Friday, September 20, 2013

Decorating a Traditional Japanese House

My friend lives in a traditional Japanese house. It's cool, but it sure is a decorating struggle. Like, the ground level has a traditional tatami room which can't really function as a normal living room. The top floor is technically the "in-laws suite" (because the grandparents live with the rest of the family) so that's where the couch and tv are.

Anyway, my friend took a trip to Australia and gave me a budget to decorate her place while she was gone. I only had time to work on the ground floor, but it was fun. Stay tuned if I ever get to the top floor!

So this is what the house looks like:
The tatami room: underneath the rug is the panel that you can prop up to make a table. 

On the right is meant to be the place where you put your ancestor's ashes and make offerings to them and such. Like I said, hard to decorate if you're American and don't really do that kind of thing.

On this wall by the kitchen table used to be a huge Marine Corps picture. When my friend told me I could decorate how I wanted, that was the first thing to get moved. It's now hanging as you walk up the stairs. Hope her husband doesn't mind!

The rest of the house has so much storage everywhere, except for the kitchen. Like no space at all for a pantry/food storage. So that was what I chose to focus on. Making more storage in the window, but also making it look good.

Now, for the after!

I found a matching shelf, and got storage bins from the hundred yen store. She has a lot of tea pots, and we all know how much I love tea pots (all my wedding flowers were in tea pots and tea cups), so it's a good way to display them.
I moved the chair to open up the tatami room a little more, and covered that pillow with extra fabric from my guest bedroom refashion
Instead of the Marine Corps picture, I hung this awesome map she found at a thrift store here in Okinawa, and dug through her photo albums to find some fun snapshots taken all over the U.S.A. Does that make me sound like a creep?? Oh well. 
So, hope you enjoyed this glimpse into a traditional Japanese house! What do you think? Any other ideas? All opinions welcome. Thanks for reading!


  1. I am obsessing over that kitchen display!!!! So beautiful!!

  2. I need to hire you and Jennifer to come decorate my house! You are both naturals.

  3. Love the kitchen window! I want to see more pictures!