Create a stylish Japanese-inspired home with plants
With light, space and natural textures, plants are perfectly at home with Japanese-inspired décor.
Minimal, calming and natural, classic Japanese homes are always in style. Here’s how you can create the look.
- Bring nature in with plants
- Use calm colours and natural textures
- Try to create a sense of spaciousness
- Take a few cues from Minimalism
- Embrace the beauty of imperfections
1. Create a visual connection to nature with plants
One of the underlying principles of Japanese interior style is creating a connection to nature. So the lush greenery of houseplants lets you bring the outside in, and helps to evoke a sense of peace and calm.
You’ll often see Japanese rooms with outsized, statement-making plants – probably better described as small trees. A striking Kentia palm or fiddle leaf fig tree will command attention and create a sense of nature indoors. Ming aralias are great if you’re short on space, because they grow tall but compact.
2. Enhance a sense of natural light
Natural light is an important feature of Japanese-inspired interiors. Consider elegant, light-loving plants that will enhance this sense of airy tranquility. Wild banana, elephant-ear and dumb cane plants both have lush, shiny leaves and love to be near a bright window.
As for plants that love shade or soft light, you can keep them happy with window dressings. The bamboo blinds or gauzy drapes typically in keeping with the Japanese aesthetic will filter harsh direct sunlight and stop delicate leaves from getting sunburned.
3. Evoke a feeling of calm with neutral tones and natural textures
You’ll see a lot of neutral tones and natural textures in Japanese-style decor. Think pared-back colour schemes, plenty of woodwork, plus woven and clay materials.
4. Make your home feel as spacious as possible
A simple way to create a sense of space in your home is to draw focus to ground level. It’s a decorating trick that makes the ceiling feel higher and gives the illusion of more space. Place small, eye-catching plants like a schefflera on lava or an ant plant on a low side table to create moments of interest.
5. Go minimal – and let your plants stand out
You won’t see much clutter in the classic Japanese aesthetic. The style tends to lean towards Minimalism, with clean, clear surfaces and few objects on show. You can riff on this with eye-catching plants, used sparingly – for example, on a coffee table in the centre of the room. Create a slightly surrealist vibe with a single-leaf snake plant or add a pop of colour with a pink tradescantia.
6. Bring Japanese style to your garden or balcony too
If you’ve got a bit of outdoor space, you can give it a touch of Japanese style with an umbrella bamboo plant or a fatsia japonica. Both are native to Japan and love a mix of sun and shade. Combine them with a low bench and bamboo screens for a perfectly peaceful outdoor spot.
7. Embrace the philosophy of wabi-sabi
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese concept that celebrates natural, imperfect beauty and simplicity. It’s often described as an aesthetic but it’s also an attitude. And it’s such a good one to have when it comes to your home.
Maybe your favourite ornament has a chip and you just spotted a nick on your rubber plant’s leaf. But hey, that’s life. Everything you love gets a bit of wear and tear – including your plants. From funny-shaped leaves to scars and marks, they’re all natural, beautiful and individual. And this is your comfortable, unique space, flaws and all.
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