Peaceful simplicity embodies the designs of Japanese culture. Steeped in thousands of years of culture and tradition, Japan’s architecture and interior design aesthetic is not only serene, but elegantly understated. Japanese style centers around clean and uncluttered living and beautifully resonates with contemporary styles.
A modern expression of Eastern interior design aesthetic can be found in the design trend Japandi. Interior designer, Ikuhiro Yamagata, explains this elegant trend.
“The Japanese and Scandinavian styles have in common that they emphasize minimalism. I am very happy that people all over the world have recognized the unique Japanese spirit of Wabi-Sabi, which is to minimize things and enjoy the margins. I also think that the fact that I spend more time at home due to the influence of the coronavirus is also a factor in accelerating the trend of this style. Japandi is a style that allows you to live a comfortable and functional life as simply as possible, and I believe that this trend will continue for some time to come.”
Elements of Nature
For those wishing to add a touch of serenity to their interiors, it is worth remembering that love and respect for nature is very important in Japanese culture. Bring nature indoors through traditional plants such as bonsai and bamboo. A similar style can even be achieved with palm or orchid. Any sort of deep greenery is preferable. Nature can be brought inside through large, expansive windows as well. Large sliding glass doors go a long way to bring serene, natural views indoors.
Natural wooden elements are one of the best ways to bring elements of nature indoors and harmonize with nature. Walls, doors, screen grids and frames are commonly made of maple, cypress, hemlock and red pine. Bamboo is a popular decorative element and the texture of wood is easily seen everywhere in the Japanese home. To introduce the calming effects that clean-lined wood elements can have to your home opt for a wooden screen or even a bamboo floor.
Open Space and Natural Light
Natural light is abundant in the Japanese home, bringing with it serene views of nature. Large windows and skylights are great ways to open up the home to natural light and give a sense of openness and lightness. Heavy draperies should be avoided as they block natural light. Instead opt for a simple bamboo shade or sheer, gauzy curtains that won’t block natural light.
For individuals who encounter a lot of daily stress, try creating a dedicated meditating space. This serene space in your home is meant for meditating, doing yoga and having tea. A quiet space in your home can be enhanced with a water feature. The gentle trickle of the water will drown out distracting noises, allowing you to focus on your meditation practice. Calming greens and gentle browns, paired with some plants and calming music would make for a great meditative hideaway.
Colours and Change
When wanting to give our interiors a facelift the first thing we normally do is reach for the paintbrush. There is no denying the transformative power a good coat of paint has on interiors, but Mr. Yamagata gently reminds us of an important consideration. “The first thing to do is to clarify what kind of life you want to live there. No matter how nice the interior design is, it doesn’t make sense to hinder your life.”
Simple colours from nature, browns from wooden elements and the greens of plants, tend to dominate the colour palette of Japanese homes. Flooring is normally wood or grey stone tile. This simple colour palette can be replicated by incorporating natural wooden elements and houseplants into your home layout.
When trying to replicate the Japanese style of interior design keep in mind that simplicity is key. Clean and simple lines, open spaces and natural elements inside can go a long way to serenely enhance the living space. Bear in mind that interior design is constantly changing. As Mr. Yamagata points out, “By designing the interior based on the natural order, the feeling of each season is expressed in the space. Interior design is something that should grow like a living thing in response to changes in the environment and no one is the same.”
For more design ideas take a look at Ikuhiro Yamagata’s social media page. His fur-baby, Maru, may even inspire new design ideas!