by matching lamps, curtains, and rugs. If you’re more of a blue person, baby blue walls with splashes of loveable blue Pokemon or other anime characters are wonderfully kawaii-themed. Or, move away from a monochromatic palette and mix it up with pastel purple, blue, pink, yellow, green, and orange combinations.
Food-inspired prints — Food is a massive part of the kawaii aesthetic, from cupcakes to sushi. Dancing maki rolls with adorable blushes, giggling cupcakes, and steaming noodle bowls are all popular characters in kawaii design.
Anime and manga characters — Alongside loveable food items, kawaii style features many animated characters from anime cartoons and comic books. With this aesthetic, you get to wear your love for your favorite characters on your sleeve — and walls!
How to add decor to your bedroom
Kawaii decor can be very personalized, so if you’re looking for a place to start, your bedroom is the perfect spot.
Source: Hotel Jen
Choose theme — If you’re just getting started with kawaii home decor, it’s helpful to choose a theme like Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Hamtaro, or food to give you direction.
Choose your color palette — While mixing and matching colors is encouraged, it can also become overwhelming if you don’t have any direction. If you want to keep things lively, start with a palette of three (maybe four) colors and go from there.
Wallpaper — Kawaii wallpaper is a great way to bring in playful prints to your space. If you’re not finding what you want in stock, there are lots of options for custom-printed wallpaper to let you showcase your style.
Lighting — This is the perfect way to emphasize your kawaii lifestyle. Think Pokemon character table lamps, happy sushi nightlights, Hello Kitty-themed paper lanterns — endless possibilities.
Rugs or mats — Mix up your space by swapping out sweet rugs featuring precious characters, softly colored rainbows, anime stars, or loveable unicorns.
Bedding — Bedding is the perfect place to mix and match your prints. One of the best parts of kawaii decor is that you can be as creative as you want! Hello Kitty sheets with a Jigglypuff duvet cover and a cupcake throw pillow? Yes, please.
Plushies — Not only are kawaii plushies a popular item widely available in many designs, but did you know there are more benefits of having plushies, too? They’re great for anxiety and stress relief, among other things.
Mirrors — Shapes with simplified outlines are a big part of the kawaii aesthetic, which lends itself perfectly to mirror designs. Adding a charming rainbow or unicorn-shaped mirror is a great way to bring light and playfulness to your bedroom.
Furniture — The colors you choose for your bed frame, dresser, and night tables can perfectly fit your chosen color palette and theme. If you’re going for a more low-key approach, picture a nori paper-colored bed frame dressed with a soft pastel pink duvet cover reminiscent of ahi tuna, combined with pastel wasabi throw pillows.
Bedroom accessories — Decor accessories are an area that kawaii lifestyle brands excel. You’ll have no trouble finding a vast selection of digital clocks, diffusers, and charging stations matching your theme.
Where can I find Kawaii decor?
Great news if you’re unsure where to scoop up all the best kawaii cute home decor items — there’s a huge selection online! In most major cities, you can also find retail locations; more on that below.
Etsy — Supporting independent creators is always essential, and Etsy is full of inspired kawaii-themed stores for all types of genres.
Amazon — Large online marketplaces like Amazon are great for filling in any gaps in your decor plans, especially if it’s quite niche.
Social media — With the rise of social marketplaces, apps like Instagram and TikTok are full of options for inspiration and shopping.
Online stores — Many well-established kawaii-cute stores like Sanrio World Ginza offer online shopping with global shipping. The selection and creativity are limitless!
Retail locations — If you’re located in or visiting an international city like London, New York, or of course, Tokyo (since Japan is the birthplace of kawaii), you’ll find a great selection of retail stores to get lost in.
The Kawaii lifestyle celebrates all things pretty, cute, and playful. This whimsical home decor style is the perfect way to bring your space a welcome dose of personality and joy. With some planning and inspiration, you’ll be relaxing in your kawaii-cute space in no time.