Traditional Japanese houses can be small, and the dining room frequently has to serve other purposes, sometimes even doubling as a bedroom. Sparseness of design serves flexibility, and it appeals to the Japanese predilection for minimalism. Bright walls, clutter or busy furniture won’t do in a Japanese dining room design. Instead, the room should have more space than content, and whatever decor you include should broaden the sense of space by appealing to natural aesthetics.
Walls and Floor – Deep, earth greens and browns allow the walls to blend subtly with the typical tatami mat floor you find in most Japanese dining rooms, but you may choose to attract attention to one particular wall by highlighting it with an ochre or rust finish. Real tatami mats aren’t a good fit in a Western environment, but you can purchase roll-out straw mats that convey the same visual impression. If the mat doesn’t cover the entire area, it blends well with a dark hardwood or carbonized bamboo floor that has a minimal amount of visible grain to catch the eye.
5 Photos Gallery of: Japanese Dining Room Design Ideas
Furnishings – You usually won’t find much else in a Japanese dining room besides the table. Standard chairs are only necessary if it is dinner-table height — you can arrange pillows or legless chairs around a low Japanese-style table. The table should be made of wood, have simple, straight lines and ideally have a black or orange lacquer finish. Matching chairs increase the feeling of simplicity, as do simple Japanese pillows, called zabuton. One or two standing or hanging lamps with shades made from the Japanese paper known as washi or from some other natural material can complement the simple setting.
Space and Light – Shoji sliding doors usually define the space in a Japanese dining room design, and you can simulate them by strategically placing one or two folding shoji screens. Their prime function is to separate the dining space from the rest of the house, but they impart a cultural signature because they are so typically Japanese. If the windows open to a natural setting, you should keep them uncovered. You can obscure a view that isn’t worth keeping, however, with more translucent paper screens that allow daylight into the room, and you can iIlluminate those screens from behind for atmospheric night lighting.
Decor – In a traditional Japanese house, the focus of the dining room is usually the tokonoma, which is an alcove that contains an altar-like arrangement of flowers on a simple table. The flowers should be fresh and in season. A few tasteful wall hangings help provide visual interest by complementing the arrangement without competing with it for attention. Hangings that work well in the dining room often depict natural scenes, such as mountainous landscapes or birds. Stylistic renderings of Chinese characters can give the room a Zen touch, particularly if the characters are simple and meaningful.
If you want to create the real Japanese dining room design, you should always remember the key; bring the tranquility inside.