Timeless Principles of the Japanese Interior Design Aesthetic
Rooted in simplicity and a firm link to nature, Japanese interior design has a peaceful, serene feel that is gaining in popularity nationwide. Here are the seven main principles to know.
Ultimately, Japanese design is trying to find harmony. Through clean lines, minimal styling, a neutral palette, and rough textures — all based in nature and simplicity — harmony is found through complementary pairings.
Simplicity cannot be overstated. Japanese interiors are purposely less decorative and encourage the removal of distracting elements. In other words: Less truly is more.
1. Include Natural Textures & Materials
For those after the tranquility provided by Japanese spaces, try choosing a limited range of natural elements, including stone, wood, and glass. Because the use of color is traditionally subdued, wood plays a particularly important role. For best effect, consider using a wood that is light and bright with less redness, like white oak or birch. Floors and ceilings are commonly covered in wood boards.
2. Adopt a Neutral Color Scheme
Traditional Japanese interiors typically feature plaster in a white or light beige tone. When color is present, it is nature inspired and frequently shows a delicate gradation. For instance, using an imperfect shade of white, like one with a bit of brown.
3. Blend the Interior and Exterior
Most have heard the phrase ‘bring the outdoors inside’ in reference to interior design. Japanese architecture is especially known for its uniting of interior and exterior spaces. For example, adding full-length windows and sliding doors to reveal an outdoor garden and allow fresh air to get inside. Garden views are an important part of Japanese design and in essence are treated as living art.
4. Minimize Visual ‘Noise’
The word ‘noise’ applies to other things than sound, and today’s world is filled with noisy things. From billboards and lights to social media and constant notifications, our heads are full of noise. In Japanese design, it’s important to minimize noise, especially visual noise, and encourage serenity. Free yourself up by making things simple, organized and tidy.
5. Display Decor With Intention
In Japan, any decorative items are placed with thought and intention. The Japanese do not typically hang paintings and decorations on the walls, other than between the alcove, which is reserved for a traditional hanging scroll and ikebana flowers. To bring this philosophy into your home, try to keep your wall decor sparse except for the occasional unique piece. Consider installing an art panel or a symbolic single flower insert on an empty wall. Decorating with the work of a favorite artist is a way to symbolically enrich your lifestyle.
6. Embrace Simplicity
When planning for a room’s furnishings, like tables, chairs, and accessories, stick to the same rules that you used for the color scheme and materials to keep everything in harmony. Choose natural materials, preferably light wood finishes, and stay minimal in keeping with the clean-lined aesthetic. Your goal is visual harmony, and with similar textures and tones working together, you will reach it.
7. Showcase WASHI Paper
Decor with WASHI paper created by master craftsmen is a Japanese classic that will bring a warm glow to bedrooms. The material has a relaxing texture that encourages rest, particularly when paired with natural wood, clean white bedding, and lanterns. The paper can be added to walls and doors alike. The Japanese consider doors with WASHI to be art pieces. They are naturally enmeshed into the architecture while simultaneously maintaining the preferred simplified aesthetic.