Get Inspired by Japanese
Interior Design

Yaiza Martinez Interiors - Interior design company - Japanese Design

Japanese interior design has long since been used as the model of Zen living and serenity. It invokes the feeling of quiet and solitude, things that most people in this generation crave, amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The design revolves around its deep roots in tradition, living clean, minimalism, balance, family, culture, and nature.

Japanese interior design aims to merge nature and home together along with minimalism and functionality to make effective use of space.


This means the void, or the negative space in the room that is essential in Japanese interior designs. Poetically speaking, this is the silence in between laughter or the space that exists in between. It is more about the “nothingness” and less about the clutter and structure.

Ma also serves a dual purpose: making a seamless transition between functional and transitionary. This is a design style where designers create the natural form of all the items and furniture in a room, while maintaining and creating negative space.

To achieve this, most Japanese homes are open planned, where most furniture are tucked away in two sides of the room, leaving the center of the home empty or with minimal furniture (like the “relaxation island”, or the multi-purpose tables and chairs that can be used from a dinner table to a study, game of lounge table.

In the hectic, loud, and stressful era of modernity and technology, incorporating “Ma” into the household can give one the much needed quiet and peace, and create a haven, something a home should be.

Japanese atmosphere

Flexibility and multi-uses

Most traditional Japanese have multifunctional rooms to make use of the limited spaces, with rooms being reconfigurable. For example, traditional shoji screens could be used to create partitions in rooms to add privacy, or bedrooms could have fold away beds that will allow the sleeping area to be used for a different purpose during the day.

It is expected that multifunctional rooms will have a renaissance even in the western countries as real estate pricing goes up, and with the new trend of kids and old parents going back to live in the same household due to COVID.

The best way to create this flexibility is through use of sliding doors, screens, and dividers. Traditionally, Shoji screens are used because of its flexibility and portability, and it is mainly used to give privacy while still letting the light in.

In the modern times, most homes use sliding doors, this has the same purpose as a shoji screen, and much longer lasting.


Minimal interior


In Japan, everything should have a purpose and a place. Minimalism in interior design has stemmed from this idea, and it reiterates the mantra “less is more”. Bare and essential furnishings help keep the living spaces from feeling confined and cluttered.

This aesthetic also makes use of neutral color palettes. Neutral tones like light beige, cream, browns, and off-white colors are recommended to help spread natural light. Natural materials like wood, bamboo, and straw are among the preferred for furniture.

One of the signatures of Japanese interior furniture is its lower height. This tradition goes back since the ancient times and have been affected by several factors such as the smaller sizes of houses in Japan, the need for flexibility in space and also following the essence of “Ma” and “Wabi Sabi”.

Having a neutral toned interior expresses a sense of elegance and can induce the feeling of calm.

Wabi -Sabi – this phrase essentially means “finding beauty in imperfection”. The main idea is that one must learn to accept the world as it is, and not dwell on perfection to avoid stress and disappointment. Wabi -sabi has been popularized in the western culture by celebrity couple Kanye and Kim. However, everyone could attain the same goal without the hefty price tag by changing perspective when it comes to their home. Knowing that one’s home could not be perfect like a show room will help one appreciate its functionality more, and with that, contentment and happiness will be achieved.

Shakkei – means borrowed scenery.  As the Japanese are experts in combining natural materials with interior designing, this means seamlessly blending the scenery from outside with the interior of the home inside.

In more modern homes, this means utilizing mini-Zen gardens in the outside patio, separated by a glass door or window, or adding in natural touches of plants or bonsai trees on the inside.

This element of design can also help with maximizing privacy, for example by using living fences like bamboo plants that can obstruct views from the outside but add greenery and a splash of nature inside.

Japanese materials


What are other essential Japanese Décors needed to emulate an authentic Japanese Home?

Japanese style Furniture

Going with low to the ground style of furniture is one way to bring Japanese influence into one’s home. Not only they are simple and are easily achievable, they can also save more space, and possibly can also have different health benefits. Studies have proved that sitting on the ground can do a lot of good for the muscles in one’s body by affecting the structure of your lumbar region. It is also said that the Japanese way of eating on the floor can help with digestion and general health.


Japanese homes value natural light. This means having sharp, industrial lights are not recommended as they can have a stark effect on the surroundings and that could be a hindrance with the one’s relaxation. Artificial lighting for a Japanese home should be concealed or diffused as to not clash with the whole Zen aesthetic.

Also, having heavy draperies and curtains that can block out natural lights is inadvisable. The natural, diffused, and soft lights is what we aim to achieve when going for a Japanese style home.

Soaking tubs

A Japanese soaking tub or an Ofuro is also one essential thing for a Japanese home. An ofuro or soaking tub is a square deep tub with seating that is very popular in Japanese homes. Usually made of wood, there are also other modern options out there since ofuros have attracted the attention of health-conscious westerners.


Genkan is a Japanese style entryway. This is usually a platform at the entrance of the home where people can change their outdoor shoes into indoor slippers/ shoes.

To imitate this feature, one can opt to add a place in your porch or home entry way that can be used as shoe storage. It is important to keep this area clean and tidy.

The best trait of a Japanese home is how they keep it clean, clutter free and simple. They believe that clutter can get in the way of relaxation and Zen.


Having a Japanese stylized home is only the first step in achieving Zen and calm.

Embrace minimalism, mind the void and the empty spaces, find beauty in the imperfection. One’s home does not need to be perfect, but it does need to be always kept clean and tidy.

Learning about, diving deep and practicing the ancient traditions of Ma, Zen and Wabi-Sabi takes more than a few décor and aesthetic changes – but once learned, it will change your perspective in life, self and home.


We know you have big ideas, let’s make them happen together.

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