lifestyle . Art

Decorating & Organising Lessons We Got From Japanese Apartment Tours

Making the most out of every inch

Typical Japanese interior design tips for small spaces centre on certain aesthetics associated with the culture — from bamboo dividers to bonsai plants. But it’s also important to not overlook the lessons about functionality that we can get from the interior design of Japanese homes.

Looking at Japanese apartment tours on YouTube, it’s hard not to be in awe of how a small space can be utilised effectively so one can get the most out of every inch. What’s great about it is that you can easily adopt these Japanese interior design tips for small spaces to your own home. Here are the decorating and organising lessons we got from Japanese apartment tours you may also want to take note of.

Organise your knick-knacks in baskets

Clutter is the biggest hindrance to keeping an organised apartment. It doesn’t just look messy and gather dust, but it also affects our focus. From Japanese apartment tours, we learned that what you can do, aside from doing a little decluttering KonMari-style, is to organise your knick-knacks in baskets, preferably wicker and rattan ones.

This storage option will keep clutter away from your line of sight but still make the little things you need available at hand when you need them. These wicker baskets look chic and double as decor, too.

No closet? Go for clothing racks


Japanese apartments featured in vlogs rarely include built-in closets. Buying a separate closet would also not be the best move because it would take up a lot of space in an already compact living situation. Should you cram all your clothes in a cabinet together with other household items or just let them pile up on a chair? The answer is neither. Go for clothing racks. 

These so-called “naked closets” will let you hang ironed clothes and other delicate items while other clothing pieces can be neatly folded in a separate cabinet. Some clothing racks even have space for your shoes. As a bonus, your clothes being out in the open helps toshowcase your style, giving your space a more personal touch.

Get wall grid panels for extra vertical storage

You can’t expand the square metres of your apartment to get more storage, but you can still make the most out of your vertical space a.k.a. your walls. But first things first, if you’re renting, check with your landlord if you’re allowed to hammer nails into your walls. Got the go signal? Great, now all you have to do is shop for wall grid panels. 

IKEA kitchen rack

(Left) IKEA KUNGSFORS Wall Grid, ~USD16.26. (Right) IKEA HULTARP Mesh Container, ~USD11.06.

Don’t underestimate the power of these multipurpose wire mesh. It may look simple but it’s very helpful in creating extra storage. With this, you can hook your umbrellas, accessories and even add pouches and baskets for storing assorted kitchen items.

Small kitchen organising tricks

Not everyone has a spacious kitchen complete with an island. If you only have a small cooking space in your apartment, don’t worry; there are ways to make it work according to Japanese apartment tours on YouTube. You’ll usually see from these vlogs that the apartments have space for only one induction stove and a sink. There’s no more room for essentials like a drying rack and storage for a water dispenser. 

Drying mat with utensils

Dish Draining Mat Rubber from Shopee, ~USD7.34


The solution is to get cute kitchen drying mats that can be placed over the induction counter so you can let your dishes dry. As for the water dispenser, an alternative we learned is to install a water filter so you can drink from the tap. However, do make sure that the water quality in your area is safe for consumption.

Mirrors make everything better

Want to make your apartment look spacious in a jiffy? Look for an elegant mirror. Apart from being very handy for checking out your look for the day, mirrors will make your space feel bigger and brighter. Position one beside your bed near a window so it will reflect the outside scenery instead of just mirroring another part of your apartment.

Arch gold floor mirror

ASF Homestore Arch Gold Floor Mirror, ~USD667.46

Decorating and organising your small space doesn’t have to be a complicated matter. Sometimes, all it takes is a few rearranging and additions to make it feel more cosy and neat. Start optimising your space with these Japanese interior design tips for small spaces today.

(Cover photo from: Spacejoy via Unsplash)

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