A traditional Japanese bedroom is known for its minimalist style, having clean lines and little or no furniture and accessories. This style, which emerged in Japan as early as the 14th century, is sometimes referred to as "Zen," the Japanese word that describes the feeling of being in a meditative state. Its basic principle in design is to use only what's necessary. Today, a bedroom may be designed in the Japanese style in numerous ways to create your own peaceful retreat.
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Traditionally, a Japanese-style bedroom would make use of neutral colours such as white, cream, beige and brown. These colours are used for the walls and accessories in the bedroom. However, if you're not aiming for a traditional Japanese bedroom, you can incorporate pops of colour, such as with colour on the walls or the bedding that you choose. Contemporary Japanese bedrooms may even be painted in pale shades of green or blue. Likewise, walls covered in natural-fibre wallpaper such as grasscloth may be used in Japanese design.
The focal point of a Japanese-style bedroom is the bed. In a modern Japanese-style bedroom, you'll need a platform bed that's low to the ground. A traditional Japanese bedroom would have the mattress on the floor on top of tatami mats, which are mats made of straw. These may also be used to cover the entire bedroom floor. Bedside tables are not usually found in a Japanese bedroom, but if you choose to do so, use tables with clean lines. Modern Japanese bedrooms may even have a low ledge around the entire room instead of bedside tables. If you have a large room, you can design with a low table and large throw pillows to sit on.
Traditionally, Japanese bedding is all white. However, modern Japanese designs sometimes use black bedding. A mixture of white sheets and a black or coloured throw is appropriate. If you're not designing in the traditional Japanese style, you can use bedding with Japanese prints such as bamboo or "sakura," which are Japanese flowering cherry blossoms. You may also find bedding with traditional Japanese prints such as the "seigaiha," a wave crest, and "bangasa," an old Japanese-style umbrella.
You may want to separate an area with a shoji screen, which is traditionally made of wood and pulp rice paper. If you have bedside tables, you can use shoji lamps, or place the lamps on the floor. Your walls may be decorated with Japanese scrolls, hand fans or reproductions of Japanese woodblock prints, known as "ukiyo-e." Other decorative items suitable for a Japanese bedroom are bonsai plants and kimono robes. When designing with accessories for a Japanese bedroom, remember to keep things at a minimum. You don't want to have all these accessories in one bedroom.
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