When people think of minimalism in interior design, they usually associate it with Japanese aesthetics. This type of design has been gaining momentum over the past few years, with more people wanting to live in calming minimalist spaces.
The Japanese aesthetic of interior design is more than just having fewer things or a traditional-looking space. It embodies the concept of minimalism in maximizing everything while incorporating aspects of nature into an area like the living room. It allows a good flow of natural light into a room, making it more spacious and provides a soothing atmosphere.
Although there's no denying that the Japanese style is pleasing to the eyes, the materials being used, such as tatami mats, can be expensive. And maintaining them might be cumbersome. It's also a challenge for some people to get used to if they're not accustomed to practices like taking off shoes. Despite all that, if you're looking to get some inspiration for Japanese-styled living rooms, we've got you covered with these beautiful ideas that can bring Zen into your home.
1. Keep It Down To Earth
Japanese aesthetics are about connecting people with nature. If you're looking to create a Japanese-styled living room, have simple earth tones like brown and gray in the space. You can also play with other natural colors like green as an accent color to liven up the room. Having a small bonsai tree would add to the ambiance.
Take, for example, this simple room above. While it predominantly has earthy neutral colors in the space, the color of the flora and fauna becomes the accents that makes the place more inviting and peaceful.
2. Use Wood And Other Materials
Materials like wood bring the living room closer to the natural aesthetic if you want a Japanese-styled space. Examples of this would be wooden shoji or sliding doors, lamp stands, and the legs of a couch. Not only does it add to the vibe of your room being in nature, but it also adds warmth to the whole area.
As you can see here, it's a simple modern Japanese-styled living room. Note how the designer made use of wood to tie together the room's theme. Not only do the shelf and the legs of the furniture have a wood design, but the lights also have wood incorporated into their design.
3. Place Tatami Mats
Are you looking to go for an all-out traditional Japanese room? If so, don't forget to put in tatami mats. These floor mats are used in Japanese households to regulate humidity and temperature, especially during summer and winter. The mats also add to the comfort level in the living room if your guests are sitting on the floor and drinking tea.
Here is a quintessential Japanese living room with tatami flooring. The mat makes sitting down on the floor much more comfortable than just having a hard floor. Tatami mats are on the pricey side, but they are durable. Just make sure to not wipe the mats with a wet cloth as they can hold on to moisture. And take your shoes off first to avoid ruining them.
4. Add Cushions For Sitting
If you're planning to have that experience of sitting on the floor, you'll have to add a zabuton or a cushion to sit upon. This type of pillow is designed for making sitting on a tatami floor comfortable for long periods. Adding these pillows also acts as furniture that accentuate your Japanese-inspired room.
These pillows are thick and seem firmer than your usual throw pillow, as they should help support your feet when sitting down on them. Apart from its functionality, the lime green colors of the cushions against the earth tones of the room are distinct, giving a fresh look to the living area.
5. Lowered Furniture
Speaking of sitting on the floor, you'll want to have low coffee tables so you can sip your tea comfortably while you're on the floor. Sitting there also cultivates closeness amongst people and helps them relax, but it might be hard for some people to do this easily. Couches and low chairs are good alternatives to this.
A popular addition in Japanese homes is the kotatsu or a low table that has a colorful futon or blanket. This low table is a perfect addition during colder seasons, and it has a heater. It adds an extra element of coziness to the living room too, making it notoriously known to lull anyone into a cozy nap.
6. Let Natural Light In
Whether it's through large windows or a sliding door to the outside, your living room must have access to natural light to brighten up the space. This is an important element of Japanese aesthetics as it helps make the room more spacious. If your living room can have immediate access to a veranda or an outdoor garden, all the better.
In this photo, you can see that the designer used large windows to add light to the room. Although it's just a simple living room with a couch and a small coffee table on the side, the abundance of natural light via the windows highlights all of the things within the area.
7. Divide With Sliding Doors
A typical Japanese home has sliding doors. If you're planning to add a sliding door, take note that it's also acting as a doorway to another part of your house that may not have the same theme as your living room. That being said, you can modernize the sliding doors with opaque glass or other material that would make sense for the rest of your home.
In this photo, you'll see that the sliding doors' opacity in this small living room allows light from the garden outside to flood in. And since these also act as a doorway to the garden, this allows the inhabitants to have a choice of keeping the door opened to bring the nature aspect closer indoors.
8. Light Up With Lanterns
Lanterns can come in different styles. Having this light up your living room is a great way to add that Japanese style to the room. Rather than having a direct lightbulb, a lantern can soften the light and make the room glow. There are traditional lanterns that you can put in your living room, but there are modern designs available on the market if you want a contemporary touch.
One example of a modern lantern is in this photo above, wherein the designer put a cascading, circular lantern. Its size is a part of the design of the room and can lend itself as a talking point for any guest that comes in.
9. Accentuate With Dark Colors
A Japanese-styled living room can be thought of as traditional, but you can modernize it and still make it look classy by using dark colors as accents. Colors like dark brown or black can add depth to the room and make it have more character.
One way to use dark colors is through furniture, like tables, or the frame of the living room's window, which is how this room is designed. Introducing these dark colors also adds to the elegance of the room.
10. Show Japanese-Inspired Art
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When putting art in your Japanese-styled living room, you should consider minimal or Japanese-inspired art. This can vary from paintings inspired by nature to calligraphy. The artwork can help add to your living room's theme as well.
There are different ways to put art in your space, and that doesn't only include hanging up a framed painting. You can also incorporate artwork on the sliding doors or show off a scroll to add a Japanese feel.
11. Go With Circular Designs
To tie in the Zen feel, add a window or wall shelf with a circular design. The Zen circle or Enso symbolizes togetherness, and where better to put it than in the living room where everyone gets together.
This photo shows how the designer modernizes the concept of the circle by creating a wall shelf with differentiating heights per section. Since it's a big shelf, there's no need to put more things on the wall too. This maintains the harmony of the whole room and keeps the area spacious.
There are many ways to have a beautiful Japanese-style living room. You can make it as traditional or modern as you want it to be. Remember that details like light and using materials that are earth-themed is the way to achieve that Zen aesthetic for your living room.
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