One Bedroom, Three Ways: How to Design Your Bedroom

The Asian design traditions of Vastu, feng shui and Zen minimalism bring peace and beauty to your bedroom.

| November/December 2008


Artwork should be calming to the senses and bring desired energy to the room. Wood enhances health and creativity.


Zen minimalism, originally derived from Japanese Zen Buddhism, can help satisfy your longing for quiet and simplicity in a complicated world. Use understated, refined furnishings and simple artwork, such as a single hanging scroll or a black-and-white drawing. Use neutral colors for your bed linens and window treatments.

If you want more embellishment, add a single punch of color, such as one throw pillow or a vase, or bring in bamboo window blinds or simple, neutral cloth drapes.

The Seven Principles of Zen

Use Zen’s seven ruling principles as guiding lights in your bedroom.

• Asymmetry (Fukinsei): Stiff, formal symmetry, suggesting frozen finality and artificial perfection, can be fatal to the imagination. Asymmetry lets us be loose and spontaneous—more human than godlike. It means we can get by with one—or three—candlesticks, and everything doesn’t have to match.

Silence (Seijaku): Inwardly oriented, Zen embraces the quiet calm of dawn, dusk, late autumn and early spring.

Simplicity (Kanso): Zen eschews gaudy, ornate and overembellished in favor of sparse, fresh and neat.

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