Guide to Popular Interior Design Styles in Japan

Japan is one of the countries that like to incorporate and stick to its culture and traditions. Even though the traditions date back thousands of years, the Japanese still inculcate them in their everyday life. There was a time when Japanese homes mostly consisted of bamboos and other wood types for construction.

However, today they have provided a contemporary taste to their homes but some things remain unchanged. Bamboo is still an integral part of their home décor and it is highlighted in their beds, sliding doors, and several other items and objects. Therefore, if you are someone who is inspired by the Asian interior design styles as well, you need to give this article a read.

How to Cultivate Japanese Style in Your Home


As mentioned earlier, Japanese homes may have become ultra-modern nowadays but the principles remain unchanged. It needs to be mentioned that the Japanese have contributed a lot to home décor, technology, and other important areas over the years. Whatever it maybe, the core principles that drive the designs have remained the same. The American architects at the start of the 20th century were inspired by the same principles and the styles gradually became popular in the west as well.

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the first architects who thoroughly understood the Japanese culture and styles before implementing and including them in his Utopian and prairie style homes. His visits to Japan in the early 1900s deeply influenced and inspired him to cultivate what he described as ‘artistic, romantic and close to nature’. However, Frank Lloyd was not the last to do it. Architects succeeding him followed the same path and use the styles to bridge a connection between homes and the natural environment. Furthermore, the Japanese also focus on honoring the natural materials as well. They will use natural materials whenever and wherever required. This includes everything from wood to stones using the ShouSugi Ban method. It maybe old-school to some but makes a perfect combination of modern and historical styles


Japanese architecture has undergone significant transformation over the years. Even today, the country is filled with iconic temples and shrines that represent old Japan. The real transformation could be seen in the homes. While the principles remain the same, the style has changed. However, you cannot compare today’s style with the one that existed for many decades. It is like comparing the temples of Rome to modern houses in Italy. Although historical Japanese architecture has its significance but comparing it with modern architecture just does not seem right.

Modern Japanese homes in the United States still and most importantly include areas such as the calming space, made and filled with natural materials. Instead of using cost-efficient modern LED-technology, the house uses natural light and practices a minimalistic aesthetic. In addition to that, modern homes allow architects to go beyond functionality. As a result, the rooms are large with high roofs and thicker and wider walls.

Moreover, the living rooms are the center of focus whereas the bedrooms tend to remain intimate areas. Japanese modern homes in that respect are slightly different. They feature modern minimalism and focus on symmetry and visually balanced structures. For instance, the roof is painted black whereas the walls are white. What this means is that the Japanese prefer a balance of negative and positive space in their homes.

The reason Japanese tend to be so inspired by nature is due to their religious beliefs. Both Buddhism and Shinto have placed tremendous importance on worshipping nature. This means that Japanese homes should always have a direct connection with nature. An outdoor garden or large windows to allow natural light are some examples.

Patterns, Colors, and Furniture

Since the Japanese have a strong connection with wood, both cedar and bamboo are found throughout modern Japanese design. From the ceilings to furniture, raw wood is used anywhere it can be. The ShouSugi Ban method is used to add visual contrast and strength but that is mostly used for exterior purposes.

Not only is wood a dominant material in Japanese designing, stone is also used in abundance. Japanese homes usually have stone floors in the kitchen and bathroom to highlight the relationship between earth and water. Such balanced elements are an important part of Japanese interior designing as it represents a way to honor nature.

When it comes to colors, the Japanese prefer to stick to natural colors such as brown, green and grays and white, etc. All of these colors are a way for them to represent the earth, trees, and mountains. Slight greenery is added to provide a soothing vibe whereas throw pillows and that too in a dark color are a popular appearance. The most commonly used dark color for such purposes is Red as it represents energy, strength, and luck.

Japanese Interior Designing Tips

Using sliding doors or screens

Modern Japanese homes include sliding doors and screens that represent the zen philosophy. Sliding doors and screens are not just mere additions but offer privacy and discreetness as well. Back in the day, sliding doors and screens were used in palaces. They provided privacy when the king wanted to hold a special meeting with his counterparts or family members. The best thing about sliding doors and screens is that they add lightness without consuming too much space. In other words, you might not even notice that they are there. Since the Japanese idea of interior design is based on being humble and as minimal as possible, the addition of sliding doors and screens is essential.

Using Low Beds

As we move towards the bedrooms and try to incorporate Japanese style, we observe that low beds are used that sit low to the ground. These low beds can be seen in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean movies as well. The beds do not feature a frame and only a mattress sits directly over a thin wood sheet. As a result, the room feels much bigger and there are no obstructions otherwise.

Installing a soaking tub

Soaking tubs are called ‘Ofuro’ in Japanese. As compared to the western bathtubs, the soaking tubs are deeper and are made of wood. However, you can also opt for polyester and acrylic. Soaking tubs are specifically designed for relaxation and support. Although not every house has the space to accommodate a soaking tub but if possible an Ofuro should be installed as a unique design feature and a place to relax.

Where to Buy
Alpine Corporation 15
EMOOR -CLASSE Series- Shikifuton, Japanese Futon Mattress, Full (55x79in), Made in Japan
4 Piece Japanese Warrior Canvas Wall Art Print Poster Samurai Painting Wooden Framed Ready to Hang Artwork for Wall Art Living Room Bedroom Karate Hall Sushi Restaurant Home Decorations 16”x35”
iDesign Formbu Bamboo Floor Mat Non-Skid, Water-Repellent Runner Rug for Bathroom, Kitchen, Entryway, Hallway, Office, Mudroom, Vanity, 24" x 48", Natural Wood


Recommended Products

1. Alpine Meditating Buddha

The Alpine Meditating Buddha is a symbolic item that looks great in a yard or garden. You can also place it on a shelf or deck. It offers a relaxing vibe to the area and is made from natural stone color with a bronze finish. In addition to that, the stone powder and polyresin construction make it an all-weather resistant durable item.

Key Features:

  • Realistic stone design
  • Durable

2. EMOOR-CLASSE Japanese Futon Mattress

The EMOOR-Classe Japanese Futon Mattress is a traditional bed mattress found in Japanese homes. Not only is the mattress comfortable but firm as well. The high-density polyester pad supports your back and keeps it firm at the same time. Furthermore, it is lightweight and thin as well with a sandwich structure allowing good cushioning.

Key Features:

  • Soft and firm
  • High-quality pad

3. WEROUTE Japanese Warrior Canvas

The high-quality WEROUTTE Japanese Warrior Canvas is a wooden poster hanger that is designed and made from natural oak in New Zealand. You can install it on any wall in your house to give it a Japanese vibe. Furthermore, the art is printed on exhibition grade canvas that is an additional proof of the amount of effort and quality incorporated.

Key Features:

  • High-quality canvas
  • Made from natural oak

4. iDesignFormbu Bamboo Floor Mat

The iDesignFormbu Bamboo Floor Mat is a water-resistant and non-skid underside. Designed to suit any home décor this bamboo floor mat is perfect for entryways, kitchen, and hallways, etc. Furthermore, it also protects your carpets and floors from being damaged. With both modern and natural style embedded, this floor mat is as simple yet practical as it can get.

Key Features:

  • Water-resistant
  • Bamboo construction

Final Word

When it comes to incorporating Japanese interior design styles, remember the key lies in providing the simplest and minimalistic touches. Furthermore, incorporating as much natural material as possible is the second most important factor. Your house should be a perfect balance of modern Japanese style and nature. Choose naturally inspired colors along with items and objects to make the best combination.