Japanese interior design: 7 steps to a perfectly Zen home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
The Long House, Keith Williams Architects Keith Williams Architects Minimalist living room
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More than just the space where we rest, our homes need to provide a soothing, calming, and welcoming atmosphere – for guests, sure, but especially for the owner. Fortunately, we have our share of inspirations to choose from, including the Japanese design style. Known as the champions of Zen, the Japanese follow the basic rules of Asian design:

1. The room layout (open-plan living spaces made up of a small kitchen, dining- and living room are the norm);

2. The furniture (think clean lines, neutral colours, and slim/light furniture mostly constructed from wood);

3. Decoration (imagine Mother Nature’s playground with fresh flowers, potted plants, bonsai trees, river stones, and charismatic lighting (i.e. lanterns). 

So, with these 3 rules, and taking all that we’ve learned from our professional Interior Designers/Decorators here on homify, let’s discover the 7 steps to perfectly designed Japanese interiors. 

1. Japanese interiors: Wood and bamboo

Chalet Gstaad, Ardesia Design Ardesia Design Rustic style living room
Ardesia Design

Chalet Gstaad

Ardesia Design

The Japanese style shows a love for wood, which is why so many Asian-style homes flaunt wood walls, wood doors, wood frames, etc. And although bamboo is popular in both the east and west, the western world has also fallen in love with maple, cypress, hemlock, red pine, and a variety of other woods. 

homify hint: Consider tatami mats to up the feel of a traditional Japanese home.

2. Japanese interiors: Natural touches

Speaking of natural wood, the Japanese culture maintains a strong bond with the natural world via residential designs. Obviously adding a traditional Japanese plant, like a bonsai, to a room instantly adds an Asian vibe, but really any deep-green plant (such as palms or orchids) will suffice. 

homify hint: Let your style touches, like wall art and wallpaper, further induce a natural feel via floral patterns, nature-inspired hues and motifs, etc. 

3. Japanese interiors: Sliding doors and screens

Due to the scarcity and high costs of space in Japan, houses flaunt as much space-saving tricks as possible. And that includes the Shoji, authentic Japanese sliding screen doors that help to save a bit of legroom when opened and closed. 

Of course we’re not suggesting you have your own traditional Shoji made and imported, but a similar feature (even just wallpaper mimicking Asian screens/walls) can also do the trick.  

4. Japanese interiors: Bright and light

Just like the Scandinavian style, the Japanese one favours minimal accessories, light woods to help boost the interior light in a room, and big windows (and glass doors, and a skylight if possible… ) to welcome in decadent amounts of light and garden views. 

5. Japanese interiors: An emphasis on empty space

Less is so much more when it comes to Japanese interiors. And that’s thanks to a belief that empty space stimulates the imagination and positive waves. Clutter, on the other hand, as the opposite effect.

Thus, let’s see where we can lose some décor- and furniture pieces until only the essential ones remain, shall we? 

6. Japanese décor: Colours

Think soft neutrals: beiges, light browns, soft greys, off-whites… these are the tints that are going to be your Japanese-inspired interiors’ new colour palette. It works on the idea that softer colours, especially when combined with adequate lighting, helps to make small rooms seem bigger. 

For accessories (which should be kept to an absolute minimum), consider colours found in nature such as Moss green, Ocean blue, Cherry red, Charcoal grey…  

7. Japanese décor: Lighting

Single Pendant Light LOFT Minimalist Design Lighting White Ceiling Light LED Lamp Luxury Chandelier LTD KitchenLighting Copper/Bronze/Brass White kitchen lighting,brass lighting,single pendant lamp,white lighting,lamps,uk
Luxury Chandelier LTD

Single Pendant Light LOFT Minimalist Design Lighting White Ceiling Light LED Lamp

Luxury Chandelier LTD

Where harsh lighting is seen as a trigger to work, softer lighting is more appropriate to relaxation – which is what one wants in one’s home, regardless of the country. Trust us when we say your new diffused lighting (keep it at low- to mid-level to avoid harsh glares), along with your updated features, are going to add the perfect calming vibe to your Japanese interiors.  

From one set of ideas to another, let’s catch up with 7 interior design tips for autumn-inspired interiors.

Are you keen on copying the Japanese look for your interiors?

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