Japan, land of the rising sun. Known by all thanks to samurais, sushi, anime culture, origami, technology and its modern cities. Sometimes very unnoticed in the matter of decoration, very few know Japanese design within traditional homes.
And since as a society they are very tight. Hence the reason very few people have got the chance to see a traditional Japanese house in order to think how we could take their designs into our homes.
But do not worry; here at Decorating Visita Casas we will give you the best advice not only at design level, but also functionality, concept and price.
Traditional Japanese Decoration
First of all I must say that some Japanese furniture can be really expensive here in the West because of shipping and of course marketing.
What is common and easily found on every corner for Japanese people for us turns out to be an imported product which translates into something more expensive.
But although that will not prevent me from naming all the furniture for you, it does imply something very relevant; the decorating tips that I am going to give you will include various accessories that will make your home have a Japanese design in the decoration; Not a 100% Japanese, but at least you will not spend all your money on a table.
Key Lounges of Traditional Japanese Design
The Japanese style is based on the simplicity of its forms and using the essentials.
It does not need much decoration to achieve it; it only requires a clean and ample environment in sight. So it can also be said that it is a minimalist style.
The points to take into consideration to achieve then are the following:
It is the area where shoes are left and connects with the main entrance of the house.
Japanese people in Genkan, and in general many cultures of Asia, keep several pairs of slippers, not only theirs but also the guests’. In addition Genkan is decorated most of the time with a small piece of furniture that can have one or two drawers.
A welcome with a plant, a family photo, a place to leave shoes and some slippers is the typical Japanese Genkan.
It is a raised space with tatami (mat) floor where the paintings are hung and the bonsai trees are maintained. Pictures of the deceased family members, the house motto or the family motto are usually displayed here vertically.
It is the traditional Japanese hot water bath. Something very important to keep in mind is that the depth of this bath, and in general the rest of its dimensions; is much wider than a bathtub.
The Japanese have something known as water culture. Water as a source of life and as a source to cure all physical and spiritual ills.
If you want to give your home a real Japanese touch, you could make the biggest expense in remodeling by dedicating to the bathroom the realization of an Ofuro.
Surely the most difficult to achieve in our traditional Western houses, as it is the corridor that connects to the windows and sliding doors in the rooms.
The essentials in the traditional Japanese house
Already named the different areas of interest that by taking out most of the furniture that we have, we could emulate such areas perfectly. Let’s talk now about those little things that end up making a traditional Japanese house what it really is.
This straw covering that goes on the floor has been used for many generations to practice the most prestigious martial arts. Although for us it becomes the carpet; it is the intrinsic meaning in tradition that makes it so distinctive, so unique.
If you have small children I recommend using a tatami instead of the typical rug. It iss an excellent space to play with them and integrates very beautifully to the floor and furniture.
It refers to all the doors that are in the traditional Japanese design. As you know, the doors they use in their houses are sliding as well as sliding windows. Among them we can mentiong: Shoji, Toshoji and Musuma.
It is the typical work of art in calligraphy that hangs in the Tokonoma, although it can also be in another place of the house. A Taquemono is one of those economic things that will give your home a touch of Japanese design.
It is a wind chime made of metal, glass or ceramics, and it is usually placed on the doors or windows to measure the direction and strength of the wind.
One of the most unique features of the Japanese style is the absence of a bed. While we believe in the beauty of a large bed and in taking advantage of the dead spaces under the bed implementing drawers. Japanese people just do not use it.
They have long known the benefits of sleeping on the floor. The back and in general the experience itself benefits from many more features compared to the long term cons that always come with sleeping on a mattress over a bed.
Plus the space you save in the room is impressing. One or more futons can cover the entire floor of the room at night to sleep and during the day the space is totally free for any activity that you want to perform.
Dining Table Ground Level
There are many reasons why the Japanese sit on the tatami to eat, talk, watch TV or celebrate the tea ceremony. So let’s first analyze the darkest and oldest of them all. The Mongols.
During their period of conquest it was the Mongols who made the concept of a chair standard, just because the Mongols did not conquer Japan is the only reason that for them has never been a rule of etiquette.
If history had been different, who knows what other unusual custom we would have?
In addition, the Japanese used the posture of the Seiza (which is the most educated way to sit) to hold meetings of extreme etiquette around a meal or tea ceremony.
In this position at ground level everyone showed to be equal. And they also assured through this custom the fact they would not stand up and run away from a difficult situation. They demonstrated total care during meals and tea ceremonies through this posture.
Another detail about Seiza is that it is a very difficult position to react aggressively, for that reason the samurai were trained in seiza position many times to be prepared, whether to defend or attack.
The tatami is a very noble surface, heavy or crawling furniture is not allowed, only lightweight furniture and; As it is so comfortable, everything fits at ground level.
Decorating without spending much
From the least to the most in terms of expenses, you could start by changing the concept of your lampshades to an oriental style.
The white spherical origami paper shades are a very beautiful Japanese tradition. They not only add simplicity to the overall decoration but everything will be visually cleaner and clearer.
Then you can go for furin, a taquemono made by yourself and remember; if you sell your bed, your dining set and even the doors; you will have enough money to make an extension in your bathroom.
Separate the rooms of the house using a Toshoji and, although you can provisionally preserve your coffee table; Get rid of all the heavy furniture to include a tatami.
Do not forget plants, good natural lighting and, above all; enjoy your new home. Live this culture to the fullest; believe me, it’s hard to get used to Seiza sitting stance.