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Zen Decorating Ideas

Updated on October 22, 2015

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Zen is a branch of Buddhism, a way of thinking, and an art of living. To decorate a home the zen way is to relate zen principles to everyday life, which should highlight simplicity and harmony with nature. There is no right or wrong. You don't need to have bamboo mats, shoji screens or a Zen rock garden to make your home appear more zen-like. Zen decoration is flexible and unlimited. It all depends on how you visualize harmony and want to transform it into a tangible picture.


Zen Decor and the Sense of Space

One unique and well-known characteristic of zen decoration is its minimalism or anti-ostentation. When entering a zen-style room, we often feel a sense of airiness and space right away. It does not mean, however, that we should make the room as empty as possible. The "space" here does not simply refer to emptiness, but rather a perfect balance between the occupied and unoccupied space. Choose your furniture items carefully and arrange them in a way that promotes calmness and relaxation.

The space outdoors is important as well. Think of your garden or backyard as an extended space of your inside rooms and try to build a connection with nature. A floor-to-ceiling glass window, for example, can create a sense of intimacy between the indoors and the lush garden beyond.


Bring Nature Inside

It can be difficult to reconnect with nature if you live in a hectic city. Everywhere you look, there are skyrocketing towers and traffic. The good news is you don't need to move into the forest to build an authentic zen home. Just bring nature inside your house and ignore the chaos. Imagine your home as your sanctuary. Strengthen your harmony with nature by using natural materials and earth colors. Go for wood flooring and furniture. Wood represents growth and liveliness as well as brings a relaxing sensation to the home. To complement the tones and textures of wood, you can also decorate your home with items made from natural fabrics such as silk, hemp or paper.

Unify and Divide

In a zen-style room, a screen or curtain is a more popular option for a room divider than a full-length wall. Think of a space as your soul; you wouldn't want it to be nailed down or closed up by a wall. A screen helps define separated areas without completely dividing the space. A sense of continuity and flexibility thus remains. Choose screens made from paper, latticework or sheer fabrics that diffuse the light and partially obscure the view beyond. They help create contrasted light and shade, and bring variation and depth into interior design.

Zen Bathroom

Having a bath or shower can be more than just a daily cleansing routine, but a time of relaxation and enjoyment. The Japanese have had a long tradition of cherishing the rejuvenating and soothing qualities of their volcanic springs in public baths. In Thailand and Bali, at dusk, sarong-clad villagers indulge themselves in canals or mountain streams to cool off from the scorching tropical weather. To create a Zen bathroom, decorate it with items that can help you reunite with nature, and cultivate refreshment and calmness from this cleansing ritual. Bring forth earthy picturesqueness with textural stone and wood, but don't forget about the concept of simplicity. For example, you can use a small ladder to hang your towels, or turn a large clam shell into a lovely soap dish.


Submit a Comment
  • Elexis Steele profile image

    Elexis Steele 

    6 years ago

    Love this! Check out my hub also :)

  • adampeters profile image


    10 years ago

    Awesome hub, I just wanted to tell you because is a great complement and nice reading for my Asian furniture readers as well. I've recommended them all to come and read your entire hub.

  • Jaynie2000 profile image


    10 years ago

    Very cool. I'm into the idea of zen and feng shui. I'm always looking to simplify and beautiful my life while creating a relaxing atmosphere for myself and my busy family.

  • Peggy W profile image

    Peggy Woods 

    11 years ago from Houston, Texas

    I loved the photos and explanation. I think that homes can too easily become cluttered with things which works against this spirit of zen which seems to be a freeing of the spirit, mind and soul. Rating this useful! Thanks!

  • relica profile image


    11 years ago from California

    Beautiful Hub. I espceially love how you explain your use of space as the perfect balance between occupied and unoccupied space. And while I love the aesthetic of the wood and rocks on the bathroom floor, I fear that it may be a nightmare to deal with on cleaning day, but I adore the concept.

  • readabook profile image


    12 years ago from Texas

    Nice hub. So many times the subject of Zen can be so confusing but you gave some very straight forward instructions which anyone can follow.


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