15 Minimalist Home Design Principles with a Japanese Style Touch

15 Minimalist Home Design Principles with a Japanese Style Touch

japanese home design element

One word that describes the Japanese home design heritage: Zen. Yes, simplicity with a peaceful nuance represents the simple design of Japanese culture. Thousands of years of tradition have influenced Japanese home architecture and interior design aesthetics, creating an environment of serenity and high cultural value.

Japanese home style develops around a life that is clean and free from clutter, maintaining balance, order, ancient traditions, and a love of natural beauty. By taking advantage of different levels of floors, corners, and the contrast between open spaces and comfortable corners, all these elements have created a unique Japanese minimalist home that reflects both sensibility and comfort.

Japanese home styles tend to be small and located close to each other, whether in urban or rural areas. However, the main characteristics of traditional Japanese home design are privacy, natural light, protection from some elements and a connection with the outdoors — no matter the size of the house or its location.

The main principle of Japanese minimalist home style
Most Japanese minimalist home styles in urban areas often contain traditional characteristics, such as a bath or stepped entrance. Likewise, many Western-style houses in Japan have one large Japanese-style room with tatami floors. The design elements of traditional Japanese houses, which are an inspiration to Western architects, can be found all over the world. The following are some important concepts of Japanese home architecture.

  1. The main gate

The main element of delineating the boundaries between public and private spaces in Japanese home architecture starts at the entrance gate of a property. This Japanese house-style roofed gate separates the street from the residence which has the impression of being closed.

The modern-roofed gate in Ashari Architects’ Palembang House is also an adaptation of Japanese house design, which always applies vertical or horizontal line elements in most of its gate designs.

The Concrete Box House in Houston, Texas, by Christopher Robertson, also applies a minimalist Japanese house design with a high concrete fence and a gate without a pivot door model.

  1. Limits of privacy

Privacy from the road and surrounding houses is achieved through the walls at the land boundary. This also applies to Japanese minimalist home designs. Block concrete is the material most commonly used for the walls of Japanese houses, both in cities and villages, but some large houses use stone walls with a combination of wooden fences, such as the PRIVAT HOUSE KLATEN house created by Hendra Budi Architect.

  1. Wide roof

Traditional Japanese roofs are generally designed to drain the heavy rainwater from the roof of the house. The wide cantilevered roof allows residents to open the door for ventilation without letting rainwater enter the house. Japanese minimalist home design can also adapt this supporting element.

  1. Wide veranda

Apart from connecting each room, the veranda in the form of a wide and long hallway known as engawa becomes a barrier between the inner and outer spaces. This veranda also serves to maximize light and air in the house.

Apart from connecting each room, the veranda in the form of a wide and long hallway known as engawa becomes a barrier between the inner and outer spaces. This veranda also serves to maximize light and air in the house.

Japanese house architecture is generally in a land that is oriented north-south, with the main bedroom facing south, to ensure stable sunlight throughout the day. View is very important in Japanese home style, ideally mountains or water, but more often it is garden. Natural lighting is considered a major characteristic of Japanese home design.

The Japanese house style W_House created by Studio Air Putih makes use of many openings and outdoor spaces to maximize ventilation and natural lighting.

  1. Outer-inside transition

The transitional space between outside and inside in Japanese house architecture is called genkan, which is an area for receiving visitors and a place to change shoes with house slippers that are removed before stepping on the tatami floor. With a space function similar to that of a foyer, genkan usually has a shelf or cabinet called a getabako that is used to store shoes and decorative items such as ceramics, flowers, or works of art. This entrance area also has a tokonoma (niche) for storing scrolls of calligraphy paper and other artwork, as well as ikebana (traditional flower arrangements).

By adapting the style of this Japanese house, Delution Architect’s Splow House creates an entrance area with a clean and simple design. This console-style concrete bench can double as a seat, as well as to place sandals or shoes under it.

  1. Nature in space

Japanese culture emphasizes love and respect for nature. The best way to maintain a strong connection with nature is to include natural elements in the room. Water is one of the strongest elements that accentuate the distinctive architectural features of Japanese houses. You can add a fish pond to your indoor garden to highlight this element.

Adding traditional Japanese plants, such as bonsai and bamboo, to your home will give a little touch of Japanese culture. However, you can also add other types of greenery and still create a similar style. Consider adding slender plants like palms or orchids. Whatever type of plant you choose, stick to simple, natural, and green principles.

The indoor nature of the Japanese home style can also be achieved by adding large and spacious windows that allow natural views from all over. Like the bedroom below, large sliding glass doors incorporate a serene natural view into the room.