Designing using Zen interior design style means different things to different people. In general- the words we use to describe this style include: peaceful, serene, tranquil and relaxed. These qualities are sought by many Singaporeans today, considering the hectic and fast paced lifestyles we all lead. It is no wonder that many Renovation projects are bringing in the Zen principles inside offices and homes. So what does Zen mean? Very little is known about the history and roots of Zen interior design. But; experts believe that the style can be traced back to Buddhist principles which focus on loving kindness, calmness and meditative and open attitudes.

ZEN is basically short for Zazen, the Japanese word for meditative or meditation. Thus, the key elements in zen interior design are based on minimalism and the focus is on harmony and balance. While the word itself has originated from Japanese, the concept actually took root in China thanks to Buddhism. Later, the religion spread to different parts of the world and today many Interior designers are known to use Zen interior elements in their projects across the world.

How to bring in the Zen style of interior design into your home?

Here are the key elements used in this peaceful style of designing.

Earth, water or neutral tones

When designing in this style, your designer might use earth or water elements for inspiration or even neutral colours like white, brown, green, olive, tan, beige, grey etc to induce relaxation and calmness in various designing elements. You could go for monochrome walls but also use a dominant colour in the textiles, fabrics, furniture and flooring for visual continuity. If single or dual colours are boring for you, you can always add some diversity by combining shades of a single favourite colour.

Textures

In general, the Zen style of interior design emphasizes on soft smooth and silky textures.  Parquets or rugs in light shades are ideal for adding softness at the feet. Woolen carpets are also great but they are high maintenance and expensive.  The idea behind the use of soft textures is to practice kindness, softness and loving attitudes towards all things around us.

Furniture

The main principle of this style of designing is to maintain calm, open, clean and clutter free spaces. Naturally, the furniture is also simple and natural with minimalist pieces that are an absolute necessity. High quality natural, sustainable materials are used for creating these pieces to show kindness and love to Mother Nature. Storage cabinets, drawers, tables and chairs may be painted to maintain harmony with the rest of the home. Apart from materials, textures and colours, the placement of furniture is also important- for example, in the bedroom, the bed must be placed near the natural source of light (such as a window) and the same is true with the seating in the living room. All furniture pieces must ideally have clean and simple lines that integrate well into the design. Softness can also be added to all furniture items either through upholstering or through the use of pillows, fabric headboards, fleece covers, throws and rugs.

Ornamentation and art

The key emphasis of the Zen interior design is to minimize clutter as much as possible. So no matter how pretty or tiny your ornamentation and accessories are; your Interior designer might ask you to slowly and gradually reduce them. This also includes objects with too many patterns or ones that do not have any functional value. All surfaces including the walls, tables, shelves etc should ideally be devoid of objects.

Practical ideas and tips to implement Zen interior design style in home renovation

Many people love the whole idea behind the Zen interior design concept, but, midway through the project; they start feeling overwhelmed by its radicalism and, often, impracticality. The key is to start small: cover a small area of the home and ensure that you do not add anything to it.

It is also said that homeowners who meditate and practice mindfulness are more likely to succeed in the minimalist ZEN lifestyle. What this basically means is to practice conscious awareness, love, and kindness towards all and everything you do.

As can be seen, there is so much more to the ZEN interior design style that a single article cannot possible cover everything. That being said; it is a lifetime of quest and once you accept, adopt and internalize these principles, you are likely to see many positive changes in your life.

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