Efficient use of resources is a fundamental part of Japanese culture. Japanese rooms are typically multi-functional rooms that maximize space. For example, Japanese futon beds are folded and stored in the morning allowing the sleeping area to be reused during the day. Japanese room layouts are often reconfigurable. For example, Japanese interior walls may be composed of shoji screens that can be rolled back to join rooms. This ability to re-partition rooms for different uses during the day is essential in Japan where a highly urbanized society puts space at a premium.
Japanese society values privacy and seclusion. Traditional Japanese interiors incorporate features such as paper screens (shoji) that allow light into a room while offering privacy and seclusion.
3. Natural materials
Both traditional and modern Japanese interiors tend to make use of natural materials such as fine woods, bamboo, silk, rice straw mats and paper.
Japanese culture values simplicity and the space in a room is just as important as the design elements. Japanese rooms should have an uncluttered appearance and be decorated sparingly.
5. Subdued colors
Japanese interior design often uses the natural colors of materials such as wood, bamboo, paper and rice straw. Other colors introduced into the design tend to be subdued neutral palettes, incorporating blacks, off-whites, grays and browns.
6. Diffused light
Japanese design generally uses diffused lighting techniques making use of natural sources of light that reach interior rooms though shoji screens. Artificial light sources are introduced that diffuse light with materials such as paper and natural fibers.
7. Traditional Japanese interior design elements
Japanese design is also characterized by the use of certain traditional design elements that continue to be popular for modern Japanese rooms:
Fusuma are Japanese sliding panels that are typically made of wood and paper or cloth. They could be called sliding doors but are often used across an entire wall allowing rooms to be joined in flexible ways. Traditionally, Fusuma were hand painted and today are often patterned.
Shoji are Japanese screens made with a wood frame and panes of translucent paper. Shoji are used as windows, doors and room dividers. Like Fusuma they provide flexibility in room configurations. Shoji allow natural diffused light into rooms while providing privacy.
Tatami are traditional Japanese floors made of rice straw mats. In the past, most Japanese floors were tatami. In modern Japan, apartments and houses with one or two tatami rooms continue to be popular. Tatami are a standard size of 88cm x 176cm in Tokyo but the standard size varies by region.
A Tokonoma is a alcove that is used in reception rooms such as tea ceremony rooms. Many modern Japanese living rooms still feature a Tokonoma. The Tokonoma is the focus of a room and a simple display of Japanese art such as a painting, Japanese flower arrangement (ikebana) or calligraphy occupies the space.
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Japanese Interior Design