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Japanese Kitchen Designs in Wood, Metal and More
By:Alyssa Davis

Japanese Kitchen Designs in Wood, Metal and More

When one thinks of traditional Japanese kitchen designs, there's usually a focus on making the kitchen simple and functional, designed around the cooking techniques which will be used. Since traditional Japanese cooking usually centers on techniques such as boiling, steaming, grilling, broiling and frying, you'll find utensils and storage areas designed to accommodate these needs. However, in keeping with the Japanese focus on simplicity, you won't find anything in the kitchen which isn't absolutely needed. This creates a refreshing approach to decorating, which is almost the opposite of the Western habit of filling most areas of the room with some accessory or accent item, or items which are never used.

Wood in the Japanese Kitchen

Many beautiful Japanese kitchen designs focus on the beauty of wood, including wooden cabinets, flooring, and perhaps the inclusion of a traditional Japanese kitchen tansu. A Japanese kitchen tansu or mizuya dansu is a cabinet, typically featuring cupboards as well as many drawers of all shapes and sizes. This traditional piece of furniture is almost always made in two sections, which can be stacked or sat side by side. As with all wooden elements in a traditional Japanese kitchen, it makes a harmonious design statement, which helps to provide the orderliness and structure that is the hallmark of Japanese decorating.

Metal in the Japanese Kitchen

In many modern Japanese kitchens, there is an increasing focus on the use of decorative metals, including the use of sleek stainless steel for appliances, sinks, and cabinets. This style of Japanese kitchen has a beautiful simplicity, with a rather stark appearance as opposed to the quaintness of a more traditional Japanese kitchen. This style of kitchen decor usually leverages the white or off-white walls which are so popular in Japanese home decorating. The effect of the sleek stainless steel against the white walls, with perhaps one striking focal point of color, can create a classic Japanese style that makes the kitchen almost a sanctuary.

Overall Design Techniques

When designing a Japanese kitchen, try to create a focal point in the center of the room. Traditional Japanese design leans towards keeping the perimeter of the room open, allowing people to move freely around the room. If the kitchen is large enough, an island in the center where cooking or food preparation could take place, or an area where the family could gather to eat and have conversation, would be a good design touch. In the Japanese tradition, it is desirable to create balance with textures and materials that contrast strongly with each other. While some might think that this would go against the overall decorating goal, in fact it fits with the traditional concept of yin and yang. This technique can also be used effectively with color. For example, if the overall kitchen color theme focuses on white walls with metallic accessories, or perhaps eggshell walls with a traditional wood decor, choose an accent color for one element to create a visual focal point within the room. However, resist the urge to re-use this accent color in other spots within the room, as this will take away from the simplicity in design that you are trying to create in your Japanese kitchen.

Alyssa Davis

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