Depending on where you live, you may have already seen furniture stores that offer a range of Japanese and Zen furniture options, but do you really understand “Zen Style?” As Americans, we tend to accumulate a lot of “stuff;” stuff that clutters our countertops, tabletops and floors. How do we incorporate the principles of Zen and unclutter a living space without getting rid of everything we own? The answer is simple: Japanese shoji screens. They may not have been designed with the intent of hiding our junk from view but they do an amazing job of it, nonetheless.
What is Zen style?
When we think of Zen style design, it’s easy to believe that it all originated in Japan. After all, most of the so-called “Zen furniture” available today is Japanese. Futons, Japanese shoji screens, platform beds and tatami mats are key elements of Zen décor, but the true concept of Zen actually began in India. Its intent was not to help us decorate our living space, but rather to change our way of living. Zen philosophy is more like a state of being, and it is considered a branch of Buddhism. While meditation is the best way to achieve the enlightened state of Zen; “Zen style” is a way of organizing your life to foster enlightenment in everyday life.
What are the best ways to simplify your living space so it can also become your sacred space?
Many Zen practitioners believe it begins with Japanese décor. Japanese shoji screens are just one way of adding Zen style to your home, but they are a great place to start. When one walks into a room with a shoji screen, it immediately redirects the eye to the center of the room and away from any clutter. A Japanese shoji screen or a series of screens are often used to partition off a home office, dressing area, or meditation space. Loft apartment dwellers rely on these attractive rice paper screens to create miniature “rooms within a room” and keep piles of paperwork out of view. Because they are so easy to move and store away, Japanese shoji screens are also a secret weapon for last-minute entertaining.
A Japanese shoji screen not only helps to provide an authentic Japanese ambience in a room, but it also creates an environment that promotes the Zen style. Available in a broad range of unique designs, these translucent screens give rooms a lighter look that is conducive to Zen practices, such as meditation. Even if you don’t meditate, this type of room divider can help to “lighten” your mind, allowing your daily stress to melt away.