Even though Japanese single-family homes are often rather contemporary in other respects, they commonly have one room known as a washitsu in which the sukiya custom is still practised. The tea room and the related decor elicit a sentimental response from the Japanese. This is the case regardless of whether or not any of the people residing in the house participate in the tea ceremony.
The tea room is also reminiscent of what many Westerners find beautiful about Japanese décor, and as a result, it serves as a good blueprint for a particular location in each of our own houses since it captures these aspects. A warm and inviting parlour would be an excellent choice for such a remarkable location, especially if the dinner being served to visitors is a traditional one. On the other hand, a space that was originally intended to encourage intense mental focus may now be used to
just what we might use today for quiet activities such as reading, yoga, meditation or simply an afternoon nap.
If you are planning to include a Japanese tea room in your home, office or commercial space, here are the 11 key design features to master the interior design.
Free Of Excess Ornamentation
Wabi-sabi is the Japanese tea room aesthetic concept that implies tasteful restraint and rustic simplicity.
“If the heart is pure, the tea will taste good.”
This phrase epitomizes the philosophy behind the tea ceremony and serves as a gentle reminder that a tea room should be a simple space free of excess ornamentation. Humble materials such as wood, paper and straw, subdued colors, and the restrained display of art adorn the tea rooms on these pages.
Use Of Tatami Mats
The feel of a Japanese tea room begins with a tatami-covered floor—padded rice-straw mats left in their natural color. The number of tatami mats used, each approximately 90 by 180 centimeters (3 feet by 6 feet), determines the ultimate size of a room. If outfitting an entire room is not feasible, a tatami-covered platform may be a practical substitute.
While a rustic tea room is typically four and a half mats in size, a formal tea room might have as many as twenty-four mats and be large enough to entertain a substantial number of guests.
A recessed alcove, known as a tokonoma, is the crown jewel of the tea room. Lit discreetly from behind a false wall, it serves as a display
space for a hanging scroll and seasonal flower arrangement or some other treasured piece of art. Finish the alcove with a wooden post and a
raised platform, and add staggered shelves or built-in storage adjacent to the tokonoma.
The pole at the corner of the tokonoma, called a tokobashira, usually retains its original bark, adding a simple but characteristic touch.
Sometimes a bold indigo-hued wall hanging replaces the usual scroll in the tokonoma display.
Staggered shelves, or chigaidana, are commonly placed adjacent to the recessed tokonoma, separated by a thin partition, and may also be used to display art objects.
Themed Flower Arrangement
The flower arrangement in the tokonoma is usually carefully planned to echo the shape and colors of the woven backdrop. Typically, a narrow flower vase is used to contrast to the rustic tokobashira post.
Coordinating the items displayed in the tokonoma alcove with the season or special occasion is part of the attention to detail for which sukiya-style interiors are known. For example Kyoto’s summer Gion Festival is a popular Japanese tea room floral arrangement theme. It can be referenced with a small offering stand and arrangement of rice ears and sakaki leaves.
Ceremony At The Center Of The Setting
In Japanese culture, there is a special place reserved for the ritual of tea ceremony. It is more of a spiritual, almost religious rite that is called chanoyu, and it involves drinking tea rather than just being a social gathering. Through concentrated attention of the mind, chanoyu is, for host and guests alike, a cleansing of the inner self. The newbie could find the processes and motions to be obscure and arcane, but this is exactly the point: the entire is an elegantly choreographed experience that is more than the sum of its parts.
Hibachis are portable containers in the form of boxes that are filled with charcoal and coated with heat-resistant material. They are used to boil water for tea, but they have also historically been used to heat households.
The tea room is decorated in earthy tones, so one may utilize square cushions known as zabuton as comfy seating as well as a color accent to break up the monotony of the space.
Walls Of Restrained Colors
Use plaster that has been combined with particles of straw to create a gorgeous organic texture on the walls, or use sand paint in a muted hue such as ochre or moss. If you want to take it a step further, use sand paint.
Ceiling Of Authenticity
Wide boards with interesting grains are used on the ceiling of the room to illustrate the restrained approach to tea room décor.
A wood or perhaps grass cloth trimmed ceiling and mud-plastered walls add to the authenticity of this traditional tea room.
The epitome of uncomplicated design is shown by a traditional Japanese tea room, which often makes use of vertical and horizontal lines that are placed in an asymmetrical form.
Sometimes a strip of trim is built to run over the sliding shoji doors, alcove exhibit areas, and closet doors. This gives the high ceilings a more human scale and helps break up the monotony of the room.
The window frame design frequently plays with the notion of shifting density, and occasionally celebrates a startling diagonal pattern generated by the bamboo lattice.
The Tea Screen
In the tea room, an ancient two-panel folding screen known as a tea screen serves as a magnificent background for an antique iron tea pot and a porcelain tea caddy. It also works well to compliment the straw-colored tatami that is located in the room.
A preparation space next to the tea room enables for the washing and storing of tea cups and utensils. Known as a mizuya, the name literally means “water room.”. Any additional built in storage are concealed in cabinets with sliding doors made of reflecting gold-leaf paper. This lends a feeling of formality to the process of tea ceremony preparation.
Connection With The Nature
Light filters gently through matchstick reed blinds, creating delicate shadows in the tea room. The soothing colors of nature create a subdued and tranquil atmosphere for calming plant room aesthetic.
The view of the garden is somewhat obscured by an ornate window lattice. The construction and decoration of Japanese tea rooms are characterized by an understated elegance that is achieved by the use of unpretentious and natural materials, such as the wood lattice, bamboo, and shoji panels.