Japanese Interior Hacks To Copy For Your New Home

Japanese Interior Hacks To Copy For Your New Home

Remember Marie Kondo and how she introduced the kumari method to the world? Since then, everyone has started on a tidying and organising frenzy. Though Marie Kondo-ing was accepted as a trend, it is a way of living in Japan. It is so ingrained in their society to the point where minimalism is celebrated. Looking at how they organise and refurbish their homes, there are many tips we can take home (literally) and apply to our living space.

Sliding Doors

Black frame sliding door in a bedroom setting
Image credit: Planete Deco

If you’ve ever been to Japan, you’ll notice their sliding doors made from fine translucent paper and held by wooden frames. Similar strategies are applied today. However, to make it sturdier, glass panels are used with a wooden or steel grid.

In the contemporary styled home above, we see drapes are attached along with the glass sliding doors. It can be drawn when privacy is needed and opened to let natural light from the windows to spill into the home.

Woody sliding door in a Japanese themed bedroom
Image credit: wowow home

These sliding doors are called “shoji”. They are essential in every Japanese home as it saves space. With sliding doors it doesn’t matter how close your cabinets are to the door, they won’t interfere with your going-in and coming-out as they don’t take real-estate in the home. The traditional doors do not block natural light. Instead, it diffuses them. However, you can opt to make the panel out of wood and it will still look great.

Open Concept Storage Space

open storage shelves in a rustic themed kitchen
Image credit: Room Clip

The Japanese are extremely space-savvy, and one can only be space savvy if they are organised. Most practice an open-storage concept in the kitchen, with bins and baskets allocated for a particular item type. Space above the sink is never wasted too. Shelves are built or placed on top of it so washed items can be drained.

Open concept shelving for a scandinavian kitchen
Image credit: SF Girl

Although the kitchen can be filled with many items, from pots and pans to cooking condiments and spices, when you have a designated spot for it, the interior will still look attractive. Unlike showrooms, a kitchen with usable and edible items is functional – that is why we have kitchens, right?

So, take a look at your kitchen. Is any space wasted? Is there a shelf or organisational rack you can add into the area so your items can be neatly arranged and not kept in the store?

Plants for Zen

Display pots of plants in your living room
Image credit: Vogue Plants

Two terms we can introduce in this part of the article is Zen and Wabi-Sabi.

Zen is having everything in harmony.

Wabi Sabi, however, is living a perfectly imperfect lifestyle.

It may sound confusing to you, but striking this balance can be achieved by pairing simple, natural objects with houseplants. Natural objects include wooden furniture and unpolished rock surfaces paired with houseplants in your living space.

Do note that the plants are not bulky or herded together like a page from the jungle book, but placed as a single element in a minimalist setting.

Plants display on your table or hanging on your wall
Image credit: Etsy

If there is no way to place a plant in the space, the Japanese often put up images of branches, plants, and most commonly, pictures of cherry blossoms within the space. They are all for incorporating nature into their daily life.

Try growing hardy money plants in small pots in your living space. Place them in the bathroom, living room, and even on your bedside table. It makes a difference!

Diffused Lighting

Diffused lighting in a light blue bedroom
Image credit: Dovenda

Diffused lighting has always been a thing in Japanese culture. Before modernisation, “chochin” (outdoor lanterns) and “andon” (indoor standing lanterns) were used. Even when they used oil lamps, the light was diffused using handmade paper.

This style of lighting creates a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere, so much different from harsh direct light. The same is applied to bamboo table lamps or tatami lamps. These lights are easily obtained in IKEA for cheap.

Diffused lighting in a brown neutral dining space
Image credit: Cate St Hill

Now, Japanese light aesthetics are widely embraced by interior designers and homeowners around the world. Set the tone for your home by installing one or two Japanese pendant lights to create a warm and instantly homey atmosphere.

Wood Elements

Wood decor on the wall or mini wood side table by the sofa
Image credit: Cate St Hill

If you scroll up, in almost every picture, there is a woody element to it. If you are up for it, change your flooring to one that is wooden (alternatively, you can use laminate or vinyl), that will be a good kick-start to having a Japanese-esque interior.

Then, incorporate light wooden sculptures that are symmetrical yet minimalistic. Ensure that the colour of the wood items you choose are of the same shade, so it does not clash with each other.

A home design with wood details and clean lines and flooring
Image credit: Woodtec Japan

Think clean lines and simple designs. Clutter is not part of the design and hence, the organisation of the household is key. You can see from the images above that a lot of natural elements and natural colours are used, creating a perfect zen space, a place you would be excited to go home to.


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