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How To Bring Japanese Simplicity Into Your Interiors

How To Bring Japanese Simplicity Into Your Interiors How To Bring Japanese Simplicity Into Your Interiors

The view from this bedroom brings nature indoors. Image Source: Decker Bullock

What’s the purpose of all this simplicity, anyway? At its core, it’s meant to help you bring a sense of serenity and calmness into your home. According to the Buddhist principle of Zen, to which many Japanese people subscribe, a calm environment is essential when trying to achieve enlightenment.

Would you like to have a home designed in this style? If so, what would you add to your home to achieve this look?

Adding traditional Japanese plants, such as bonsai and bamboo, into your home will give it a small  Japanese cultural touch. Really though, you can add any sort of deep greenery and still achieve a similar style. Consider adding sleek plants such as palm or orchid to your home. It is not typical to see a lot of  colorful floral arrangements in a Japanese home, so whatever plant you choose, keep it simple,  natural  and green.

Floor-to-ceiling windows help bring nature indoors. Image Via: Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

“It is pertaining to the sense of simplicity, but not the real thing. It’s the zen attitude.”

Look at the room featured below. It is an amazing nod to Japanese culture and would make a perfect place to have Japanese tea. Find a quiet place in your own home to lay out a floor cushion for meditating or just sitting and relaxing. Don’t forget to  add a water feature, so its trickle will drown away all distracting noises.

Most of Japan’s furniture is low to the ground, or when it comes to tea ceremonies, floor cushions usually forgo furniture. Mimicking this design aesthetic can be as simple as incorporating low-to-the-ground furniture into our homes, such as the simple side tables and bed frame featured in the image below.

The Japanese entry is called a genkan.  This is the area that greets visitors and also the place where shoes are immediately taken off and usually replaced with indoor slippers.

Try diving deep into the peaceful Japanese culture by creating a truly serene space in your home that is meant for mediating, having tea, or doing yoga.

Elements of serenity often come from nature. Try to incorporate a stone wall in your master bathroom shower or add floor-to-ceiling windows in your kitchen to let light from the outside stream in. Even if you can’t make huge changes to the space, a few small houseplants can liven up any living space.

Black and white are commonly used as the neutral base of a room, but Bamboo can also considered a neutral since it is so popular in Japanese homes.

This modern TV room has plenty of natural light via the floor-to-ceiling windows. Image Source: Logue Studio Design

Walls, doors, screen grids and frames are all made of natural wood. The most common woods being western versions of maple, cypress, hemlock and red pine. Bamboo is also a popular wood used for decorative purposes, as can be seen in the image below.

Shape Created with Sketch. Interior designers go back to nature

We know what you’re thinking: Which such simplistic design elements, how do you keep the room from becoming, well, boring? The answer lies in texture. As you design your Asian-inspired interiors look for items that will bring a lot of texture to the space – and make them as contrasting as possible.

Start with a single focal point. Keep in mind that a focal point does not have to refer to just one element. Sometimes it can refer to a unified collection of elements that define the room’s purpose. Think about grouping two couches to create a seating area in your living room or keeping your dining room simple by focusing the entire room around your table and chairs.

With such a sleek and clean aesthetic, it’s no wonder why Japanese interiors are so intriguing. If you’re interested in recreating the look in your own home, you’re not alone. Luckily, this style is also incredibly simple to recreate. We’ve got tips to help you make it happen. Read over this post to get a sense for of how to bring Japanese simplicity into your own interiors.

Or we could be more authentic by surrounding a low plank table with floor cushions—using this as a means to dine would be very bona fide, and maybe even a bit romantic.  Whether you want more of an East meets West design, or you want to be extremely authentic — Japanese style furniture can easily be incorporated into your home.

This is because as well as a love of minimalism, the concept also serves as a reminder that material belongings are impermanent. 

Paint the room in calming greens or browns, add some live greenery, play some calming music and Voila! You have your very own, very Zen Japanese hideaway.

Vary textures on your walls, floors, and furniture. Image Via: Intexure Architects

Japanese interiors often feature a strong sense of symmetry. Image Via: Design First Interiors

Over time, the two principles came to be known as one, wabi-sabi, to highlight the “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” says author Leonard Koren. 

This design results in a simple color palette that is very neutral. How can we mimic this in our own interiors? Try incorporating these natural wooden elements through wood shelving, wall panels and flooring, or add the grey-tones of stone in your floors or even your furniture (see image below).

Forget gaudy, ornate and over-embellished trimmings, kanso is all about restraint, simple surroundings and only buying what you really need be it a bed, a chair or a table.

Floor-to-ceiling windows let a lot of natural light into this room. Image Source: Doba-Arch

Sliding doors are a common interior design element in Japanese homes. Image Source:Dennis Mayer

Ofuro, translated as bath in Japanese, is a tranquil tradition that is well-worth adding to your home. Japanese soaking tubs are small, deep tubs that usually have some sort of bench seat. These tubs are becoming an Eastern trend that many health conscious homeowners are flocking for.

An authentic Japanese screen is usually made of fine translucent paper held inside a  wooden frame. However, modern versions of these screens can be found online and are usually made of glass panels inside a wooden grid.

The concept is part of a set of ancient ideas that include wabi (transient and stark beauty) and sabi (the beauty of nature and aging), both of which are an important part of daily life, incorporating the old with modern principles. 

Of course, the question becomes how to bring this style into your own home. Don’t worry, we have the answers. Check out our tips below to see how you can capture a touch of Japanese simplicity – no matter where you live.

It is believed that by using kanso and choosing modest furniture or minimal artwork that you can satisfy your longing for quiet and simplicity. 

What do you think about Japanese interior design? Would you consider bringing it into your own interiors? Have you? Tell us how in the comments below.

“Zen is a renunciation of enlightenment found via the trappings of organised religion, such as mass prayer, ritualistic chants, and large structures” author Jeremiah Bourque told the Metro. 

Furniture that is low to the ground is common in Japanese culture. Image Source: Tim Clarke

An authentic Japanese screen is called a Shoji, and it is an essential design element in Japanese homes.

This contemporary white kitchen is a sleek way to have East meet West. Image Source: Interiors By Darren James

Similar to feng shui, kanso – which means simplicity – focuses on the flow and movement of energy within a space and is one of the seven principles of zen alongside Fukinsei (asymmetry), Seijaku (silence), Shizen (naturalness), Koko (austerity), Datsuzoku (freedom from wordly attachments) and Yugen (subtle profundity).

The idea behind contrasting textures comes from the principle of yin and yang. This contrast is another example of bringing harmony into a space by achieving balance.

Japanese culture is saturated in a love and respect for nature. The best way to maintain a strong connection with the natural world, is to bring nature indoors.

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Another key element of these screens is that, unlike doors, they do not block the natural light and views of nature. Replacing a large expanse of wall with a glass-panelled sliding door could be a great way to incorporate this style into your own home.

If you’re looking to freshen up your home and inject it with some positive energy then you might want to explore the tenets of kanso – a Japanese interior design concept that’s all about minimalism.

One of the best ways to harmonize with nature is to add natural wooden elements into your home. Japanese culture is known for using wooden elements throughout their homes.

But, of course, there is an exception to every rule and in this case it’s the color red. In Japanese culture, red is associated with life, energy, and vitality, so you will often see red hues incorporated throughout a design scheme. Choose red as your accent color and use it to draw attention to the design elements you love most. Try a rich set of couch cushions or a wall hanging that highlights red shades.

There are lots of ways to achieve this contrast. Think about pairing a wooden table with metal chairs in your dining space, placing woven maps on top of highly-polished wooden floors, or arranging small pebbles inside of a glass vase on your coffee table.

Where Japanese furniture is concerned, simplicity is key. There are no overstuffed sofas or ornate dining chairs here. Instead, when it comes to furniture, focus on sleek looks that put function in the forefront.

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As you can probably already tell, Japanese design is clean and minimalist. Clutter is not contained in these homes. As we discussed above, sometimes there isn’t even much furniture in an authentic Japanese home.

As you notice in the image below, the entryway has a shelf or cabinet called a getabako that is used for storing shoes (tips of the shoes are usually placed pointing outwards, unlike the image below). As you will also notice, the entry is simple in design with wooden elements and a lot of natural lighting.

The sliding doors are a great Japanese design solution. Image Source: Out to See

Japanese style evolves around clean and uncluttered living, holding tightly to balance, order, ancient customs and a love for natural beauty.

Stick to neutral shades with pops of natural color. Image Via: Highshots Photography

In keeping with the natural beauty of the outside world, Japanese homes typically contain simple colors from nature. Predominant colors are derived from the browns of wooden elements, and the greens of plants. Flooring is either wood or grey stone tile, and most walls are replaced with screens that are covered in opaque paper.

“To me kanso is an aesthetic”, explains meditation instructor David Riley.

Stone tile flooring is also popular in these homes, especially the entryways. In order to mimic this design, we suggest  copying the clean, simple lines of Japanese design. Keeping your entryway uncluttered may be the biggest challenge (especially for North American homeowners who tend to house some clutter in their entry’s such as mail, shoes etc..).

One word sums it up : Zen.  Yes, peaceful simplicity surrounds the modest designs of Japanese culture. Thousands of years steeped in tradition have influenced Japan’s architecture and interior design aesthetic, resulting in a serene and very cultural interior design.

If we had to name the most important concept in Japanese design, there would be no contest. It would be an effective use negative space. The Japanese have a concept called “Ma”, the practice of leaving gaps between compositional elements. These gaps are essential to creating harmony and consciousness of place.

When one understands the ancient tea ceremonies and lifestyles of the Japanese— the culture immediately becomes very endearing and worth replicating in our everyday lives. If for any other reason, let’s mimic Japanese style in order to bring a little bit of their well-honed Zen into our own lifestyles. Couldn’t we all use a little bit of peace and harmony in our homes?

Less is more when it comes to furnishings. Image Via: Design Nehez

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This is a gorgeous Japanese-inspired bedroom. Image Source: WB Homes

How can you achieve this design aesthetic and still have a home full of furniture and modern comforts? The trick is to keep your design simple and uncluttered. Most modern design aficionado’s will find this style easy to replicate.

Essentially, the texture of wood can be seen everywhere in a Japanese home. Try bringing these natural wooden elements into your home by adding a bamboo floor, or wooden screen. You will love the serene calming effect that clean-lined wood elements can add to your home.

“Zen has no institutions, no bishops, no popes, and no dogma.”

Heavy draperies are also a big no, no. All they do is block this natural light. Try keeping your windows clear of any obstruction, but if this is not possible, then opt for a simple bamboo shade or sheer, gauzy curtain panels.  Natural light — what a bright way to light up your home!

As mentioned above, open space and minimalist design principles reign in Japanese design. So let’s look at another way this design aesthetic is achieved — Natural Lighting.

Due to the high cost of housing, Japanese homes tend to be small and a lot of residents rent apartments, so conserving every square inch of space is essential. Unlike doors, these Shoji’s slide back and forth, saving space that a swinging door would take up.

Once you have your focal point, arrangement is key. Japanese interiors thrive off of symmetry and balance. Focus on creating mirror images when putting your furniture in place.

So, how do you achieve negative space that looks both pretty and purposeful?

This is a perfect Japanese tea room. Image Source: Konnitanaka

The serene sounds of water bubbling will fill your meditative ears and immediately have a calming effect. Just like plants, elements of water are imperative in the Japanese home.

In addition to the look of the furniture, if you want to fully embrace Japanese style, you should also consider size. More specifically, you need to focus on the height of the pieces you choose. Japanese homes often feature tabletops – especially dining tables – that sit lower to the ground. 

The Japanese aesthetic is designed to eliminate clutter from your home and, instead of thinking in terms of decoration, rid your space of the non-essential.

Turn your bathroom into an enlightened escape by adding one of these soaking-style tubs. It is the ultimate way to have East meet West, and create a spa-like environment in your home.

If you want to go the extra step in bringing Zen to your interiors, you could always incorporate a little Feng Shui. Make sure your home is free of clutter and that your entryway looks inviting. Let in as much natural light as possible. Be sure to arrange seating areas so no one’s back faces the door.

As you shop for furniture, concentrate on finding pieces that appear minimalist. Ideally you should search for designs that feature straight lines and clean corners. Opt for furnishings made of natural materials whenever possible.

Natural light abundantly fills these homes, bringing with it serene views and colors of nature.  What could be a better way to light up your home? Large, expansive windows and ceiling openings such as skylights, are the perfect way to add this bright design into your own home.

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In order to achieve this style,  mimic its clean, simple and minimalist design throughout all the rooms in your home. Add to your home: natural wood elements, simple greenery, natural lighting, modern furnishings, water features, a deep soaking tub, plush floor cushions, sliding doors or screens, a room for mediating and plenty of colors derived from nature.

This wooden bath house would fit perfectly into any Japanese home. Image Source: Right Arm Construction

There is always a place to store shoes in a Japanese entryway. Image Source: CCS Architecture

We all lead hectic lives. It’s no surprise that after working all day and schlepping the kids to activities, we want come home to something a little calmer. The easiest way to do that is by simplifying our interiors.

All of these small pieces pull your home together into a rich Japanese interior design that speaks to its culture and love of nature.

The bamboo ladder in this bathroom is a nice nod to Japanese design. Image Source: Custom Made

Where Japanese interiors are concerned, serenity is paramount. Image Via: Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

Japanese interiors embrace the art of minimalism. Image Via: Balodemas Architects

Also, don’t forget to add plenty of green through natural houseplants. Simplicity is key when choosing your color palette. Look outside your windows to see what natural color elements you can incorporate in your home today.

While a lot of authentic Japanese homes do not segregate furniture-filled rooms for certain purposes such as sitting room or TV room, we can still mimic Japanese simplicity into our sectioned-off homes.

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When it comes time to pick secondary colors, all you have to do is look out the window. Japanese interiors take inspiration from nature. You’ll want to focus on rich browns, leafy greens, and stone grays. When choosing shades, pick a muted tone over one that especially bold.

Since Japanese interior design has this tranquil decorating touch perfected, let’s look at 10 ways to add some of this becalming style into your home today. You may want to visit 30 Of The Most Ingenious Japanese Home Designs, as well.

Furniture should be modern, clean-lined and made of natural wood. Lighting should be angular and modern (as seen in the kitchen below). Or lighting could mimic an authentic Japanese lantern style, as well. Overall, look to modern living designs to replicate this clean, simple style. Everything should have a purpose and a place — nothing is out of order or lacking function. Studying the art of Feng Shui may also help you design your minimalist interior.

Like western style interiors, many Japanese-inspired rooms adhere to the 60-30-10 Rule when it comes to color. (For those unfamiliar, this principle dictates that 60% of an interior should feature a neutral shade, 30% should focus on a secondary color, and the final 10% should be a brighter accent color.)

Japanese homes also bring nature inside through large, expansive windows that allow a view of nature from every angle. Like this bedroom, featured below, the large sliding glass door brings serene, natural views indoors. Open up your home to the wonders of nature today.

While you may not have grown up surrounded by the ancient Japanese culture, you can still fall in love with its very peaceful design aesthetic that is deeply rooted in history.

Folks looking to bring more simplicity into their homes should look toward Japanese interior design for inspiration. With a strong focus on clean lines and negative space, Asian-inspired interiors are almost as calm as it gets.

8) Open Space and Natural Lighting Are Key In Japanese Design

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