Japanese décor has some similarities with the ever-popular Scandinavian design, and they mostly come down to the appreciation of minimalism. The main goal of Japan-inspired interior design is to create peacefulness and balance. To achieve it, designers turn to natural materials, harmonious combinations, and simplicity. The final product is an unpretentious form that exudes a serene atmosphere and meditative feel. If you think that your home needs this tranquil transformation, read on for more tips on how to incorporate Japanese style in your interior design.
Create a Good Backdrop
Before we start with the elements that will make your apartment more oriental, we need to create an appropriate backdrop for all your future ventures. First, you will need to do some mindful decluttering. Leave only the necessary furniture and try not to overwhelm the space with trinkets, such as memorabilia, souvenirs, and accessories.
After this is done, we can move on to the paint job. One of the best rules to be guided by when painting your Japanese-inspired home is to choose paint colors you would use for your bedroom. These are the colors that inspire serenity, such as grey, beige, or natural shades of green.
Let the Sunshine in
Japanese homes look spacious even when their square footage is not that big. This is made possible with an open plan layout and a generous amount of sunlight flowing in. At the same time, both of these design principles (creating open layouts and allowing for maximum natural light) lead to the main goal of oriental design – creating a peaceful atmosphere. Expansive windows and large glass doors are your main tools for achieving this.
However, that’s not going to be available to everyone. If your budget or the layout of your property don’t allow for expansive windows, leave your windows bare and consider installing skylights.
Traditional Japanese homes include movable floor cushions instead of beds, sofas, and chairs. You don’t have to be so “on the book” with this one. There’s a good alternative that fits into the modern lifestyle: replacing floor cushions with low-to-ground furniture. This includes low tables, chairs, sofas, and beds. Low tables can be particularly complicated to use, but you can combine them with a couple of zabuton cushions. You can put the zabuton on low chairs without legs for some back support.
Wood holds a special place in Japanese interiors, and you can’t go wrong with wooden flooring. However, if you want to be authentic, you’ll want to use straw mats (tatami flooring). The mats are made from woven rush plant (woven igusa), and they keep your floors warm in the winter and cool in the summer. One of their best features is the fresh grassy scent they emit, creating a calming vibe throughout the interior.
Divide and Conquer
Most Japanese people live in small apartments or houses. High housing prices are certainly one major reason behind this, but there’s also their modest mentality. Either way, they’re absolute masters at conserving every square inch of an interior.
For example, swinging doors can take up a lot of space, which you could otherwise use for storage or furniture. That’s why the Japanese choose sliding doors or screens (Shoji). Another benefit of the screens is that they don’t block natural light’s flow throughout the house.
Elements of Nature Dominate the Space
We’ve already mentioned the importance of using natural materials when designing a Japanese-style home. Natural wooden elements should be used not only in the living room but also in every other room (yes, the bathroom as well). The most commonly used types of wood are red pine, maple, hemlock, and cypress. For decorative purposes, you can save money and achieve a strong visual impact with bamboo. Nature is also manifested through materials such as stone and clay.
There is a special method in Japanese design called Wabi-sabi, which is all about embracing imperfections. It is implemented through the authenticity of natural materials, artisanal accents, and homemade items.
And finally, the outdoors are welcomed inside through houseplants and zen areas. A zen area can be created out of stone, bamboo, greenery, and water features (if the square footage allows it).
The world is a global village, which is a good thing. We learn things about other cultures, appreciate their way of living, and possibly find something that matches our lifestyle and desires. The Japanese way of living and focus on serenity is precisely what many of us need in these times of turmoil. So, why not give it a try?