Japanese Interior Design: Minimalist Sophistication

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The western world was introduced to the Japanese style of interior design during the mid-19th century when trade between the western and eastern parts of the world opened up.  Although it was known to the West during the 16th century, the style was not accepted as widely at the time. The key influence in Japanese interior design is minimalism with principles that focus on creating a “Zen” interior – a concept known as “Ma”. With this concept, the aim is to strike the perfect balance between available space that can be used on one side and furniture, etc. on the other. Ma is all about clear, uncluttered spaces that help in creating comfortable homes for the inhabitants as well as visitors.


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Japanese Interior Design and Zen

As mentioned above, the Japanese style of interior design emphasises on Zen philosophy, which originates from the school of Mahayana Buddhism and focuses on the value of meditation and intuition. Rooms with this design style come with tranquil simplicity inspired by the modest designs of Japanese culture.

The modern Japanese house is the result of centuries of perfecting the art of Japanese architecture and interior design, creating a style of living that is uncluttered and clean. Japanese interior design embraces ancient customs, balance and order, serenity, and love for natural beauty.

If you look at the ancient Japanese tea ceremonies and lifestyle, you will find that there is an endearing quality to this fascinating culture that makes it worth replicating. You can use the style of Japanese interior design to bring zen to your home as well as daily life. It is an excellent way to bring simplicity and sophistication to your interiors and create beautiful, clean spaces inspired by the concept of Ma.

Ways to Add Japanese Style to Your Interiors

When it comes to Japanese interior design, space, lines, form, and materials are a few of the essential elements that you need to consider. The style creates more space and brings harmony between the different aspects by keeping décor to a minimum. If you want to create an interior space with minimalist elegance, you should add Japanese style – you will be more than happy with the result.

Here are a few ways to add Japanese interior design style to your home.

Add Elements of Nature:

One of the most striking things about Japanese culture is the deep respect for nature. To maintain a strong connection with the natural world, a Japanese style of interior design brings nature indoors. You can add traditional Japanese plants, like bamboo and bonsai, to give your home a light touch of the culture. The secret is adding green plants, as flowers are not typical in Japanese interior décor.

You can also make nature a focal point in your interiors by installing large, expansive windows that provide a view of nature from all angles.

Open hall

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Install a Soaking Tub:

Like plants, it is important to add elements of water if you want an authentic Japanese interior design in your home. One of the things you can do is install a soaking tub. The ‘ofuro’, which translates to ‘bath’ in English, is an important part of Japanese homes. It creates a spa-like environment, transforming your bathroom into a clean, tranquil escape. The simpler the design of your soaking tub, the better. Add green plants to create an even more serene space where you can relax at the end of a hectic day.


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Add Sliding Doors and Screens:

You have probably seen sliding doors and screens in a traditional Japanese home. They are important elements of Japanese interior design due to the high cost of houses and lack of space in the country. Japanese homes tend to be small by Western standards. This is why the Shoji, a traditional Japanese screen, plays an important role in the interiors of country houses. Unlike doors, the screen slides back and forth rather than swinging, hence saving much-needed space that would be taken up by a door.


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Incorporate Wood and Bamboo Elements:

To stay true to Japanese interior design style, you should add wood elements throughout your home. The amazing Asian culture is known for using wood in doors, walls, frames and screen grids. Cypress, maple, red pine and hemlock are ideal choices if you are considering incorporating wood into your home’s décor. Bamboo is also a popular material used in traditional Japanese homes.


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Consider a Japanese-Style Entryway:

Known as a genkan, the Japanese entryway plays a major role in the interior of traditional Japanese homes. This is the place where you greet visitors as well as leave your shoes upon entering your home. Japanese entryways typically have a cabinet or shelf, called a getabako, used for storing shoes neatly. It does away with clutter and keeps the entryway neat and clean. If you want the style of Japanese interior design in your home, you should consider a genkan.

Dominate with White:

To get the traditional Japanese-style home on point, use white for your walls, furniture and other elements. Japanese design gives much importance to open space and minimalist design principles, and white is the perfect colour to complement these principles. You can also go for neutral colours. These colours not only make rooms look more spacious but also work well with natural lighting another important principle in Japanese interior design. Natural light brings all the elements you use to create the clean, tranquil space you want in your home.  


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Simple touches can help you create the clean, tranquil interiors that Japanese homes are famous for. Japanese interior design is all about keeping things simple and minimal and making sure that all of the elements are perfectly balanced. Create a Zen atmosphere in your home and enjoy the serene and sophisticated look and feel of a minimalist style of design and décor.

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