Secret ingredients for a Japanese style—the modern way

Asha Bogenfuerst Asha Bogenfuerst
Futon y Tatami , Futon Dream Futon Dream Asian style bedroom
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Japanese style and design have become increasingly popular over the past few years. This is not surprising as there is something about Japanese design that is so zen, and we could all use a little more peace and tranquility in our lives. Browse through this idea guide to discover the secret ingredients for a Japanese style, the modern way. 

Essentially, the Japanese style is marked by a simple and uncluttered living design that is balanced and holistic. Thousands of years steeped in tradition have influenced Japan's architecture and interior design aesthetic, resulting in a serene and very cultural interior design. Even the modern Japanese style still holds on to its traditional ways. Let's see how we can incorporate a modern Japanese style into our homes shall we? 

Bring the outdoors inside

The modest designs of Japanese culture create a peaceful ambiance by bringing the outdoors inside. You can do this by creating an indoor garden or by connecting the indoors with the outdoors. Pictured here, we see that the indoor space is connected to the outdoor garden space. The large traditional Japanese sliding doors called Fusuma allow you to enjoy the greenery and the landscape outside from the comfort of your home. 

The tranquil, zen space pictured here is designed by Takaoka-Kyoto, based in Japan. 

Bring bonsai!

Japanese culture is saturated in a love and respect for nature. The best way to express this love and respect for nature is to grow plants at home. Adding traditional Japanese plants such as bonsai and bamboo to your home can bring the Japanese culture alive in your home. 

The bonsai has also become an icon of the Japanese culture, so placing a bonsai in your home creates an instant Japanese touch. Other than that, the bonsai is the perfect plant to grow indoors, and having greenery indoors does wonders to create a peaceful environment. 


Tatami is a type of mat that is used as flooring in traditional Japanese style rooms. It is softer than tiles, but firmer and easier to maintain than carpets.Traditionally, tatami is made of rice straw, wood chip boards, and soft rush or igusa. Usually, the tatami will have an edging made of cloth just like the one pictured here. 

Traditional tatami is not easy to install or use, however the modern version is easier to install, more user-friendly, and more practical. Keep in mind not put any heavy furniture on the tatami as it will damage it. Modern tatamis are often used as a surface to place a futon on as pictured here. 


Tsuboniwa is basically a traditional Japanese style small courtyard garden. These small gardens were originally found in the interior courtyards of Heian Period and palaces, and were designed to give a glimpse of nature and some privacy to residents of the rear side of the building. 

During the Edo Period, merchants began building small gardens in the space behind their shops, which faced the street, and their residences, located at the rear. These tiny gardens were meant to be seen, not entered, and usually had a stone lantern, a water basin, stepping stones and a few plants. Today, tsuboniwa are found in many Japanese residences, hotels, restaurants, and public buildings. They are an ideal garden design for small spaces. 

Modern paper lighting

Japanese interior design often includes paper as it gives a delicate touch to the setting. Even traditionally, the Japanese sliding doors use paper framed with wood panels to create a door that would allow natural light in. An abundance of natural light is one of the signatures of Japanese design. Keeping this in mind, we thought that modern paper lighting might add a nice touch to Japanese style interiors. 

Browse through lighting designs here on homify for more new ideas and refreshing inspiration. 

Minimalist style

Japanese design is clean and minimalist. Traditionally, Japanese homes didn't use much furniture. The futon is a good example of this. Instead of a bed and a sofa, a futon is a simple mattress that can be folded or rolled and stored away, and can be used both as a sofa and a bed without requiring any actual furniture. Decorations should be few and sparse to keep the space looking as uncluttered as possible. 

We hope you picked you managed to pick up some good tips for creating a Japanese style in your home. For more inspiration and ideas, have a look at make the most of a small balcony

What do you like most about the modern Japanese style? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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