Minimalism is in this season in the world of interior design, and a style that is often quoted as the landmark example in this décor category is the Japanese art of Zen. Characterized by natural materials, barebones layouts and simple lines, Japanese design focuses on function and free energy flow rather than luxury and visual interest. If you want to transform your bedroom into a private Zen haven, there are several adjustments you will have to make, including choice of colors, fabrics and boudoir furniture, as well as lighting options and accessories.
To render a Zen ambiance to your bedroom, go with soft, natural colors that have a calming effect. Gentle, neutral tones such as white, cream, beige or light bamboo will make an excellent wall paint choice, while the furnishings should be in brown, grey or subdued green tones. Visual distractions and multitude of colors are not conducive to de-stressing, resting and energy flow, so try to maintain a consistent color scheme throughout the room. Use bold and bright shades only if necessary, e.g. as accents in Japanese drapes or wall art.
In a Zen bedroom, balance, openness and stability are vital, so keep your furniture minimal and low to the ground. For best visual effects, pick elements that have a minimal monochromatic design and clean lines. The focus in Japanese décor rests on the essential rather than lavish, so your bedroom should feature only the indispensable furnishings such as a platform bed (a thick mattress placed directly on the floor will do the trick equally well), a short-leg coffee table and unpretentious wardrobe or a drawer dresser. Avoid clustering furniture to create a fresh, airy atmosphere favored in the East.
Illumination plays an important role in a Japanese bedroom, and the best light source for a Zen-styled home is natural light. For ample sunlight, install large windows and keep the curtains pulled back – this will make the room more welcoming and create an optimal unity of the outdoor area and the room interior. Artificial light sources such as pendant shades and nightstand lamps should be employed cautiously and if their use is necessary, they should be concealed to achieve a minimalist, non-Western look. Standing floor lamps with wooden bases and spherical paper lanterns in natural colors, however, are generally acceptable as they are common in Japanese bedrooms.
For a Japanese feel in the boudoir, make use of organic fabrics such as cotton and silk. Get linens and curtains in natural, light colors or using unbleached textiles. Dark blue materials are also well-suited to the Zen style in case you want to add an accent tone to the room. Standard floor coverings should be replaced by a tatami mat, a traditional Japanese rug crafted from compressed rice straws. For visual interest, throw in a couple of decorative cushions or bed covers with Japanese embroidery simulations.
The Japanese style is predominantly minimalist, but a few practical accessories can help achieve a homely atmosphere in the bedroom. A Shoji screen made from a bamboo or wooden frame and translucent paper or hand-painted silk panel will add a dash of authentic Japan to your private area while helping you conceal the bed, an unsightly pile of clutter or the TV (if you truly cannot go without it in your sleeping premises). Other potential Zen accessories include bonsai trees, ikebana arrangements, pot pourri boxes, silk curtains, floor pillows and art paintings with swallows, cherry blossom or similar nature-inspired designs.
If your lifetime dream is to visit Japan, perhaps a Zen feel at home can tide you over until you save up enough money to travel to the East. Follow these simple tips and transform your master bedroom into your private cradle of Japanese harmony, peace and elegance.