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Movements: Japanese Interior Design and the Art of Feng Shui

When I think of Japanese design, I think sleek, modern lines. Soft woods, plants galore. Beams of sunlight drifting through open windows, across pine floors with straw mats and low tables. Floor pillows and steaming cups of tea. Lanterns and water features. Peace and tranquility. There’s something inspiring about Japan’s tendency towards serenity — especially in this modern age, when we lead such busy lives. So, I present this issue of Movement’s as a sort of rebellion. A call to reserve our homes for rest and rejuvenation. And with the right touch, any room can be transformed into a zen oasis.


The Six Elements of Japanese design

1) Zen: While not a look, per se, this is the attitude of Japanese design. Spaces are to be well balanced and clean. Make sure your interior radiates a warmth that is both welcoming and peaceful. By removing non-essentials, you can achieve a hyper-focused room that feels curated and meaningful. Every item has its place.


2) Color: Light is essential. Allow your interior to pull from the outdoors. White, undressed walls. Floors that lean toward a light pine if hardwood, or stained white if concrete. Tatami (straw) mats provide an organic and warming appeal to prevent spaces from looking too “cold.” Don’t be afraid to utilize accent walls.


4) Feng Shui: Literally, “wind water,” Feng Shui is the art of creating harmony and balance between place and mind. That is to say that by following the principles of Feng Shui, you’re creating a space that radiates mellow vibes. A place that is restorative for the body and mind, and that is what a home should. A sanctuary for rest and relaxation. This three-thousand year old form of design hails from China, though quickly spread across the greater East. Here’s a lovely in-depth guide to using Feng Shui in your home


5) Plants: We just love how plants have taken center stage for so many movements, fitting into every trend and cycle of design. This is an opportunity to go all “Jungalow“– which is to say, the more green, the better. Set yourself up with a meditative Japanese garden. invest in a Bonzai. Dress a corner with dried reeds, wood or bamboo.

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6) Wabi Sabi: The aesthetic of perfect imperfection. Did I lose you there? Let’s just call it the art and technique of accepting asymmetry and simplicity. This may come in the form of handmade imperfections as seen in a ceramicists sake glasses or in the way plants can be hopelessly lopsided yet no less beautiful. This is a philosophy that can lead to peace of mind, as well as a peaceful nest!

What do you think of these Six Elements? How would you incorporate them into your home? There are many more methods and design movements in Japan, let these Six Elements be your guide to discovering your needs.

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*From top left: Antique Baskets, Akura Statues, Spirit Object, Ladder Dining Chair
Tini Side Table, Spanish Plate, Olive Wood Cutting Board, Handmade Porcelean Sake Set, Cloisonne, Convivial Votives

Rattan Lantern


Image 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Enjoyed this post? Explore other Movements,  our new series in which we travel across the globe in search of interior design movements and trends that have made history>>

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