How to Design a Zen Style Living Room

Kaidan Tunsu
Kaidan Tunsu | Source

Zen design has long been a steady influence in Japanese culture. When you think of zen design, often the elements and aesthetics are those that reflect Japanese thinking. Zen design has been around for a long time, and continues to have a broad appeal due to its clean lines and simplicity. Zen decor adds a sense of calm to your decor; add it your living room with just a few simple design ideas and modifications.

An easy way to add Zen decor is to add a futon to your living room. In Japan, futons are placed on mats that are then enclosed by portable, folding screens. You will often find rice paper lamps placed around a futon. In the U.S., futons are generally placed on a low, wooden or metal frame, and can double as a bed at night, and a sofa during the daytime hours.

A stepped storage chest, one that looks like stairs is included in Zen design. These steps are called kaidan tansu. These steps originated in rural Japan, in the pre-industrial age. Once used as actual steps, they are now used as decorative features. You can use them for storage as well as display. Built in drawers make great storage areas, while the tops of the steps can be used to display artful objects like photos or beautiful ceramics. These steps may also be used as room dividers to help break up a large space.

The natural elements are important components of Zen design. Water, fire, wood, earth and metal are elements that can be added to your living room to create a Zen-like atmosphere. Use sisal or grass type rugs for a natural feeling underfoot. Natural wood floors are another way to add the wood element. Water elements can be added in the way of water fountains. Choose a fountain that is made of metal to include the metal element. Living plants are another important natural element that must be added to prevent a Zen design from feeling cold and impersonal. Bamboo is a common choice with its sleek lines and streamlined appearance. A fireplace feature might have a stack of wood on either side for balance and serenity.

Sliding doors help to break up interior spaces and create new living spaces. Use doors to separate two rooms. Shade doors with rice paper for privacy. In lieu of doors, use folding screens to create the same effect with more portability. The whole idea is to create a flexible and serene space in your living room.

However you decide to incorporate Zen design into your living room, you are sure to experience a more relaxed space for your day to day living.

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MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

I like the idea of the kaidan tansu. A friend used this concept to divide her living room from the kitchen. It was really cool. I didn't know what it was called until now. Nice hub to help us create a living room using zen styling.

valery elias profile image

valery elias 4 years ago Author

I love the look of these as a room divider, they make a great conversation piece as well!

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