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What Are 11 Key Features Of Japanese Interior Design

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Japanese Design is being loved and imitated worldwide. They are minimalistic master minds. How you can design amazing space with only essential furniture used. Read more and be inspired.

What are Key Features of Japanese Interior Design?

  1. Lightweight
  2. Natural Materials
  3. Decluttering
  4. Very little or no walls
  5. Illumination
  6. Modular design
  7. Genkan
  8. Meditating Space
  9. Void
  10. Attention to detail
  11. White color

I believe Each of our homes should have some of Japanese philosophy inside. Their designs are strong but at the same time simple.

About Japanese Design

Japanese Design perfectly fuses both modern principles and the essence of tradition. There are numerous styles and elements this design possess, which, however, are quite hard to integrate into a simple definition.

japanese interior design

Japanese style is all about bringing things that are outside and nature related inside. We can see Japanese garden technique called setting stones in above image. Perfection, precision, and great sophistication are needed to master this technique.

Japanese people and those who take their design as inspiration for their home most definitely have deep love for nature.

According to their zen philosophy, beauty in world starts in the home and therefore we should invest in beauty.

Let’s dive deeper in to its features and see why we all like it so much.


When we are present In a Transitional japanese space, it feels always light and relaxing to our eyes. All those sliding doors, natural materials and illumination helps us feel this way.

There is never to much going on and all elements makes sense inside each room.  Everything is lightweight. 

It is well known for its minimalist design and usage of construction materials and furniture in their interior.

Light minimalistic Japanese design

Probably main reason was Word War II. People became scared to loose natural resource. They started to think how to get same effect with less construction and furniture used in living room and any other space. Minimalism was born! .

Natural Wood as main Material

Their Great and important feature is use of natural wood as main material in home’s construction and furniture.

Japanese people believe that natural material has its own language and soul. If you know how to communicate with them, then you can learn more about them. The beauty of nature can connect your soul with the furniture.

Japanese Design main feature is natural wood

The wood in Japanese houses is often tainted but never painted, since the paint would cover the highly prized grain.

Entire tree trunks may be used as roof beams, while the most expensive piece, often an unplanned length of Japanese cypress, is reserved for the Tokonoma.

Japanese Tokonoma

Tokonoma is small space inside Japanese home used to welcome important guests. It is actually built-in space inside their home. Most often home owner shows favorite and most valued art object there.


Minimalism and decluttering as Japanese design main feature are becoming lifestyle trend amoung many of us. Lot of countries are adopting Japanese style as a living style.

Most important thing about Japanese house is not focusing on outer beauty but rather pay more attention on inner beauty.

That doesn’t mean their exterior is not beautiful. It’s minimalistic use of materials combined with nature are forming amazing design outcomes.

japanese exterior design

In Japanese Interior or exterior you will not find any bright, striking colors or excessive decorations. On the othe hand, you can easily find them in Western houses.

Japanese Houses are only filled with furniture essential for their everyday life.

Very few or No walls

Houses in Japan carry on minimalistic approach also when thinking about inner walls and construction in general. Instead they uses Fusuma.

Fusuma are sliding panels. They work like doors and walls. These sliding panels are made out of bamboo bars and rice paper.

Fusuma walls
Fusuma walls

Fusuma walls can easily be moved or even taken off allowing them to change layout of the house easily and quickly with minimal effort.

Lack of furniture in their home is allowing them to use one room as a bedroom during the night and then use the same room as a living room.


We can describe Illumination as a lighting art within interior design. Lightning is considered as one of the key features of Japanese Home and their zen philosophy.

Ilumination is not just an add-on to their home but is considered as a material that can be felt and seen.

Japanese houses are designed and constructed in way to keep in mind motion of natural light. The spaces are illuminated with natural light to give fresh and lively look to the room and to connect with people’s feeling.

Natural light takes great part designing Japanese home
Natural light takes great part when designing Japanese home


Genkan is traditional Japanese entry way, first room in each of their house and gethering for your shoes. It’s mostly covered in stone tiles.

Here you will get welcomed by host. In Gekan you don’t sit anywhere. It is standing and waiting area for guest at the same time. After you get welcomed and invited inside, you put slippers on. They are in most cases already prepared for you as you can see on image below.

Zen Meditating Space

Meditating Space is really important part of Japanese house. They use it also for drinking Tea. Some rooms include also water feature to drown away all distracting noises. Room Is painted in soothing greens or browns with added live greenery.

Modular Design

Japanese urban city apartment are extremely small, which inspired the architects to become more intelligent and creative with the spaces. Becouse of this, modular design is very common in Japan.

Beautiful home can easily be divided into smaller livings spaces which are not only multifunctional but practical as well.

They love to use sliding doors to cover spaces and transform overall usage in to something completely new.

As on above picture, dining, sleeping or living room area can easily be transformed into a functional workspace within a couple of minutes.


Void in Japan means emptiness. It is like blank peace of paper ready to be painted in most beautiful minimalistic interior every seen.

You need to spread you creativity and imagination everywhere. Join power with creativity together to create something unique, amazing and light.


Japanese architectures focus on simplicity, nature, and sophistication and believe that detail should be present in everything.

After all, a good craftsman is the one who closely pays attention to details and makes it easy to feel the real aesthetic. Detail is not Just in decor but in furniture itself. Japanese are known to work hard to provide detailed and fine work in whatever they do and so in furniture.

White Color

Our world is a feast of most imaginative colors, but when it comes to white color, then it’s the most versatile, dynamic, and delicate.

Japanese people love white color because they consider it as a symbol of purity and emptiness.

White colored Japanese Interior design room

White color has a texture that can perfectly evoke the materiality of the objects. It doesn’t mean they ignore bright colors. They Just focus on greater things.

Get inspired with my pinterest Japan interior design board here.

Is Japanese style to minimalistic for you. Do you want to add splash of modern flavor but stil stick to its philosophy? Japandi would be great mix for you!

What is Japanese style bathroom?

Bathrooms in Japanese homes are seperated in two different rooms. One is with sink and toilet and other room in most cases with traditional japanese bath called Furo or more common Ofuro. It is short wooden bath with steep sides. They are more deeper compared to western style bathtubs. Around 25 inch in total.

Why is ikebana important to Japan?

Ikebana is Japanese art about flower arrangement. Most flowers In Japanese culture has their own symbolic meaning and association with certain season period. Both symbolism and seasonality are present in Traditional Ikebana arrangement. It is not about decoration, it is more about shapes and beauty of nature, flowers are providing to us.

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