Japanese Dining Room Design Ideas

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It's easy to be seduced by the subtle and exotic elements that represent Japanese design. Whether your interest stems from a love of Japanese artwork or architecture or if you're just looking to broaden your design horizons, Japanese design is a great approach. If you're looking to incorporate the Japanese design aesthetic into your home, the dining room is a great place to start.

Getting Comfortable With Minimalism

The art of minimalism is a key factor in Japanese design. Used often in architecture, minimalism requires reducing an object to its necessary elements. There are three things you must consider, when taking a minimalist approach to interior design:

  • Lighting
  • Color
  • Space

When it comes to lighting, use a mathematical eye. Think of your design elements as a group of geometric shapes. Japanese-style architecture and design uses basic circle, square and triangle elements to create complicated and intricate patterns. Choose lighting that you can control and manipulate. Track lighting is a great addition to any room where minimalism is a practice. Point the brightest lights at elements you want to highlight, and use shadows to cast dramatic effects on your space.

Minimalism uses simple color schemes to make big statements. Pick a family of color that complements your overall home design and use minimalism to manipulate it in your dining area. Avoid colors that are too vibrant, and opt for colors that appear in nature. Clean finishes and subtle detailing in your color scheme will bring your dining space together.

Be smart about space. Avoid clutter at all costs. Minimalism is about openness, so free up as much space as you can. Arrange furniture along the same lines as you arranged lighting. Use geometric shapes as a starting point, and do your best to incorporate solid, clean lines. Minimalism requires a great attention to detail, so if you find yourself measuring out the space between your table and chairs, don't fret. Remember that with minimalism, less is more.

Ready for Planting Finished Product

Pick The Right Furniture

Japanese-style is an emerging trend in the furniture industry. With its "form meets function" design, Japanese furniture allows professional and amateur interior designers to create cohesive by combining seemingly unique pieces. Since Japanese design requires you to practice minimalism, stick to these three basic elements when it comes to dining room furniture:

  • Dining room table
  • Chairs
  • Dining room bar or hutch

Research styles online before you venture out to your local furniture stores. Bring your pencil, paper, and measuring tape so you can be sure your room comes together nicely.

Décor, Accents And Wall Art

Japanese art spans all forms of media-pottery, wood, bronze, ink, paint, and silk. If it can be created by hand, it exists in Japanese art. Unique elements like Japanese woodblocks and silk paintings can give your dining room an individualism that sets it apart. If you've got the time and the budget, you can commission an artist to create a piece that features your family name in Japanese characters.

When it comes to table décor, you can stay traditional or be creative. Votive candles would be a nice accent, but keep that minimalist approach to space in mind. Fresh flowers make a beautiful, natural centerpiece. Some examples of some Japanese-design-friendly options are:

  • Cherry Blossoms
  • Lillies
  • Orchids

In true Japanese fashion, steer clear of fake flowers. Remember that Japanese design embraces nature and the elements, and any sort of fabrication should be avoided if possible.

Consider incorporating a fountain into your design. Running water creates a sense of tranquility that is key in Japanese design. Most home design stores have small options that require very little maintenance. If you want to ensure maximum tranquility in your dining space, be sure to clear the room of all distracting electronics. If you like to dine with music, choose soft, slow-paced songs. Classical music is a great option to accompany your Japanese design.


Japanese-inspired plates and dishes are the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to creating a full-fledged Japanese dining space. You're minimalist skills will be tested once again when it comes to picking out the perfect pieces. Dinnerware is another great place to incorporate nature. Hand-painted plates that feature scenes from nature are a staple for your Japanese dining room.

Don't forget to forgo the forks and spoons and try your hand at chopsticks. These can be pleasantly displayed alongside the cloth napkins you've folded. Traditional Japanese table settings call for origami-style napkin folding. There are books and online tutorials that can help you here.

Incorporating a Japanese design aesthetic into your home is a great way to broaden your horizons, and the dining room is a great place to start. Make sure you carry the minimalist approach along throughout the entire design process. Don't forget-less is more!

Last Updated: October 7, 2011
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for IdealHomeGarden.com.

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