How to Invite a Little Zen into Your Home

How to Invite a Little Zen into Your Home

Sakura Kojima |

Originating from Japan, the concept of zen has become an increasingly popular approach to interior design, home-making, and even a way of life. 

Although as a concept, the word “zen” has been widely used and many of us are familiar with its broad meaning, the word “zen” originates from the teachings or practice of Zen Buddhism, and by definition, having “zen” qualities such as meditative calmness, peacefulness, and an attitude of acceptance.

In Japan, design and style that embodies the essence of zen culture incorporates the idea of “shibumi” - referring to a particular aesthetic of simple, subtle, effortless beauty. 

Today, we’d like to share some of the simple ways in which we can invite zen-inspired aesthetics into your sanctuary.

1. Declutter Your Surroundings

Decluttering your home or workspace can sometimes feel overwhelming, but it could be used as a meditative practice to live in the moment by letting go of your attachment to things that are no longer serving you. Not only does decluttering help to create clean physical space, it helps to clear your mind and allows you to think more freely and efficiently.

By letting go of the clutter and attachment to your past, you’re creating space for what’s to welcome you next.

2. Bring Nature in Your Home

Have you heard of the term, “Shinrin-yoku”, Japanese term for “forest bathing”? It’s a simple and therapeutic act of spending time in the forest that helps you de-stress and feel more grounded. Even if we don't have the luxury of spending time outdoors everyday, we can embrace the power of nature by bringing some greenery inside, even just a small hanging plant to start. The plants do not just make your home look visually appealing, they’re scientifically proven to soothe our mind and help us feel more connected to shizen (nature) and to ourselves.

3. Apply Wabi-sabi Philosophy

Wabi-sabi lies at the heart of Zen philosophy - it’s about making the most of life, accepting that things are never going to be perfect and embracing the imperfections in life as well as in objects. 

Rather than immediately letting go of old furniture with faded paint or clothing with faded fabrics and replacing with new ones, you can try to upcycle them by applying a fresh coat of paint or adding new hardwares. It breathes a new life to your old belongings - and brings out their character in a renewed form. 

Ready to give your cabinets a Wabi-sabi inspired look? Try our Tansu cabinet hardwares designed by a master cabinet craftsman in Japan.

4. Start a Herb Garden

You can look beyond just the inside of your home to create a peaceful and soothing space. Planting a herb garden (or flowers and veggies) is an easy and simple way to start your garden even if you live in a small garden space or no backyard at all. You can even get a few pots of herbs to get started, and you have access to fresh herbs or cooking or simply inhaling their scent every morning helps you feel rejuvenated.

5. Incorporate Natural Materials

Another focus on a zen inspired design is always creating space where you feel more grounded and connected to the source.

From your bedspread to your curtains, you can incorporate natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and wool to add inviting textures and aesthetics. Natural materials not just feel better on your skin, but also last longer and easier to maintain than synthetic materials. They’re more reasonable investments to make even on a functional level. If you’re looking for a pop of color, instead of going all neutrals, there are many fabric options that are dyed with natural and mineral dyes.