Living in Style

7 Simple Ideas for Decorating a Small Japanese Apartment

You don’t have to give up style or comfort just because you live in a small apartment. To help you get inspired, we present some design ideas from small studio apartments (1R or 1K) around Japan. This is part of our ongoing series on small room decorating ideas from Japan.

Create Your Own Oasis

Japan can be a stressful place to live. When you come home, you deserve to have a space that you can really relax in. If you live in a studio apartment, we know this means you really have to make the most of a tiny space. This person has made her small DIY night stand into a relaxing oasis. The plant is a nice touch next to the essential oil aroma sticks.

A tiny oasis on a DIY night stand. Photo: RoomClip

Make the Most of Your Balcony

Your balcony isn’t just for drying clothes. With just a few square meters and a little imagination, you can create a nice relaxing space surrounded by as many potted plants as you can aesthetically fit it.

Who says apartment living means you can’t have your own yard (of sorts). The wooden planks and astro turf grass can be purchased at DIY stores. Photo: RoomClip

Add Some Flair to Your Windows

Prints can brighten up a small studio and really bring out your personality. Instead of going with a traditional solid color, make your room unique by using a large piece of fabric for your curtain or as a throw for your sofa.

Express yourself with a print! Photo: RoomClip

Where to buy textiles and fabric in Tokyo

There are many places to buy fabric and sewing materials around Tokyo, but our top pick would be the Nippori Textile District, which offers the convenience of about 100 fabric and sewing supply shops clustered in a single neighborhood! It is conveniently located about a three-minute walk from JR Nippori station’s south exit. Another top choice would be the Yuzawaya DIY chain, with branches in Shinjuku and Kamata (Ota Ward).

Where to buy textiles and fabric in Osaka

Our friends in Osaka tell us that their top picks for fabric shopping in Osaka would be Toraya in Namba and Otsukaya, near Exit 4 of Esaka Station on the Midosuji line.

Save Some Space and Don’t Buy a Sofa

A sofa can take up a lot of valuable space in a small apartment. This person got rid his sofa and bought a beanbag chair that does double duty for watching TV and as a desk/dining table chair.

Save space by buying only the pieces of furniture you really need. That beanbag chair looks pretty comfortable! Photo: RoomClip

Choose a Theme and Stick With It

The room below is a loft-style studio apartment. In Japan, loft studio (1K or 1R) rooms, where the sleeping space is elevated above the living space, are on average 15-sqm (161-sqft) or less.

The occupant of this room has a done a great job making the most of the space! She chose a simple and natural design theme. The wicker lampshade ties together nicely with the baskets, and the small potted plant adds a pop of color to the white-beige color scheme. She also used a large piece of fabric to hide the storage area beneath the lofted sleeping space.

A unifying style and theme can make a small space seem stylish and uncluttered. Photo: RoomClip

Make the Most of Your Closet

If you are lucky enough to have a closet in your apartment and don’t have a lot of clothes, why not turn it into a corner for your desk?

This person does not have a lot of clothes but did have a whole lot of studying to do, so he turned his closet into desk space. Photo: RoomClip

Bring the Outdoors Indoors

We love this space! The wall unit was created using high-tension poles. High-tension poles are called tsuppari pōru (つっぱりポール) in Japanese and be purchased from home goods stores, DIY stores and online at and

You may not have the time or energy to keep up with as many plants as this person has, but a few plants can really brighten up a room.

A simple and relaxing space to call home! Photo: RoomClip

You may also be interested in the previous articles in this series: 7 Stylish Decorating Ideas for a Japanese Studio Apartment