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Love MUJI? You'll Be Obsessed with This Japanese Home Trend

May 25, 2018

What is Kanso for interior design?

At its most basic, the philosophy behind the Japanese 'Kanso' is simply – simplicity.

In interior design terms, Kanso can also be described as a décor concept that contains many elements of minimalism as well as Wabi-sabi (transience and imperfection). But how does it translate into every day home décor? Here are five core concepts to apply practically for Kanso inspired homes:

1. Embrace imperfections

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: Yong Studio

There’s no such thing as perfect; asymmetry exists everywhere. In fact, just look around your home and you’re sure to find something that doesn’t quite fit.

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: Pocket Square

Maybe it’s an odd angle that you can never figure out what to do with or even a small space issue. Whatever the limitations, learn to embrace it and work with it. For instance, work around irregular nooks or windows by softening edges with an indoor plant. Otherwise, such spaces can even be used for more storage; hire a good carpenter to customise shelving or concealed storage for asymmetric zones.

2. Prioritise peace and quiet

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: Schemacraft (Singapore)

For most, the home is a safe space away from the chaos of everyday life and as such, it needs to be decorated to vibe out serenity and silence. Consider making décor choices with calming colours, materials and patterns that reflect tranquillity.

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: SQFT Space Design Management

For instance, opt for soothing pale grey, cool blue and lavender hues for walls and drapes. Choose soft materials like gentle lace for curtains or plush pile fabric for sofas. If you have the space, think about setting up a peaceful retreat i.e. a reading nook, music corner or meditation area.

3. Practice austere flair

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: Core Design Workshop

Be ‘ruthless’ and get rid of EVERYTHING you don’t need. An unintentionally cluttered home can almost never look good. Moreover, when your home is filled with pieces of furniture or knick-knacks that don’t serve you – it is taking up precious space. Start by a conducting a major spring sweep! Box away things you may need later on, recycled, donate or sell the stuff you can’t use anymore and upcycle the pieces you love.

4. Go au naturel

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: In2Space Interior (Singapore)

The idea behind naturalness is not just limited to a less-is-more concept. Being natural in these terms, has to do with finding the purpose or motivation behind your design decisions. Before going forward with designing any room in the home, try to figure out what it is you want from that particular space i.e. what are the ‘nature’ of your concerns ?

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: Spazio Design

For instance, when considering your kitchen, think about what it will be used for. Is it just for light food prep or do you expect to frequently make full family dinners? By committing to a purpose, you are less likely to fill your kitchen with useless, ornate items that add clutter. Instead, you’ll be able to maximise kitchen real estate and focus on efficient appliances, sufficient storage, even lighting, long-lasting, low-maintenance materials, and space planning for effective traffic flow around your kitchen.

5. Be unconventional

Kanso Japanese Interior Design
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Interior Designer: Urban Home

Forget the tried-and-true; go ahead look at your design needs with fresh eyes! Kanso-inspired homes make for the perfect canvas to allow your creativity to shine true rather than just blindly following trends or design rules. Be unconventional with your decor - look for unique pieces of furniture, accessories, or statement pieces that'll bring a positive affect. You can also display paintings, photographs, art sculptures or handmade pieces that evoke happy memories!

Turn a house into a home

Whether you love the quiet simplicity of Japanese-inspired interiors, or prefer to go wild with opulent flair, let an experienced interior designer guide and help you achieve a home that's all about you. Request for a free quote here, and we'll match you up with 5 interior firms, based on your budget and style.

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