The use of diffused light is another basic concept. Living and sleeping areas are flexible and are usually defined by movable screens. In some sleeping areas there are futons placed on the floor at night, then folded up during the day and stored away which allows for more living space. While this seems strange to Westerners, it is the Japanese way of life. Japanese interior design is based on a simple form of design if you understand the fundamental principles.
Japanese interior design involves an uncluttered clean look, which is why many Japanese homes seem empty compared to western homes. A few quality pieces of furniture are desirable in Japanese interior design, as a minimalist look is preferred. The straight-lined, unembellished type of sofa bed called the futon is popular in North America and other countries, but it originated in Japan. In Japan, the futon is lower in height and often covered in quilted rather that printed fabric. One pillow or a simple silk throw may be added rather than many pillows.
The overall feeling of Japanese interiors is spacious and serene. Accent pieces are kept to a minimum. A tall, striking flower arrangement called an ikebana is a classic Japanese accent for a room. A large lacquered box and dishware arranged on a table top are sometimes the only other decorative accessories in a room. Plain neutral colored tea sets placed on small tables are used frequently as functional accent pieces in Japanese interior design.
Black and white colors are the predominant colors of traditional Japanese interior design. Black wood sliding doors with white rice paper panels are used for dramatic, yet clean lined room dividers. Natural materials are a large part of Japanese decor. Besides black wood and rice paper screens, wicker chairs, silk fabrics and bamboo wood floors are featured. Rice paper is also used to cover lamps and this look of soft lighting adds to the tranquil feeling of Japanese interiors. Light straw floor mats called tatami contrasting with a darker floor are a classic feature of Japanese interior design.
Stone wall sections as well as pebbles and stones displayed as decorative accents are popular touches in Japanese interiors. If this type of interior design fascinates you, and you are interested learning more, take the time to select and read an interesting interior design book. And a book on Japanese interior design is the book you should read because the Japanese are indeed a fascinating culture to study and observe.