Whilst more modern Japanese interior décor might be similar to many rich countries, with fresh bright paint and mid-century modern scandi-inspired furniture – more traditional Japanese interior design is characterized by low-down furniture, minimalism and neutral colored décor with an abundance of rattan and polished hardwood furniture. Japan has a great aesthetic, which is popular all over the world, but especially in the west. Many people may want tips on adding a Japanese style flare to their apartment or home. Japanese modernism, sometimes refereed to as Japandi when blended with Scandinavian designs, is a great way of incorporating some Japanese inspired décor into your home – without having to replace all of your walls with rice paper…Or on the flip side, toilets that you can have a conversation with.
In order to really nail some Japanese, Japandi, Modernism it would help to understand why a couple of traditional décor practices exist. For example, why is Ratan so popular in Japan? Rattan is a bendy woody species, popular throughout south east Asia, China and Japan. Unlike bamboo it is solid rather than hollow. Via ancient trade routes, thousand of years ago, rattan reached Japan through China, and is a classic building material due to its cheapness and malleable nature. It can also grow all year round.
Okay, but why do many Japanese people still sleep on the floor? Traditionally, Japanese people would sleep on Tatami mats, this tradition has been kept in constant practice as sleeping low to the ground with less bedding is cooler in the night and also is believed to have health benefits over chunky mattresses (all though there seems to be scant evidence for this). For a Japanese modern room, a low height bed frame would be ideal as a compromise. Furthermore, the culture of minimalism seems to be, in part, due to historic poverty and want of materials, but also lack of space in bigger cities and importantly; the minimalist – anti materialist – religions of Buddhism and Shinto. Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article will be going to our affiliates, and anything bought through the link – we may get a small amount of the profits; after my writing isn’t free (even if I can’t spell).
Here’s a few examples of some great, traditional inspired, but still modern Japanese rooms for inspiration, found on Air BnB.
With a walnut (Walnut is a popular furniture wood in Japan) and black leather chair with distinctive Japanese style curves with distinctively Japanese rice paper window panel sliders in the bedroom. A nice mixture of modern and traditional Japanese décor.
If you are wondering ‘how can I add modern Japanese decor to my home on a budget’ then these trendy breakfast bars like this one are popular in Japanese metropolis, like Tokyo. The color scheme is also very bold and quirky.
A normal bedroom, except with a bamboo accent wall, very nice. This would be a relatively easy DIY project for somebody wanted to add some Japanese Modernism to their apartment.
Heavy Ratan influence here! Ratan lamp shades are a great addition to your apartment in order to add some Japanese elements to your living space. Also note the breakfast bar on the back wall again.
For a very Japanese inspired corner of your home, try a paper lamp with bamboo – or other large leafy plant – and a tatami mat; you can sleep on it or have some woven Japanese sitting cushions in the corner for an authentic Japanese experience / meditation area.
Here’s an uber modern Japanese style dining table for two with a slick walnut table and modern, but still traditionally inspired rattan chairs. You can see how this could easily be transformed into a Japandi inspired corner of your home by adding a bamboo plant and throwing up a Matsumoto Hoji Frog painting on the wall.
Very Japanese – Japandi – styled accent chair on the let there and a nice low down bed too – Check out our article on low to the floor beds. Overall, this isn’t particularly Japanese looking, but you get the general vibe.
A modern take on a traditional Japanese floor chair, expect in this case, it actually looks comfortable! These popped up quite a few times in our search for Japandi and Japanese modern décor on Air BnB Japan. Throw a tatami mat underneath and a rattan floor pillow and you will have a nice Japandi reading corner.
Here is a room that perfectly exemplifies the Japandi style we mentioned. That is, a mixture of Japanese and Scandinavian styles. Admittedly, it is more on the Scandinavian style.
The low bed here, as well as the minimalistic style, is the key to Japandi style decor in this room in Yokohama. If you wanted to add some more traditional Japanese elements to this living space you can add a rattan lamp shade, and perhaps a paper floor lantern too.
Here we have a subtle one, but you see those floor cushions, those are for sitting down on, Seiza style. Seiza, is the traditional way to sit in Japan, on the floor. If you’ve ever done Judo, you will know this posture.
What is Japandi? Well there is a perfect example above. You have the bendy type Samurai chair-esque dining set with a traditional small table and floor cushion for having tea on. Everything is super low to the ground, including the TV. The rice paper floor lantern is also echoed with the paper ceiling light.
You don’t have to sit on the floor or on an extremely low – down chair for modern Japanese decor – you can also be comfortable… Take for example this Japanese inspired room with a comfortable (yet still quite low) couch with tatami mat.
If you like these rather ballsy and funny frogs , these are traditional paintings known as – Japanese Matsumoto Hoji.
Here’s another modern take on some low-laying furniture with a basic mattress/couch on the floor with a couple of floor pillows and a side table acting as a tea table. Another great tip on how to add Japanese furniture to your apartment – if you are on a budget.
This one is very traditional with barely any modern elements, however you can get a good example of what a traditional Japanese room may look like. That horizontal wooden panelling is a traditional Japanese room divider – you can pick up similar items – usually bespoke in order to mimic this. Look on places like Etsy, unless you are handy with a circular saw.
Japanese Modern Reading Corner
For an easy win to get a quick shot of Japanese Modernism get yourself a cheeky tatami mats; which are also a great for an impromptu Karate Kumite. Also – check out our guide to a Japanese Modern Reading Corner Below.
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