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10 Tips on Japanese interior design



If you are one of those who like Japanese manga and anime and the rising sun culture in general; you will surely agree with me that the Japanese style interior design is great.

But today it is not just us who think about it.

Japanese interior design has become a trend in all households, from famous people to the girl ofthe next door, everyone has it or want it.

If you want to learn a little more of everything about what this decorative style implies; then you came to the right article!

So be prepare to be amazed!

The Keys to Japanese Interior Design

The Japanese decoration looks for three very important aspects for the development of the human being: habitability, sustainability and humility.

The most ironic of all this is; that the houses that maintain this decorative concept increase their value in the market.

It is not just reduced the quantity of furniture and eat sitting on the floor; creating the right culture atmosphere can be a challenge that many fail to overcome.

We ourselves at Decorating Visita Casas have gone through complex situations in redesigning tone area of a house, however; these adversities have made us grow as decorators in this Japanese matter.

Therefore, I want to start with something very basic before I speak seriously about the most complex Japanese decorative arts; and those that more visual impact cause in the atmosphere of the place.

The Colors

Black and White are very often used in Asia, and they are very importants to them.

Although in Western culture these colors are not add to their interior desing because, according to the chromatic circle; they are values and not colors.

It is said in art that black is the mixture of all colors and therefore denotes perfect integration; while white is the absence of all color, and represents the uncorrupted spirit.

Black is used in a distinctive way by defining geometric, structural alignment and shapes.

White, on the other hand; is widely used as a malleable base when we talk about a large area;

or as a symbol of purity if we take it to something very small. The natural lighting in the Japanese decoration has more value than the artificial, therefore; to highlight the works of art people, usually use white.

In fact, the main reason that the Geishas paint their face in white is to highlight their facial expressions even in the dim light.

So, you can go giving up the pastels or grays in the vases or pieces of decorative ceramics.

It is imperative to resist the need to accentuate the decoration in multiple colors; in reality these statements are made using the color black. Color overload a piece, so be it with the primary colors; is actually a Western trend that should be avoided.

While we use 3 colors for decoration, you will notice that the Japanese use only two; but with bright colors or another color other than white or black, stand out a particular piece of art.

It respects the singularity of each element that, integrated with a minimalist design; ends up functioning in perfect harmony without losing and without stealing the protagonism.

Designing an Organic Decoration

If you thought that Japanese decor and interior design came pre-made everything (with Made in China label)

Fortunately, you are wrong!

There is a Japanese decorative art with flowers and it is called Ikebana.

Ikebana means “living and settled flower” and the rest of civilizations; the Japanese have also used flowers to dignify all important events in their lives throughout the generations.

Nevertheless, its rules for making the flower arrangements show a different aesthetic to the Western that, correctly integrated to a design of Japanese decoration; will give your home that authentic atmosphere that you desire.

When you realize an ikebana, you will notice how it is more than a simple flower arrangement, it is a way of living and being not only in contact

but in communication with nature.

The decorative motifs not only incorporate flowers, also branches, fruits, leaves and seeds.

That is why it is not only a decorative focal point, it is also a center of meditation and personal growth as well; it’s variety of components are tied to the seasons and cycles of life.

Ikebana has its origins in the Japanese religion; It is only a little over 100 years ago that it has been exported to decorative art for everyone to know.

All of its components should be organic or hand-drawn and consists of three elements: Heaven, earth and man.

So if you want to print to your Japanese decor something more than generic and disciplined pieces; you can then not only have a ZEN garden but also an Ikebana.

The Japanese and the Danshari in the decoration

The reason for the Japanese decoration is the Danshari. It refers to leaving out of the home any economic disorder, any emotional imbalance and any spiritual disturbance.

The humble decorations of the Japanese but at the same time so personal, is because they do not build in “mass”. They have always tried to diminish the environmental impact that the violent growth of its population would supposed to them if they used the western method.

In fact, Japan is ecologically sustainable because they use elements of nature easy to grow such as bamboo. In this sense, even if a house is very small, it will always have enough ventilation, natural lighting and organic elements.

With that in mind you should then, rethink your decoration and really analyze what components of the “Japanese shop” are really elements of sustainable decoration.

Remember that there is always people only want to make money; however, the Japanese have managed to recover their country after the nuclear attacks thanks to discipline, not to greed.

Do not forget the GENKAN


When redesigning your house to emulate the Japanese style; getting rid of the big furniture can become very complicated

You could donate them, but it is always better to sell them to be able to acquire with that money the new pieces of decoration.

However, something that you can do and that is what determines if a house follows the Japanese culture or is not it’s the Genkan.


The shoes are left at the entrance of the house in a closet, shelf or simply on the floor; but never go inside the house with them.

A table for the entrance of the house with enough compartments for the shoes, decorated on the top with Japanese accessories and you have already created the necessary aura.

And of course do not forget have enough slippers for you and the guests that you can get.

The Tatami is very important

If there is something that does not require much remodeling and that you can easily include it, it is a Tatami.

If you are going to educate your body to be able to make a noble transition from western to Japanese decoration; remember that you must practice the different positions to be on the floor comfortably.

The japaneses have not iron knees. Although they are accustomed to eating, meet to talk and sleep on the floor; they use tatamis to create a soft and protective layer, thus avoiding injuring themselves.

In addition, traditional tatamis are made of straw; but today it is made with stretched polyethylene, so you should not import it from Japan to be able to have a traditional floor.

Gradually see the furniture and remember this:

If you find it difficult to get rid of your big furniture, enjoy it!

In Japan, to dispose of large furniture you have to pay.  That is another reason why they keep everything simplified; but always in a way that is comfortable as well as humble.

Ideas that you can use for your Japanese decoration

You can also add fabric patterns especially on the pillows that you may use or place on the walls as decorations. You can have Japanese embroidery, brocade, Kasuri or metallic weave are just some of the decorative that you can use.

This artwork may give you the flowers, patchwork designs that you may use and other patterns that are brightly colored. Then give attention to your windows. You can have window treatments to give it a Japanese look. You can mimic a look of the shoji screens in your window by making use of the rice paper window shades which you can place under cornice boards that may be covered by black and gold fabric.

Then choose the furniture that you would be using. In most Japanese homes they make use of the tatami mats instead of sitting on the floor or chairs. But for those who wanted to have added comfort you can sit on pillows. You may not need the Japanese kokatsu table instead you can use low tables by shortening its legs or purchase a hibachi table if you are planning to use it for long term.

Then to complete your Japanese dining area, have the tableware match your theme. These are some ideas that you can use for your Japanese inspired dining room. You may use the real things that the Japanese people use for their dining, but with this preparation, you can have the feel of eating in a Japanese environment.

A Japanese Touch in the Home

  1. Redecorating your house is one of the most enjoyable things that you can do. If you want to have a feel of Japan in your home, then you can add a touch of it in your interior decorating style. Here are some things that you need to consider to give your home that Japanese feel and you can even do it yourself; you do not even have to hire an interior decorator to do it for you.

    The first thing that you can do is decide how much you will spend for the Japanese interior decoration and stick with the budget that you have.
  2. Plan out the colors that you will be using. Remember that Japanese interiors usually use neutral colors for a simple background. These are the colors of the Eastern art because it represents the simplicity; these colors would minimize the clutter feeling that is very essential in the designs of the Japanese and in the Eastern designs.
    Japanese interior decorating style

    The next thing that you need to consider is the texture and the type of material that Japanese use. These materials may be cedar, rice paper, bamboo and stone to mention a few. The Japanese culture also balances everything in all the aspects of their lives and the interior decoration is included. Here are some examples: if you use a highly polished bamboo floor, you may need to match it with mats that are heavily textured or you can place white pebbles on top of the black granite ledge that is around the tub; or you can display a box that is lacquered on top of a rough table.
  3. Clutter is not a part of the Japanese decorations and so you need to take away all the decorations that fill in your space. Always consider the pillars of the Japanese decoration; which is peacefulness and balance. So never over-decorate when you want to have a Japanese-styled interior decoration.
  4. Always bear in mind that the Eastern interiors that include a Japanese style have a central object as its focus and it may be a garden, an altar or an irori (hearth). Thus, you can place an orchid or a small fountain as one of your decorations. With nature in your decorations, this would give you the serenity; an element that is vital to the Japanese inspired design.

    Natural light is also an important part of the Japanese design; thus, the use of rice paper as screens and walls that would offer both privacy and light. If you do not want to use rice paper you can make use of light colored curtains like white or you can also choose cream color.
  5. These are just some of the ideas that you need to remember when you will be decorating a room with a Japanese style interior decoration. These are just the basic things that you need to follow to achieve the Japanese feel that you would want in your home.

Peace and balance in Japanese decorating style


Everything should be balance; everything should go and blend well in order for nature to be aligned. Selecting the materials of very strong opposing or contrasting texture and finish is not a hindrance in keeping you from your goal of achieving tranquility, order and balance. Like the Buddhist thinking of opposition, the yin and yang is an example. Always remember that you should strive for simplicity and nothing complicated. For in complex you might find other difficulty or problem unlike when you’ve done it simply.


When clutter is present, expect that you won’t find peace. The design feature of a Japanese room or multiple rooms is usually dictated by the fixation of the Japanese towards simplicity and the approach to Japanese interior design. The placement of furniture and display follows rules prescribed or advised of fluidity. A Japanese room to be decorated usually has tendencies to arrange on the perimeter, creating traffic patterns across the center.

Contrast to that, the Japanese interior design establishes a focal point on the center with little flow and physical movement on the perimeter. Remember that quality is the key to your selecting of the elements that will go about in your interior. Overloading also is one of the less priorities in Japanese interiors. If your room happens to large, it’s better to keep some open spaces.

About the Author

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I love writing about interior design. I am in love with achieving harmony at home to improve the well-being of my family. I usually write for the "Visitacasas" blog, both in Spanish and English, and personally answer the questions about home decoration of all our users.

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  1. Your interesting story would be improved and be more persuasive if you would first pass the text with an English editor.

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