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If you're remodeling or building a bath, you may want to explore options for Japanese-style bathrooms. These elegant, soothing rooms often feature elements of traditional Japanese architecture, art and design. Paired with contemporary or modern decor, they can create a luxurious and relaxing space.
Traditional Japanese bathroom design relies heavily on the use of natural materials. In particular, natural wood and stone are commonly featured in Japanese-style bathrooms. These materials can be used interchangeably for surfaces like sink tops and flooring, and they can effectively bring the outside into the space via the use of unfinished wood and matte or rough-hewn stone. Rock gardens, fountains, ferns and other natural elements may also appear in Japanese-style bathrooms, further emphasizing a connection to the natural world.
Furniture in Japanese-style bathrooms is most often made from high-quality hardwoods, often unfinished or stained to deepen the natural appearance of the wood. Furniture is often sturdily built, with chairs, benches and dressing tables all serving to anchor a substantial but soothing design style. Shoji and other screens are also commonly featured in Japanese bathroom design. Used both for privacy and decor, these thin, wood-framed design elements can help demarcate areas of the bath space and are easily portable as well. The light and airy design of screens is a great complement to larger, heavier design elements like wooden or stone tubs, sinks and countertops. Screens may also feature beautiful printed designs depicting historical Japanese culture, flora and fauna or landscapes.
Angular furniture, countertops or pedestals for sinks or tubs can be offset by the use of flowing curves in other aspects of the design, like sinks and tubs themselves. Often bowl- or basin-shaped, tubs in Japanese-style bathrooms can be constructed from wood, metal or porcelain, boasting bold, wave-like curves and substantial design. Sinks are often made from wood, metal, porcelain or glass, and they may reflect the same flowing, curvy design. This sleek yet soothing design approach for major fixtures can be a great contrast to rougher surfaces and chunkier designs used for countertops, flooring or garden elements.
One of the major tenets of Japanese bathroom design is an open flow from one area of the space to the next. To achieve this goal with your bathroom design, consider using screens or low walls to segment the space, or, if possible, use glass instead of full walls wherever possible. Similarly, a glass-enclosed shower stall can go a long way toward opening up the space and creating a Japanese bathroom that would feel right at home in Kyoto.