Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
When designing a bathroom based on Japanese design, it helps to keep in mind that the bath tends to be a centerpiece in a Japanese home. Japanese culture has always had an emphasis on the relaxing aspects of the bath, whether in the home or in traditional bathhouses. The design is simple, tranquil and often minimalistic, and yet luxurious at the same time.
The Soaking Tub
The focal point of the Japanese bathroom is the deep soaking tub, or ofuro. This tub is used strictly for soaking, and can be made from a variety of different materials, such as stone, concrete, ceramic, or crafted wood. The water for these large deep tubs is almost always provided by an on-demand water heater, as it is not considered efficient to keep water heated constantly unless there is a need for it. However, before using the ofuro, a shower is used first for actual body cleansing.
The Toilet and Vanity Area
In a Japanese bathroom, the toilet area is kept separate from the rest of the bathroom. Ideally, an adjoining room would be perfect for this type of arrangement. Minimally, you would want to use a shoji screen to create this separate and partition for the toilet area of the bathroom. By using this type of separation, there is nothing to detract from the overall simplistic and relaxing appearance in the tub portion of the bathroom.
Colors and Materials for the Japanese Bathroom
The Japanese bath will have an emphasis on simplicity in color and the use of natural materials. Light neutral colors are the norm in the Japanese bath, including white and all shades of off-whites, combined with other earth tone shades. Natural materials such as wood, bamboo and stone, in addition to the traditional rice paper used in wooden shoji screens, will feel at home in the Japanese bath. Contrasting materials are desirable, such as using natural straw mats on a polished floor, or a silk cushion on a wooden bench. Although the overall color scheme of the Japanese bath will be light and neutral, this doesn't mean that an accent color cannot be used. In fact, the use of a bright accent color in one focal point of the room can be quite effective. However, if you re-use the color in other areas of the room, or add multiple accent colors, you will detract from the overall decorating effect that you are trying to achieve.
Wall Decoration and Accessories
Simplicity is the key to keep in mind when decorating the Japanese bathroom. Wall decorations should be kept to a minimum, as too much decoration can create a sense of clutter which will ruin the overall sense of simplicity and serenity. Instead, one unique piece of art used as a focal point on one wall is a much better decorating approach. Restraint should also be used in the placement of any type of decoration or accessory, and instead a few simple items such as a couple of pebbles or a bamboo plant in a simple planter would be more effective and appropriate.