Minimal furniture is certainly the key word to easily and immediately understand the spirit of the made in Japan style. The simplicity with which, through a few elements, Japanese minimalism manages to obtain environments with relaxing and harmonious atmospheres sometimes leaves you speechless.
Despite being a highly technological and contemporary culture, in the field of living it knows how to perfectly combine modern design with a strong sense of belonging to its own tradition. The cleanliness of shapes and volumes, the study of light, the careful choice of materials and finishes are the basis of a language that has been able to remain faithful to itself over time and which has defined a stylistic trend that the whole world still today try to imitate. The space left open as much as possible and free from decorations and accessories is coherent and well organized. Nothing is left to chance and everything is wisely placed in its place, so that order and peace always reign. The divisions between the rooms are light and flexible, the materials are natural, whether it is the vegetable fibers of the floor coverings or the partition panels; the chromatic shades are given by the soft tones of beige, gray, hazelnut or olive green, with the only exception of black.
Japanese furniture is very few and reduced to the essentials: it is better to opt for built-in wardrobes, but if there are small pieces of furniture then they must be strictly made of wood or bamboo. We leave our shoes on the threshold and enter a traditional Japanese house to discover together what are the main elements of this style.
Let’s see together what are the peculiarities of a space furnished according to the Japanese style:
- The Japanese tatami, the absolute protagonist of Japanese furniture
- Japanese sliding walls: the idea of space in Japan
- The permeability between internal and external space
- How to recreate the Japanese style
- How to furnish the living room in Japanese style
- How to furnish a bedroom in the Japanese style
- Zen-style bedroom: the Japanese futon
- Zen-style bedroom: Japanese bedside tables
- How to make a Japanese style bathroom
- Japanese style bathtubs
- Japanese furniture: rely on the highest quality brands
- The Japanese garden in the western house
Japanese tatami, the absolute protagonist of Japanese furniture
In a traditional house of the Rising Sun, it is absolutely unthinkable to find floors made with tiles or tiles. In every room of the house, lying on the wooden cladding, it is in fact a must to spread the Japanese tatami , the typical mat in woven rice straw covered in rush. The Japanese house is conceived and designed to use the floor as an integral part of the architectural space, both in the subdivision and distribution of the rooms, and as a surface on which to walk without shoes and sit comfortably.
The size of the Japanese tatami is in fact originally used as a unit of measure to design the rooms and to define the spatial modules of the housing units. Furthermore, as we have already seen, the lines and volumes of Zen furniture are reduced to the essentials and it is therefore superfluous to use chairs when the floor itself is so welcoming and soft. For this reason, the kotatsu, a low table that allows you to eat seated on the ground, is also provided in the lunch area. Japanese sliding walls: the idea of space in Japan
What is particularly striking in the Japanese living style is not so much the minimalist taste and the choice of materials of Japanese furniture, but rather the completely different vision compared to the Western one as regards the use of space and different areas within a home. According to the traditional Zen methodology, the walls are not to be considered as immobile elements, but as temporary and variable partitions according to the needs. To do this, they must be extremely light: the Japanese sliding walls are made of wood or bamboo, and frame impalpable rice paper sheets that let the light through, but at the same time are able to screen the different spaces.
Through thin guides inside the floors and ceilings, the dividers thus created transform the space from time to time into a continuous and flexible becoming. There is no set number of rooms, because the house changes as the family grows. In order not to consider the economic practicality in case of damage or replacements, since it is enough to change the panel without the need to resort to complicated and onerous masonry works. The permeability between internal and external space
In a house in Japan it is essential to consider the balance that exists between internal and external. The perimeter walls are only a strictly necessary filter between the inside and the outside which, however, should not be considered in a clear and absolute way., but also and above all thanks to the care that is dedicated to the garden. In it, characterized by the same minimalism of the Japanese interior furnishings, the plants alternate with pebbles, stone fountains and wooden platforms in a harmonious and relaxing whole. The Zen garden is an integral part of the house, it represents the access, the passage between the public and the private, an environment in which to meditate and get in touch with nature. How to recreate the Japanese style If you want to interpret and adapt a minimal Japanese style furniture
to our languagewithout risking to run into ugly stylistic imitations or overly artificial and scenographic set-ups, it is possible to follow some simple indications. First of all it is necessary that the made in Japan style is not limited to the choice of individual furnishings or furnishing accessories, but rather to the general spatiality of the home.
It is necessary to reconsider the spaces as flexible, preferring, where possible, an open space with Japanese sliding walls, instead of the traditional division into rooms and distribution rooms. Combining in a single block all the service functions such as bathrooms, kitchens, closets or stairways, for example, will make the use of space and the use of the various environments more rational. As an alternative to woven floors, you can opt for parquet coatings with wood in warm tones in combination with shades of gray for the colors of the walls or alternatively leave rough finishes in troweled concrete, just as impressive. How to furnish the living room in Japanese style
The decision to furnish your home with the lines, shapes and suggestions of the Japanese East means that the atmosphere of each environment marries the principle of essentiality, of the discretion of objects that show themselves modestly, without showing off themselves, but giving way to light and free space. The living room plays a key role in this context, the place that welcomes anyone who enters the house, friends, acquaintances, and the tenants themselves.
A Japanese-style living room embodies the exaltation of geometry, in which squares and rectangles are the masters, light but clear, with an assertive character, in uniform, full, soft or decisive colors, but without excesses. The lattices that develop along the walls repeat the three-dimensionality of the room in two dimensions, in a game that recalls the simplicity of an orthogonal projection.
The equipped wallsthey do a good service to the Japanese-style living room by including more functions, such as that of the bookcase and that of the TV cabinet. The storage compartments are screened with sliding panels or doors with a wooden or bamboo frame that frames the light brown rice paper.
A Japanese-style living room can include the typical oriental three-door dividers, also characterized by wooden or bamboo frames that draw squares and identify a specific area hidden from view, a passage area or a corner of the house.
Japanese sliding walls can divide the living room space, for example if it is necessary to divide the actual living room space from that of the kitchen.
Even in a Japanese-style living room there are sofas and armchairs, made with wooden frames and futons. In some models the rigid structure is not present, but the futon itself is transformable, it can take on the typical function of a bed or become a small armchair or sofa. How to furnish a bedroom in Japanese style
If the goal is to recreate the Japanese style in every room of your home, you need to ask yourself a fundamental question, which concerns the heart of the house, the most intimate place that is contained: how to furnish the Japanese style bedroom
The keystone of the operation is minimalism, the guiding idea that must be kept in the choice of Japanese style bedroom furniture. The furniture must be few and far between, preferably in wood or bamboo. Designing integrated systems of built-in wardrobes, niches and shelves, taking advantage of the depth of the walls, is an excellent solution to keep everything in perfect order without unnecessary furniture and accessories, with the exception of some lacquered coffee tables, rice paper lamps and some prints with ideograms.
As a bed, you can choose a very low model without necessarily resorting to the traditional Japanese futon . Zen-style bedroom: the Japanese futon
As in the rest of the house, even in the sleeping area the essentiality of Japanese minimal furnitureand rigorous. In fact, the Japanese bedroom provides very few elements that perform the functions strictly necessary for night rest and relaxation. In addition to the mattress for sleeping, there are in fact only low tables, Japanese bedside tables , where to place lamps and accessories and a container wall to be used as a wardrobe. Furthermore, in the strictest tradition, the Japanese futon is not a fixed piece of furniture, but easily removable.
Literally translated as a “rolled mattress”, the original Japanese futon, in fact, placed directly on the floor without the need for any structure and isolated from the ground thanks to the woven tatami covering, is placed on the ground every evening and the next morning after waking up it is put away complete with linen inside the built-in wardrobes in the room, in order to leave the room perfectly tidy. Zen-style bedroom: Japanese bedside tables
The free and bright spaces of modern and traditional Japanese furniture that enhance cubes and parallelepipeds are at times interrupted by miniature tables that have a support function and are especially important in a bedroom in zen style . It is about theJapanese bedside tables with small dimensions, which can be accessorized with a shelf or a drawer.
Some slightly larger Japanese bedside tables look like benches where you can put a lamp, a book for your favorite reading before falling asleep or a cup of coffee for waking up.
The support surface of the Japanese bedside tables can be covered with tatami . With this simple expedient, the cabinets acquire an even more oriental look, in their essential aspect, which proclaims modesty as the first and unsurpassed bulwark of elegance.
The Japanese bedside tables are made of wood, especially in the quality of beech, with a very light color, almost tending to white. Treated with steam, the beech wood takes on a characteristic pink color. How to make a Japanese-style
bathroom The bathroom is an important room in the house, where you can find a moment of tranquility after a day of work, or before going out in the morning, under the hot shower or immersed in a large bathtub . For this reason, his style requires more and more attention from furniture professionals and those who are preparing to choose furniture for their home.
Furnish a Japanese style bathroomFirst of all, it means making a chromatic choice that puts neutral, light or dark colors in the foreground. So the protagonists are white, beige, dark brown and black. Contrasts and combinations must be established ensuring the right brightness to the room. The overall effect must be harmonious and relaxing.
A Japanese-style bathroom is not an unadorned bathroom, however. In fact, it is possible to insert bamboo elements, such as a divider or a storage unit, which become decorative objects thanks to the natural irregularity of the trunks. Bamboo is an ecological and relatively inexpensive material. Its light color reflects light abundantly and matches any background.
An ornamental motif that refers to Japanese culture is that of koi carp, symbol of love and friendship. The walls of a Japanese style bathroom can be embellished with koi carp designs, without creating an overload effect, but creating a sort of Greek between the abstract and the naturalistic, or a representation that animates a single wall.
Japanese style bathtubs The Japanese style bathtubsthey are characterized by a seat enclosed within them. They are generally not very long and it is not possible to stretch the legs. They can have a rectangular or circular base. In the first case they have a border about one meter high and a shelf where to place objects, such as the shower gel, the shampoo, the soap dish. In the second, the Japanese-style bathtubs are made in the shape of a half eggshell and are installed in the center of the room.
Round Japanese style bathtubs are real design objects and are increasingly placed in large and elegant bathrooms. They can be made up of different materials. The most popular are wood and stone, which tell of a contamination between human technology and nature. However, there are also models of round Japanese-style bathtubs made of ceramic.
The wooden tubs are treated with water- repellent substances , while the stone ones are smooth, but not smooth, to avoid the risk of falling on the slippery surface. To install a round bathtub that recalls the style of the Rising Sun, it is necessary to consider any changes to be made to the plumbing system. In fact, like all tubs, even the round Japanese-style ones must be attached to running water. Japanese furniture: entrust yourself to the highest quality brands
Once the passion for Japanese-inspired furniture has been consolidated, you just have to launch yourself in the search for harmonious elements and in harmony with each other. There are many excellent brands on the market that have decided to specialize in the production of solutions for the living and sleeping areas with this particular style. Urushj , for example, is a company that produces essential furniture made with natural materials. Harmony, simplicity, serenity are the basis of every single model, with immense respect for oriental philosophy. The same construction techniques are inspired by the original ones: dovetail joints, hand-finished shaped cuts, etc. The wood is worked with oils containing citrus essences and with earth-based pigments. This brand and many others allow you to make the most of your Japanese furniture, without sacrificing the quality of high-end design. The Japanese garden in the western house
If the Japanese style is to permeate a whole house, the garden must also be treated according to its canons. Natural exuberance must consequently be bent to the measure of men, to the rigor of a space that must encourage the gaze and propose the widest possible horizon. When designing a Japanese style garden, the goal must be harmony . Each element must be in assonance with the others, as in the vast agreement of an orchestra of shapes and colors.
The three fundamental elements of a Japanese garden are water , stone and plants, each with a symbolic meaning and a non-random location. Water is considered a symbol of life and must flow in the Japanese garden. The stone is connected to serenity and inner peace. It is placed in the garden so that it looks like it has always been there. It must be well smoothed and rounded. Finally, the plants must be present, but without causing an excess. Only in spring can there be delicate blooms, characteristic of shrubs such as camellia, rhododendron, cornus kausa and azalea.
If the Japanese style is the ideal to be inspired by, decorative pebbles, plants of oriental origin, perhaps even with stone paths and ornamental fountains, should be inserted in the outdoor space of your home. For those who do not have an outdoor area available, especially for the inhabitants of large metropolitan cities, it is possible to obtain green corners also inside the house, with glass cases that reproduce the feeling of a winter garden without occupying a lot of space.