Add subtle hints of color and texture to white walls with sumi-e and calligraphy paintings.

Japanese-Style Bedroom Colors

by Lisa Monroe

Japanese-style bedrooms are sparsely decorated and colored with soft and subdued earth tones, such as greens, greys and browns. Use bold and bright colors sparingly within artwork and fabrics. Continuity is essential. Try to use similar colors and shades when decorating your walls, flooring and windows. Use natural woods and living plants to give your bedroom texture.

1. Walls and Flooring

Japanese bedrooms usually contain one single color on all the walls: white, cream or tan. Avoid using wallpaper that contains heavy textures and multiple colors. Keep it simple. If you’d like to add some texture, hang up a Japanese sumi-e painting, which is created by using the minimum amount of brush strokes and color. Use laminate or hardwood flooring in a dark tone that contrasts with brighter, neutrally colored walls. Instead of rugs, use rice straw tatami mats.

2. Windows and Blinds

Natural lighting is one of the most important aspects of the Japanese look. Paint window frames black or brown, and replace curtains with rice paper blinds, again keeping simplicity in mind. Blinds that blend with the color of the walls give the window frames more prominence. Rice paper blinds also soften the exterior light as it enters the bedroom. Use bamboo blinds in their natural finish, or for more color, paint them a deep red or dark blue to keep the Japanese theme in mind without dominating the room.

3. Furniture

Japanese beds are very low and often use a dark wood, such as rosewood, elm or cedar. High-gloss black lacquer is also very common. Use a light, earth-tone duvet such as tan. Add some pops of color with deep red or dark blue silk pillow throws. Place a wood or bamboo framed shoji screen in front of any area that ruins the Japanese aesthetic, such as a computer desk. Keep all of your other furniture, such as chests of drawers, as close to the floor as possible to open up the space.

4. Fabrics and Accessories

If you think your Japanese-themed room looks a little too bland, add subtle bursts of red, blue and green through accessories, which will blend with the earth tones without stealing too much attention. Add a little green by using a bonsai tree as an accent piece. Beige and cream rice paper lampshades are quintessentially Japanese and can further soften the light. Black lacquer saki or tea sets usually contain splashes of more vibrant colors, such as red. Arrange them together on an accent table to brighten up your room without making the accessories overbearing.

About the Author

Based in Somerset, Lisa Monroe has worked as a professional interior designer since 1998. In 2012, Monroe started putting her knowledge into practice, writing articles for both online and offline publications. She holds a degree in creative arts from Bath Spa University.

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