The Japanese interior decorating entered the West during the mid 19th century when trade opened up between the West and the East part of the world.

Although it was known to the West during the 16th century, the Japanese style wasn’t widely accepted at that time. The Japanese design represents one of the key influences on minimalism and sets forth principles for creating a “zen” interior.

The key to the Japanese interior design concept is known as “Ma”. This concept aims at a balance between the available space that can be used on one side, and furniture and other objects, on the other side.

Ma is used to keep spaces clear and uncluttered, to help create a special and calm home for both the inhabitants and visitors, main principles of Japanese interiors.

A Brief Look At Japanese Interior Design

The Japanese designs are all about zen. Zen comes from the school of Mahayana Buddhism and emphasizes the value of meditation and intuition. The Japanese styled rooms encourage a peaceful simplicity surrounding the modest designs of the Japanese culture.

The Japanese style house is the result of thousands of years of Japanese architecture and interior design resulting in a clean and uncluttered style of living. The Japanese decor embraces balance, order, ancient customs and love for natural beauty.

If one looks at the ancient tea ceremonies and lifestyle of the Japanese culture there is an endearing quality to it that makes it worth replicating. The modern Japanese house interior can be used to bring zen to any home and daily life.

After all, we can all use peace and harmony in our homes and lives. It’s the simplicity of the Japanese style homes which appeals across many cultures and borders. It can be beautiful to see the inspiration of Ma in the homes where it first blossomed.

Add Elements of Nature

The Japanese culture shares a lot of love and respect for nature. It’s felt that the best way to maintain a connection with the natural world is by bringing nature to the home. Adding a traditional Japanese’s plant, such as bonsai and bamboo can help achieve a Japanese room feel.

You can use any deep green plant though to achieve a similar effect. For instance, you may consider palm or orchid. However, flowers are not typical in the Japanese style room and home to keep it simple, natural and green.

Consider Adding a Soaking Tub

A soaking tub is a small deep tub that usually has a small bench seat. Many of the health-conscious individuals in the East are seeking them out. Water elements are very important for the interior design and Japanese houses designs. Water sounds such as those from small indoor fountains encourage meditation and help to calm down from everyday stress. The word Ofuro translates as a bath in English. It’s a tranquil tradition that could benefit those of us in the West, integrating this element into the Japanese apartment design.

Sliding Doors and Screens

Due to the high cost of homes and scarcity of space in Japan, they tend to be small by Western standards. It also means that many people rent apartments instead of buying a home. It’s due to these factors that the Shoju is so important in Japanese house interior. A Shoji is an authentic Japanese screen. Unlike doors, the shoji slides back and forth saving space that would be taken up by the swinging door.

Wood and Bamboo Elements

The Japanese culture is known for the use of wood throughout their homes. Many items such as walls, doors, screen grids, and frames are commonly made from wood. If you would like to try to incorporate wood into your Japanese home decor, some of the most common woods in the Western world are maple, cypress, hemlock and red pine. Bamboo is also popular both in the east and west. It’s perfect for Japanese decorations as seen in the image below.

The Japanese Entryway

In Japanese and entryway is called a genkan. This entry space is the area where visitors are greeted. It’s also where shoes are removed, and indoor slippers put on. It would be interesting to try to create such a space when planning a Japanese style home.

Japanese Decor

The biggest addition to most Japanese homes would be the shoji or some version of it. The pictures above give some idea of the styles used. These screens are used to separate living zones or to conceal an area, such as the Japanese bedroom. They can be found painted or plain depending on what you like, but they can also be stationary or flexible. Look around and see what works best for you and your Japanese living room settings.


If trying to achieve a zen feeling you should choose for the Japanese home design colors from a neutral palette. Look around for colors in nature and choose soft and muted tones. Chocolate, moss green, and black are all perfect for focus walls which may outline the space and create special corners.


The best advice that I can give in this respect is to try and use a mid- to low light level. Bright lights are often seen as a trigger to work and do not allow relaxation. The lower lighting levels will also give your home an authentic Japanese design feel.

If possible, lights should be concealed or diffused. This type of soft lighting helps create a soft and calming atmosphere to your home and embellish the simple Japanese furniture design.


In the West, your best available option will be timber or bamboo collections. The Japanese use tatami mats. If you want the feel of a traditional Japanese house interior, you can use a few of them for a more authentic look.

Give Your Home a Taste Of the Japanese Style Interior Design

You don’t have to grow up in a traditional Japanese home to love it for its peaceful designs that are rooted in an ancient culture. You can achieve this Japanese interior decorating style to mimic its clean, simple and minimalist design throughout your home.

Just add natural wood elements, simple greenery, soft natural lighting, some modern furniture, water elements, a soaking tub, plush floor coverings, screens to create your meditation space. The colors of the Japanese interior should all be derived from nature. Adding all of these small changes can give your home a rich Japanese room decor speaking about traditional culture and a love of nature.

Do you think you would like this design for your home? What would you add to achieve it? I hope these Japanese decorating tips have helped.

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