The key point of all Japanese Interior Design is natural serenity, unostentatious refinement or, wabi, as the Japanese call it. While bright, bold colors are still used everywhere in Japan, they are done with restraint and they are used to express a profound awareness or concept of ying and yang. Colors, as well as other elements that are opposites, must work together in harmony. The balancing of light and space is the beginning element for all Japanese Interior Design.
Light is diffused and living and sleeping areas are flexible and usually have moveable screens. Some sleeping areas are futons put on the floor at night, then packed up during the day and stored for more living space. This might seem very strange for westerners, but it is the Japanese way of life. Japanese Interior Design is a simple form of design if you understand the underlying principles. Ignoring these principles will make Japanese Interior Design very difficult for the average Interior Designer.
The Japanese Home
The Japanese home is a private sanctuary hidden away from the chaos and hectic challenges of the world outside. The traditional dwellings are made from natural, organic materials, such as clay, straw, paper, woods (both hardwoods and bamboo) and stone. Japanese Interior Design also makes use of water, natural light and greenery. Again, the use of the ying and the yang are seen as the inside dweller is bringing the outside in to live in harmony. This timeless design is still a fascination to most designers.
The Japanese room is known for its clean lines and uncluttered look. There is furniture in a Japanese room, however, not very many pieces. The colors of Japanese Interior Design are usually quite subdued, showing preference for colors that are soft and quietly restrained. These colors are drawn from neutral palettes, incorporating grays, beiges, browns and off-whites. The majority of Japanese color schemes are monochromatic and lend themselves to dark hardwoods, polished concrete, bamboo or stones and pebbles.
The sliding doors in Japanese Interior Design are known as shoji screens, fusuma doors and ranma transoms. Another standard in Japanese homes are their floors. These innovative floors are a tatami mat flooring system. The tokonoma alcove is another element of the Japanese Interior Design home. This alcove is a spot for family treasures and artwork or seasonal decorations. You might find a bonsai, hanging scroll or ikebana displayed in the tokonoma alcove. This alcove serves as a similar role to a mantle over a fireplace in a Western home. If you are interested in reading an interesting interior design book, than a book on Japanese Interior Design is the book you should read as the Japanese are indeed a fascinating culture to study.