Japanese-inspired home design

Clean wooden floors, smooth bamboo furniture and a harmonised space – these are all vital essentials of a Japanese-inspired home design.

To replicate Japanese style in your home, you need to understand the concepts that make it so unique. It's a blend of simplicity with natural elements, all carefully selected and constructed together in a balance that promotes peacefulness and tranquillity within a home's interior design. We've compiled a guide to help you draw inspiration from these concepts to be able to easily use them in your own abode.

Remember, with interior design, there is no right or wrong. It's up to your creative vision and artistic eye, but it definitely doesn't hurt to follow guidelines of successful design themes that work seamlessly.

Imperfect perfections

Japan has many designs that are easy to understand and adopt. Wabi-sabi is the idea of using imperfection, but in a way that makes it deliberate and organic.

A house by Pamela Shamshiri in House Beautiful embraces wabi-sabi to feature wooden furniture, topped with simple display items that are slightly off centre. It promotes a feeling of balance and control in the room, especially with the purposefully out-of-sync objects.

For example, next to the entrance way sits a tall, narrow shelf. On each level are potted plants, but instead of placing them in vertical alignment, they're slightly off from one another so that it doesn't create a perfect streamlined balance but is obviously manipulated to sit at specific angles to each other. You can try this with a bookshelf, paired with a simple wall backdrop of light grey to complement the balance. Take a look at Resene Concrete, Resene Half White Pointer or Resene Surrender to work with a simple frame shelf painted with Resene Grey Friars.

White cubed

Architectural Digest features the innovative designs of Sou Fujimoto, who can be seen using elements of cubes to mesh them together as a structure. While not always liveable, he highlights the harmony between simple bamboo furniture and pure, white walls.

This cube and bamboo system is quite unique to the styles and designs of Japanese architecture, reminiscent of shoji screens – foldable panels that are used to separate rooms, typically made with a light bamboo frame and thin paper panels.

This provides you an excuse to feature angular, cubed items in your home design. Small, individual cubby holes are great to stack as shelves, while you can use rectangular desks and tables to display boxy vases atop of a stack of hardcover books and magazines.

The ambience of such a pure, clean space allows you to use patterns that have simple stripes and lines, such as Flock 3 2562-49 or Flower Poetry 2015 430622.

Furniture such as glass tables, clear plastic chairs and white gauze curtains are also easily blended with the style of this design.

Cloths of colour

Though Japanese interior design is all about simplicity, don't be afraid to add colour. Try your hand at shibori – the traditional art of tie-dyeing with a pole. It's typically done with blue hues, which creates a serene watercolour effect with the different depths of cyan and navy. There are specific ways to wrap your fabric up with thread so the tie-dye comes out as an imperfectly perfect pattern, which you can then use to wear as a sarong, hang as curtains or even frame and display as wall art.

Why not try your hand at creating a shibori pattern on a feature wall? It'll be like a floor-length tapestry to bring something unique to your home design.

Start off with a plain white wall. Combine blue paint with Resene Paint Effects and with a wide paint brush, softly swirl the colour on your wall. You can build up consistency with the amount of thinner you use and also by working up the intensity of the blue paint you use.

Try moving up a colour chart, such as Resene Cut Glass, Resene Blue Moon and Resene Bellbottom Blue.

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