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Where Japanese interiors are concerned, serenity is paramount. Image Via: Decker Bullock Sotheby’s International Realty

We all lead hectic lives. It’s no surprise that after working all day and schlepping the kids to activities, we want come home to something a little calmer. The easiest way to do that is by simplifying our interiors.

Folks looking to bring more simplicity into their homes should look toward Japanese interior design for inspiration. With a strong focus on clean lines and negative space, Asian-inspired interiors are almost as calm as it gets.

Of course, the question becomes how to bring this style into your own home. Don’t worry, we have the answers. Check out our tips below to see how you can capture a touch of Japanese simplicity – no matter where you live.

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Japanese interiors embrace the art of minimalism. Image Via: Balodemas Architects

Create Open Layouts:

If we had to name the most important concept in Japanese design, there would be no contest. It would be an effective use negative space. The Japanese have a concept called “Ma”, the practice of leaving gaps between compositional elements. These gaps are essential to creating harmony and consciousness of place.

So, how do you achieve negative space that looks both pretty and purposeful?

Start with a single focal point. Keep in mind that a focal point does not have to refer to just one element. Sometimes it can refer to a unified collection of elements that define the room’s purpose. Think about grouping two couches to create a seating area in your living room or keeping your dining room simple by focusing the entire room around your table and chairs.

Once you have your focal point, arrangement is key. Japanese interiors thrive off of symmetry and balance. Focus on creating mirror images when putting your furniture in place.

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Japanese interiors often feature a strong sense of symmetry. Image Via: Design First Interiors

Keep Furniture Minimalist:

Where Japanese furniture is concerned, simplicity is key. There are no overstuffed sofas or ornate dining chairs here. Instead, when it comes to furniture, focus on sleek looks that put function in the forefront.

As you shop for furniture, concentrate on finding pieces that appear minimalist. Ideally you should search for designs that feature straight lines and clean corners. Opt for furnishings made of natural materials whenever possible.

In addition to the look of the furniture, if you want to fully embrace Japanese style, you should also consider size. More specifically, you need to focus on the height of the pieces you choose. Japanese homes often feature tabletops – especially dining tables – that sit lower to the ground. 

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Keep your furnishings minimalist. Image Via: Design Nehez

Less is more when it comes to furnishings. Image Via: Design Nehez

Choose Natural Colors:

Like western style interiors, many Japanese-inspired rooms adhere to the 60-30-10 Rule when it comes to color. (For those unfamiliar, this principle dictates that 60% of an interior should feature a neutral shade, 30% should focus on a secondary color, and the final 10% should be a brighter accent color.)

Black and white are commonly used as the neutral base of a room, but Bamboo can also considered a neutral since it is so popular in Japanese homes.

When it comes time to pick secondary colors, all you have to do is look out the window. Japanese interiors take inspiration from nature. You’ll want to focus on rich browns, leafy greens, and stone grays. When choosing shades, pick a muted tone over one that especially bold.

But, of course, there is an exception to every rule and in this case it’s the color red. In Japanese culture, red is associated with life, energy, and vitality, so you will often see red hues incorporated throughout a design scheme. Choose red as your accent color and use it to draw attention to the design elements you love most. Try a rich set of couch cushions or a wall hanging that highlights red shades.

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Stick to neutral shades with pops of natural color. Image Via: Highshots Photography

Stick to neutral shades with pops of natural color. Image Via: Highshots Photography

Add Interest With Texture:

We know what you’re thinking: Which such simplistic design elements, how do you keep the room from becoming, well, boring? The answer lies in texture. As you design your Asian-inspired interiors look for items that will bring a lot of texture to the space – and make them as contrasting as possible.

The idea behind contrasting textures comes from the principle of yin and yang. This contrast is another example of bringing harmony into a space by achieving balance.

There are lots of ways to achieve this contrast. Think about pairing a wooden table with metal chairs in your dining space, placing woven maps on top of highly-polished wooden floors, or arranging small pebbles inside of a glass vase on your coffee table.

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Vary textures on your walls, floors, and furniture. Image Via: Intexure Architects

Don’t Forget An Element of Serenity:

What’s the purpose of all this simplicity, anyway? At its core, it’s meant to help you bring a sense of serenity and calmness into your home. According to the Buddhist principle of Zen, to which many Japanese people subscribe, a calm environment is essential when trying to achieve enlightenment.

Elements of serenity often come from nature. Try to incorporate a stone wall in your master bathroom shower or add floor-to-ceiling windows in your kitchen to let light from the outside stream in. Even if you can’t make huge changes to the space, a few small houseplants can liven up any living space.

If you want to go the extra step in bringing Zen to your interiors, you could always incorporate a little Feng Shui. Make sure your home is free of clutter and that your entryway looks inviting. Let in as much natural light as possible. Be sure to arrange seating areas so no one’s back faces the door.

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Floor-to-ceiling windows help bring nature indoors. Image Via: Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers

With such a sleek and clean aesthetic, it’s no wonder why Japanese interiors are so intriguing. If you’re interested in recreating the look in your own home, you’re not alone. Luckily, this style is also incredibly simple to recreate. We’ve got tips to help you make it happen. Read over this post to get a sense for of how to bring Japanese simplicity into your own interiors.

What do you think about Japanese interior design? Would you consider bringing it into your own interiors? Have you? Tell us how in the comments below.