Many people---not just in Japan---gravitate toward Japanese decor for its clean, almost stark aesthetic. The streamlined furniture and minimalist adornments induce a feeling of calm that helps relax even the most stressed-out person. Even if your budget is tiny, you can still bring the essence of Japanese decor into your living space---and the relaxation, too.
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Cherry Blossom Silhouette
Whether you're a bona fide artist or haven't picked up a paintbrush since your fifth-grade art class, you can paint a silhouette of a cherry blossom tree. Pick a centrally located wall, in the living or dining room, and make sure that the background wall colour matches your future decorating plans. Pale blues, greys, greens and bamboo taupes can all work with a Japanese design scheme. Cover the area you wish to adorn with painter's tape. On top of the tape, sketch a cherry blossom tree freehand---working from photographs---or rig up a projector like some professional muralists do.
According to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there are many kinds of cherry blossom trees, including "Spire," "Taihaku," "Shirotae" and "Pendula." They each look a little different. Pick the one you like best. Cut the outline out of the tape with a razor blade, being extremely careful not to gouge the wall beneath, and proceed as if you're working with a giant stencil.
Floor Sitting Table
A lot of Japanese interiors feature low-slung furniture that requires sitting on the floor. Cut most of the legs off your dining room table (trim all four legs to equally short length), put a tatami mat underneath, and replace the chairs with cushions. If the table is wood, stain and lacquer it a deep, rich black.
Fast-growing bamboo tends to be inexpensive and features in many Japanese-style decorative items, including window blinds and mats that work as wall or floor coverings. Accent a simple side table with curling stems of "lucky bamboo," which is actually the easy-to-tend houseplant Dracaena---not bamboo.
According to a University of Illinois Extension "Master Gardener" article, lucky bamboo "symbolises good fortune" in feng shui principles. "Supposedly three stalks attract happiness, five attract wealth, seven results in good health, and 21 stalks offer a very powerful all-purpose blessing."
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