Welcome to Week 2 of Japanese Simplicity—clearing your interior environment to rejuvenate your mind!

Have you cleared out the stale energy of those drawers full of old lipsticks and receipts yet?  In last week’s Part 1: Decluttering, we emphasized the importance of having clean and open spaces as the foundations of a smooth-running, well-designed, stylish household. This week we’ll discuss the joys of simplicity when it comes to beds and what to look for in frames and bedding to evoke that feel of serenity for that perfect night’s sleep.

Here’s a quick review the seven Japanese design aesthetic principles:

  • Kanso: simplicity and elimination of clutter. Key word: clarity
  • Fukinsei: asymmetry or irregularity. Relax—imperfections are what make life beautiful and engaging!
  • Shibumi: elegant, understated, minimalistic. Less is more.
  • Shizen: organic. Raw creativity with a purpose.
  • Yugen: subtle suggestions rather than statements. Think well-placed splashes of color.
  • Datsuzoku: freedom from the day-to-day and ordinary. Let a few things in your home take you away from home.
  • Seijaku: active calm, tranquility. Still, but never stagnant.

Traditional Japanese beds are called futons, thick comforter-like bedding that is placed on the floor that can rolled up and tucked away in a closet to save space. Of course, such asceticism is really unnecessary (unless the three of you are sharing a cramped studio apartment), but effective bedding should capture the same simplicity and lack of adornment. Let’s first take a look at some model bed frames that embody Japanese design principles.


Keyword search: modern, contemporary, platform bed

The most minimalistic of all beds, the platform bed eliminates the need of a box-spring mattress foundation by supporting the mattress directly on top of its flat, horizontal surface. Sophisticated and simple, these beds will add an air of tranquility to your spaces and make them seem bigger.

Modern Platform Bed

Staccato Bed by foamorder.com

Note the sharp, pristine lines and solid headboard. Dark-grained woods give an exceptionally dramatic effect. *sigh* Art. Simply put.

Isabella Modern.

Look for variations in underbed storage and period styles.

Malm Bed by IKEA

Oh my gosh! One a college kid can actually afford!


Bedding is the most expressive feature of the bedroom and should be used to showcase your personal style and creativity! Avoid those drab bed-in-a-bags and mix and match your own combinations of pillowcases, sheets, and duvets. To infuse that effortless Japanese flair into your room, put together bedding sets that have:

  • Natural fabrics (cotton and cotton blends) for a comfortable, breathable feel
  • 300+ thread count
  • Minimum or nonexistent accessories
  • Airy, colorful, bright floral or whimsical prints

Anthropologieand Urban Outfitters carry amazing sheet sets and duvet colors that fit the bill perfectly. J’aime these prints!! Have a look (images are linked to product pages).

Sunbird Sheet Set by Anthropologie

Filigree Leaf Sheet Set by Anthropologie.com

Filigree Leaf Sheet Set by Anthropologie.com

50's Birdcage Duvet Cover

50’s Birdcage Duvet Cover by UrbanOutfitters.com

Birdie Stamp Duvet Cover

Birdie Stamp Duvet Cover by UrbanOutfitters.com

UO Falling Leaves Quilt

Falling Leaves by Urban Outfitters

Don’t you just feel more peaceful and relaxed already?

Stay tuned for more Japanese simplicity for your home next week! I’m not sure what I’ll write about yet, but I’ll think of something. Maybe like storage and desks. Yeah. That sounds good.