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How to Turn Your Bathroom into a Japanese Sanctuary

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If you're planning a bathroom renovation and would love to add a bit of relaxation to your space, why not consider a Japanese theme? Bathing is a sacred activity in Japan that is usually done daily; it is seen as a time to not only cleanse your body but more importantly to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the bathing ritual. For ideas on how to add some Zen to your renovated bathroom, read on!

Keep it simple

Japanese style is steeped in thousands of years of tradition, which has resulted in an aesthetic that is simple, minimalistic and filled with natural beauty. Make sure that your Japanese-inspired bathroom is filled with simple lines and plain, neutral colours—think soft tans and warm, natural browns. With simple lines and tones in your bathroom, there is nothing to overwhelm the senses, which is precisely why the Japanese prefer such simplicity.

Invite nature in

If there is one feature that makes a bathroom so quintessentially Japanese, it's bringing nature inside and allowing it to live between the bathroom walls. You can replicate this by adding Japanese plants, such as bonsai and bamboo, to your bathroom and any other deep green plants you may like, such as potted moss and palms. Whatever you chose, keep it simple; Japanese people prefer to have plain, demure plants decorating their bathrooms. Placement is also very important; instead of dotting the plants randomly, arrange them in straight lines so the senses are not overworked.

Another good way to invite nature inside is to use bamboo not only as a decoration but also as a floor covering. Bamboo is moisture resistant so it is perfect to include in a bathroom; plus, it is one of the world's most renewable sources so you'll be doing the environment a favour at the same time!

Consider a soaking tub

Another element that is important in Japanese design is water, and no Japanese bathroom would be complete without a soaking tub. Soaking tubs—known in Japan as "ofuro"—are small, deep baths with built-in seats that are used simply as a way to relax; cleansing the body is generally done before entering the soaking tub. These tubs are becoming more and more popular in Western bathrooms and really help create a spa-like environment in your space.

Hide things away

One thing you won't find in Japanese bathrooms is clutter. Make sure your bathroom renovation has plenty of cupboard space so any items such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and beauty items can be stored away when not in use. 

Many Japanese bathrooms don't have a toilet, and if they do they are kept hidden away from sight. This is because the Japanese believe the place you relax should be separated from the place you maintain hygiene. If your space is large and you can give your toilet its own space, great; if not, consider using some kind of partition, maybe a beautiful divider, to keep the toilet out of sight.

Et voilà, your own Japanese-inspired haven where you can relax at the end of the day in style.