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Japanese Interior Design Principles

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

One of the words describing Japanese interior design the best, can be "ZEN which has thousands of years of history and memory of tradition. This ancient style, also known as “Kanso”, represents the Japanese lifestyle and culture, as well as being a style with peaceful and stylish details. This interior style, which transfers many years of experience and cultural knowledge to the space, offers us some principles that we can apply in daily life. In this article, we will explore the design principles that stand out in Japanese homes. And with the suggestions of Therapinterior design experts, we will explain how you can apply these principles in your spaces. You can easily apply this style in different functions such as home, office, trade and in all parts of the space regardless of size.



Functionality and flow


A Japanese house always feels spacious, even if the house is small. The main reason for this is the adoption of open plan use in the traditional Japanese house. This is applied to the space with the practice of "Ma", which refers to the arrangement of negative spaces or spaces. Everything in the space must have a purpose and a perfect arrangement. If we think that gathering all items in the same space will tire the mind, you can reveal the relaxing effect of creating spaces where we pause in time and space.


Tip: Do not use objects or objects on all walls in a room. If you have enough space, you can leave a wall completely blank. If you need storage areas, you can highlight one or two objects by refreshing the space with built-in cabinets. Incorporate light tones throughout the space to create the effect of as wide a space as possible, and create contrast with a few items in different tones without breaking with the natural material flow.

  • Use Sliding Doors, Screens and Dividers


Sliding doors and windows are often used to save space in Japanese homes that embrace minimalism. First of all, it was aimed to make the door design, which blocks furniture and causes space loss, more discreet and functional. Later, shoji, which includes light-permeable panels, was designed to make the space brighter. Over time, this practice evolved towards glass doors. Over time, this tradition has evolved into using sliding glass doors. This system is used on windows to save space while giving the Japanese home a modern design style.


You can easily incorporate these sliding panels into your design ideas. Use modern window designs with glass panels and bamboo curtains. Large sliding glass doors can be used indoors of the house on the balcony, backyard, etc. You can also use for You can also use sliding doors for both built-in and regular cabinets. This is an excellent way to use minimalism in your design style to adapt Japanese culture.


Natural spaces

Due to the epidemic diseases we have been experiencing recently, as we spend more time inside than ever before, our need to be in the nature is increasing, It is extremely comforting to think of our homes as a space close to nature.

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The “Shizen” philosophy is a principle that recognizes harmony between humans and nature, and describes many Japanese furniture design methods, often using bamboo and light wood. By taking this philosophy as a reference, you can use nature in your space endlessly to honor the world we live in.

  • Natural and sustainable fibers

All Japanese homes reflect the outside world and incorporate sustainable materials, often mixed with natural fibers.

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Biophilia and Love of Life One of the most common ways to integrate the outdoors into the home is to use plants. Especially when it comes to obtaining a Japanese-style space, look for plants with an oriental appearance, such as bonsai.

Oriental minimalism Japanese interior design is today considered one of the best interpretations of minimalism, thanks to its focus on “Shibui”: simple beauty, detail and love for natural materials. We can say that Japanese minimalism is completely far from abstraction. In this style, a holistic sense of space is created based on organic and simple forms, functional furniture made from natural materials by hand-craftsmen.


Neutralize Closely connected with nature, the most common color schemes found in Japanese interior design are heavily influenced by the outdoors.

The color scheme should be neutral or simple. Incorporate nature-referential tones such as stone color, natural green tones, and wood brown.

Simplify with Japandi A blend of Japanese and Scandinavian design, Japandi combines the simplicity and functionality of Scandinavian style with the retrospective and meditative influence of Japanese design. With Japandi, you can create a space that can be easily articulated by referencing the philosophies of Japanese style. You may like this too;


Rising trend: Wabi sabi

Rather than striving for perfection, this Japanese principle is beautifully simple and rustic. You can incorporate the original details of a Japanese-style house into your space, whether with handmade decoration options or a room complete with Wabi Sabi interior.

Click to know about wabi-sabi better

Click to see our recommendations for Wabi-sabi style





Are you ready to design your space with Japanese interior principles?


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