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Unlike other Asian countries, Japan is unique. Its location contributes significantly to the mystery of Japan. Being surrounded by water, the outside world could not access this country, especially in ancient times. As a result, the Japanese concentrated on their culture and innovations without being influenced by other cultures.
Until in recent times, foreign ideas and products could not reach Japan for an extended period. The Japanese then got enough time to bond with their way of life. The bond is so strong that despite civilization entering the country, the Japanese have continued practicing their culture in today’s modern time.
One great example is their minimalist bedrooms. What matters to the Japanese is the functionality of something and not luxury. That’s why you will not find any unnecessary things in a Japanese bedroom.
Though they have not embraced the word minimalism while describing their bedrooms, they fit the name. Japanese bedrooms consist of very few items. As a result, the rooms are usually spacious and airy.
If you want to learn how to create your Japanese minimalist bedroom, this guide is for you. But first, you need to understand this kind of bedroom for optimal results. In this article, you will also learn everything you need to know about a Japanese minimalist bedroom. Let’s start by defining it.
What is a Japanese Minimalist Bedroom?
It is also called a traditional Japanese sleep room or bedroom. What you would find in a minimalist Japanese bedroom today was also present in an ancient Japanese bedroom. The furniture may change in terms of the materials used, but they are similar. The bedroom design may also have changed, but the size is still small.
Like any ordinary bedroom, a Japanese minimalist bedroom caters to all activities. You can sit, sleep, or do anything else done in a bedroom. The only difference is the furniture used, the layouts, and the overall ambiance. In all these aspects, the Japanese bedrooms feature the minimalism concept.
The main focus in a Japanese bedroom is on simplicity and functionality. You cannot find anything without a purpose in a Japanese bedroom. All extra things get eliminated. When the use of a particular item in the bedroom ends, it gets removed immediately.
Also, the bedrooms come with less décor and arrangement. Everything to do with a Japanese bedroom is plain simple. Nothing is deep, bulky, or done in excess.
When you look into the beautiful Japanese bedrooms, you notice tranquil decorations, simplicity, and cleanliness. The principle of minimalism is evident. The Japanese are usually happy with their bedrooms. No wonder Fumio Sasaki, the author of Goodbye, Things: On Minimalist Living, wrote that happiness is wanting what you have and not having what you desire. It means that not everything you desire is valuable. The Japanese look at the value or benefit of something, and not how they feel about it.
To understand the Japanese minimalist bedrooms, you need to differentiate them from the minimalist of the west. Understand what each entails.
Modern minimalism rebels against the consumer lifestyle; it’s all about life’s material aspect. The Japanese minimalism is different. Continue reading to grasp some knowledge.
Insight into Japanese Minimalism Practiced at Home
It touches every aspect of the home. You will find it in the décor, sounds, furnishings, lights, sounds, and other home aspects. It concentrates on creating ambiance in different ways and not on consumerist lifestyles. That’s why the Japanese consider the following things when designing their bedrooms.
Factors Considered Before Designing a Japanese Minimalist Bedroom
The Japanese do not use bulky decorations in their homes. Every room comes with light and simple decorations. While designing the traditional bedrooms in the olden days, the Japanese looked down upon intense embellishment. The decorations included;
The use of bamboo for decoration in Japanese homes started centuries ago. They design beautiful mats for every room. The bamboo mats look elegant and straightforward, improving the appearance of the room.
The rugs made from bamboo give the room a natural and clean feel. Whether you place it in your bedroom, kitchen, office, or any other room, the rug is an elegant addition. It comes with comfort and natural beauty.
Though the bamboo is smooth when touched, it is sturdy. Because of the rugs’ or mats’ strength and durability, you will find them used outside rooms and homes to improve the surroundings’ look. Bamboo plants are also beautiful. Japanese place small bamboo plants in sleek containers at the corner of their rooms.
The sight of a bamboo plant in a clay pot inside a room is refreshing and welcoming. But not all bamboo species are used for decorations or inside the house. You need to get the right bamboo before proceeding.
· Screen Use
The use of screens inside the Japanese bedrooms is another factor that distinguishes them. Though some modern houses in other countries use screens for privacy, it is not as common as in Japan. The Japanese love privacy, explaining why these screens find their way in every room. The screens were the norm in traditional Japanese homes.
Shoji is Japanese architecture used to divide rooms, doors, and windows. Like in the olden days, Shojis are also common in modern Japan. Have you ever heard of the famous Japanese sliding door? It was a shoji form. Shoji dividers get used both inside and outside the room or home.
As the Japanese don’t like exaggerated things, the shojis come with minimal art and decorations. The dividers come made with rigid materials for longevity. Even those built with traditional materials get designed with robustness in mind.
Despite being made strong, shojis require care and maintenance for optimal use.
Paintings can be intense, but the Japanese love them when done sparingly and simple. As a result, Japanese images are unique. The artist focuses on the main elements only. Almost all background things get reduced or eliminated. Examples of Japanese paintings include their symbols (Kanji), Japanese poetry verses (Haiku), bamboos, or single birds.
Interestingly, the kinds of paintings hanged on their walls are of the same style. You will also find these painting styles on other items like their floor sleeping mats.
Bonsai is the country’s olden art and science used to create small trees for decoration. The trees get placed in attractive vessels or pots and place strategically indoors. The art entails scaling down an entire tree to a small size to fit indoors. The result is an appealing tree with an aesthetic touch.
Have you ever seen a folding screen? It is called Byobu in Japan. Traditional households in Japan used Byobu to create privacy or separate rooms. Today, they get used widely in Japan. They look lovely with their Kanji or another calligraphy form of decoration.
A specific kind of wood gets used in their frame making. Precautions should get taken when handling them to avoid damage.
b) The Atmosphere
When constructing their minimalist bedrooms, the Japanese consider their feelings and environment. It was a principle of the old Japanese bedrooms. The focus was on tranquil and zen. Earthy and green colors got used minimally and straightforwardly to create an attractive color contrast.
When considering the environment’s aspect, the Japanese’ emphasis was on peace for their minds and body. They, therefore, considered;
· The Lights
Lighting is essential in a Japanese minimalist bedroom. During the olden days, they used lamps, candles, and other light sources available then. At the time, electricity had not reached Japan, leaving them with no other options. Though some Japanese bedrooms still use the old lighting source currently, others opt to use electricity.
Japanese love colors with an earthy appeal. You will find a lot of natural, dark tones in any Japanese bedroom. The use of vibrant, flashy, and overly gaudy colors gets avoided. Even though they use these kinds of colors, it is to a minimum.
The Japanese love peace, an aspect they consider in their bedroom sounds. They love the tranquil sounds of nature. That’s why you’ll find Japanese bedrooms near many trees or green plantations. The sound from the wind is also vibrant and relaxing. Always design your Japanese bedroom in a tranquil and serene environment. It should be quiet and peaceful.
Aromas in Japanese homes trace their roots centuries ago. The Japanese use scents in their homes made from natural sources. The bedrooms contain a distinctive smell. The commonly used one is the incense scent. You can get the aromas from the Japanese stores or order one online.
c) The Furniture
Like with the decorations, the Japanese bedroom furniture is light and straightforward. That’s why you’ll find short chairs and tables in their rooms. They also don’t contain a bed. The non-heavy furnishings include;
· Low Tables
Japanese tables come low, almost to the floor. You cannot sit on a chair while using such a table. The tatami mats get primarily used to sit around such tables. Tatami is a special mat made with rushes. The carpets are comfortable and soft.
You will not find such a low table in the bedroom only. All Japanese tables are low! It doesn’t matter the purpose; every Japanese table has short legs. Chabudai is an excellent example; most Japanese use it. This table is ideal to use during the warmer season only.
When it gets cold, or during winter, the Japanese use tables called Kotatsu. These short tables contain a heater underneath. The top is removable to allow the use of the heating element.
· Floor Chair
Like the tables, Japanese chairs come low to the ground or floor. Some contain no legs at all! Those with short legs are only a few inches away from the floor. Sitting-on-the-floor Japanese culture started centuries ago. It is a surprise to most westerners, but the Japanese love it. They are proud while showcasing their floor culture to the world.
d) The Bedding
One of the primary purposes of any bedroom is to grasp some sleep. But to enjoy our rest, we need to lie down in a comfortable place. Like the westerners have beds and blankets, the Japanese have their style of bedding.
Though Western culture influences the Japanese’ bedding style, the traditional style is still evident in most Japanese bedrooms. The following consists of the bedding found in a Japanese minimalist bedroom;
· Tatami Mat
The tatami mats are typical in almost all Japanese households. They are not utilized in the bedrooms only, but also in other rooms. Traditionally, they got made using rice straw. Today, other materials like polystyrene foam and wood chips get used.
The length and width come in a ratio of 2:1. The mats come in different sizes range. You choose the size that meets your needs, suits your preference and budget. Tatami mats get spread on the bedroom floor at an ideal place. You can then use it as a surface to sleep on. After using it, you only need to fold and store the mat in an ideal place to create space.
It is a Japanese mat made for sleeping on. It gets spread on the bedroom floor. You will find one in any traditional Japanese bedroom. In the absence of a futon, you will find a bed-like structure that’s only a few inches from the ground. To learn more about futons, read our article on the floor culture in Japan.
The pillow used by the Japanese people is called Takamakura. Despite offering comfort and rest, the Takamakura also serves as a hairstyle preserver. The cushions consist of various sizes and designs. The Takamakura designed to align a person’s neck and the spine usually gets made with buckwheat.
Another advantage of a traditional Japanese pillow is its natural cooling ability. A person remains cool and dry while using the pillow.
· Floor Bed
If not using a futon or mattress spread on the floor, the Japanese use short beds. What distinguishes these beds from the rest is their unique, minimalist design and short legs. They come only a few inches from the ground. The beds’ headboards are usually very simple and consist of short foot and side rails. The entire Japanese bed occupies a small space and looks elegant.
A Kakebuton is a Japanese bedspread similar to a quilt. It got used in the olden days, and some households still use it today. The traditional Kakebuton gets handmade using silk. They also come in a minimal design.
Currently, the Kakebuton are getting made using other readily available materials. The designs also have been altered due to the influence of the west.
If you consider the above factors when creating your Japanese Minimalist bedroom, you will end up with the most beautiful room ever! Having a Japanese bedroom in your home could be an excellent idea for improving your indoor themes.
So, how do you create such a bedroom? Here is the insight;
How to Create Your Japanese Minimalist Bedroom
First, you need to consider the above factors for an authentic feel. Then collect all the necessary items before getting down to work.
The best place to start is with the walls. Putting furniture in the room first may tamper with your movement from one corner to another. Decide the kind of painting you require on the walls. Remember to go for something minimal and straightforward, as explained above.
If you are the kind that loves nature, consider a live plant in your bedroom. As illustrated above, a small bamboo plant in an eloquent vessel will work out great. Place it in a strategic place, mostly at the corner.
Then attend to the floor. You may decide to cover the room’s surface with a tatami, bamboo, or any other mat like described above. It depends on what you prefer. Then choose what to sleep on and the bedding. You could use a futon, tatami mat, or a Japanese floor bed. You can look for a Kakebuton or any other traditional Japanese bedspread to cover yourself while you sleep.
Consider using Takamakura, the traditional Japanese pillow. Use one with the design and size you prefer. A pad made with buckwheat will work out great. If you can’t find one, go for one made with a material similar to buckwheat.
When through with your bed, consider other furniture. You will require a chair and table. As explained earlier, a Japanese bedroom is about minimalism. Do not put unnecessary furniture in the bedroom. Go for the short chairs and table. Consider the number of furniture you require.
If alone, a single floor chair and table will do. If many, you could use one table a chair for each. It depends on how busy your bedroom would be.
While setting the bedroom, consider the environment. Choose a room that’s in the quiet part of the house. Consider also the outside surroundings. Try going for a room near many trees or plantations. A room with a beautiful view and with no or less noise will work out great.
Avoid using colors that shout or flash out. Go for the earthly colors, as illustrated earlier. Look for the unique Japanese bedroom scent and use it. If you can’t access a Japanese store to buy the aroma from, try ordering it online.
Lighting is another essential factor of a traditional Japanese bedroom. If you love the lamps used during the olden days, then use them. If not, you can choose electric lighting, which is readily available nowadays.
If you love your privacy or would like to separate your bedroom, you can use screens, Shoji, or Byobu. Go for what you prefer. Remember to maintain the minimalist principle as expressed earlier. The results will be excellent. You will have succeeded in creating your Japanese minimalist bedroom.
Though modernization has affected the way a Japanese bedroom looks, you will still find traditional bedrooms all over Japan. Great examples include;
Examples of Japanese Minimalist Bedrooms
- Those with screens painted with dragons, Kanji, and ancient Japanese paintings
- Bedrooms with low height furniture
- Sleeping rooms containing old Japanese decorations like bamboo and Bonsai
- Bedrooms showcasing old Japanese life, Haiku, and Kanji
As illustrated above, Japan is a country like no other. It has a unique and exciting way of life. The Japanese love their culture and finds no shame in practicing it even in the modern-day today. A Japanese minimalist bedroom is one great example. Everything in the room has a function and comes minimal and straightforward. There is no room for the extra.
If you would love to own a Japanese minimalist bedroom, use the guidelines described above. Follow them and the tips given to the latter for optimal results.