The minimalism associated with Japan takes its inspiration from the philosophies of the Zen Buddhist religion. This aesthetic focuses on cleanliness and simplicity in all parts of life. It also celebrates the beauty of ephemerality and imperfection. You can find minimalism throughout Japanese culture, including home interiors, art, and decorative items like flowers.
Zen Buddhism is complex, but at its core is the quest for each of us to achieve enlightenment. The keys to enlightenment are within each of us, and requires contemplation and accepting things as they are without being trapped in logic or words. To that end, the Zen aesthetic is one that allows focus, a calm mind, and contemplation.
A minimalist interior design inspired by Japanese Zen style often features several distinctive themes. The first is a lack of clutter, which allows for empty space. By focusing on just a few items, this design style allows for each item to be appreciated. There is nothing in a minimalist Japanese design scheme that is accidental: Each item is carefully chosen and displayed to the best advantage.
This aesthetic also generally has a neutral color palette, often on a backdrop of white or off-white walls. This helps even small spaces feel calm, spacious, and airy, and gives the eyes plenty of places to rest. The introduction of bright color may come from artwork or flowers, but is generally small and isolated so as not to distract from the calm, Zen feeling of the design.