What it is: Japanese interior decorating is rooted in traditions that have been around for millennia. Guided by a longstanding canon of symbols and beliefs, it upholds the ideals of harmony, balance and order, and puts a high value on the beauty of the natural world.
Why it works: Japanese style conveys a sense of purity and integrity that’s like a balm to our frazzled lives. It’s ever so slightly exotic and mysterious, yet comforting at precisely the exact same time.
You will enjoy it if… You would rather have a plate of soba noodles than a bowl of fettuccine. Your shampoo smells like cherry flowers. You rely on the sound of trickling water to soothe you to sleep. Your choice for movie night is Lost in Translation — again. You have exchanged your hefty German cleavers for lightweight santoku knives.
Mark Brand Architecture
Style Secret: Serenity
If there’s one phrase which sums up Japanese style, it’s Zen — a Japanese sect focused on meditation. Interiors which reflect this influence whisper of contemplation, balance, peace. Lines are simple, vistas unobstructed, light abundant and the general feel calm.
East meets West: Even if the bones of the area aren’t rigorously Japanese, you can approximate the look by peeling down. Strip your distance to the essentials: Pack away clutter, undress walls, get rid of superfluous furnishings. Arrange what’s left in a way that keeps an open, flowing sensibility.
Tracy Murdock Allied ASID
Design Secret: Shoji Screens
Shoji screens, a conventional element of Japanese architecture, are constructed of translucent paper (or in the modern world, plastic or glass ) anchored by a grid of pure wood. Because distance in Asian homes tends to be at a premium, shoji screens frequently slide open and shut instead of swinging out.
East meets West: you’re able to translate shoji screens for all sorts of different applications: windows, kitchen cabinets, room dividers and more. The key: Do not obscure them with accessories or furniture — you’ll block the light which filters and mar their austere beauty.
Style Secret: Natural Colors
Nature has an immense influence on Japanese style, and the palette is pulled in the world around usinspired by earth, wood and stone. Use neutral, subtle colors which don’t fall at extreme ends of the spectrum. Think creamy whites instead of stark ones, espresso browns rather than dark, pale and midtone forests, and subdued greens and grays.
East meets West: If you long for a daring stroke of color in a Japanese inside, you can pull it off — carefully. Limit yourself to one or two hues, in very limited focal points, or else you risk upsetting the balance that’s so vital to Japanese layout. As an example, you might group a few sculptural red vases on a mantel or strew deep blue floor pillows in the living area.
Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture
Design Secret: Water Features
Japanese style emphasizes strong connections with nature, and water — from bubbling fountains to rushing streams — helps create a tranquil atmosphere. Whether they’re in an inside room or an exterior living space, water features bring a subtly dramatic note that can’t help but catch attention.
East meets West: A fountain isn’t the only means to bring flowing water inside. Try out a freestanding or built-in water wall, a trough which recirculates an indoor-outdoor rain shower. Or get creative and select artwork that depicts flowing waves or water — it’s the next best thing to the actual wet material.
Tracy Stone AIA
Design Secret: Plants
Introducing a touch of living greenery infuses a Japanese-style inside with energy. Pick traditional plants such as bonsai and bamboo, potted in sleek, minimalist containers made of wood, rock or another organic material. Keep the palette focused — green foliage is much more suitable than the usual bounty of colorful blooms.
East meets West: Want to venture outside classic Japanese plants? Bring in specimens which match the character’s sleek, minimalist look: horsetail, ornamental grasses and much more. Or research ikebana, the time-honored art of flower arranging (and there’s no shame in getting the gentleman pinch-hit if you’re all thumbs when it comes to floral design).
Style Secret: Rocks and Stones
There’s that link with nature again. Rocks are central to Japanese style, and they’re most commonly found in conventional rock gardens. Smooth, polished stones, such as river stones, best match the serene and fluid feel of a Japanese distance.
East meets West: By all means put in a rock garden to your landscape, but expand the use of stones to your inside also. Use them to accent tile in a bathroom, as a flooring surface or even as a wall covering.
BiglarKinyan Design Planning Inc..
Style Secret: Tatami Mats
Made of woven rushes, tatami mats would be the most bizarre Japanese floor covering, and they symbolize Japanese style in a way that few other items can. They are minimalist and sleek, helping ground the distance in calmness.
Traditionally, tatami mats have been arranged in very particular sizes and patterns according to the measurements of the area, however there’s no need to adhere to old principles — select the mat which works best for the area.
East meets West: Believe past the Ground. Hung on the wall in precisely the exact same way that you might mount a rug or quilt, tatami mats punctuate a space with quiet tone and feel. You might even use them as table runners or coverings.
Michael Fullen Design Group
Design Secret: Sculptural Lighting
Natural lighting drives Japanese style, but fixtures with clean profiles and minimalist lines stand in following the sun sets. Herea Japanese cricket lamp hangs pendant style over a floating nightstand, rather than a more conventional table lamp. You could also pick iconic fixtures which evoke the soul of Japanese decoration, such as the Nelson necklace lamp.
East meets West: Hanging paper lanterns are quintessentially Japanese, but think beyond garden parties and kids’ rooms. Lots of specialty and chain retailers (think Ikea, Crate & Barrel, West Elm) carry simple paper lamps which combine nicely with the Japanese aesthetic.
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