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Inner Zen: Meditative Zen-inspired Homes That Reflect Balance and Harmony

23 August 2022

The word “Zen” may have gained mainstream popularity in the recent decade with the surge of mindfulness campaigns, Marie-Kondo, yoga practices, and more. But when it is distilled down to its essence, we are reminded that it all started from the teachings of Zen Buddhism – a stripped-down, meditation-based spiritual movement. 

For modern homeowners looking to incorporate basic Zen principles into their daily life, integrating Zen-inspired interior design elements is an effective way to achieve a meditative, and calming sanctuary to unwind and escape from the distractions of the outside world.

East Coast by Eddie & Serene

In drawing inspiration from Zen Buddhism philosophy, it is only fitting that Zen-inspired interiors seek to align themselves with the overarching Zen principles. 

In meditative practice, Zen practitioners strive to attain states of Seijaku or tranquillity, a theme that designers Eddie & Serene has tapped on for their creative inspiration for this East Coast project.

To achieve the openness of space and free-flowing energy in the home, the designers did away with the traditional closed concept layout, doing away with unnecessary doors, walls, and dividers to create a spacious unobstructed living area.

Knowing that the quest to keep everything uncluttered and clean in an open layout as such would be a challenge, subtle storage and display features were incorporated intentionally as part of the design.  From recessed display niches in the walls, and custom-made stowaway cabinets to hidden storage panels that blend subtly into the walls, the designers made extra effort to ensure that everything in the home has its place.

633 Hougang by Jimmy

While meditative Zen and contemporary luxe styles are seemingly at extreme ends of the design spectrum, designer Jimmy has managed to find a harmonious balance that works in this 633 Hougang project. 

The spaces in the home are demarcated for their respective purposes – calming and peaceful spaces to unwind and relax in the living lounge, kitchen, and bedrooms, in contrast with the vibrant social gathering spot that is the dining room.

However, by focusing on a cohesive palette of neutral colours and natural materials like wood, and stone, a commonality between the two contrasting styles, the juxtaposition of the styles does not stand out nearly as much as expected.

Throughout the home, the strategic use of soft mood lighting, a common touch in luxe interiors, also seeks to create a luxurious yet soothing and relaxing ambience for the space. 

The Metropolitan by Sheena & Edmund

In Zen-inspired interiors, the key is to eliminate ostentatious design and focus on what matters, what is important. In this Metropolitan project, designers Sheena & Edmund have done away with all pretentiousness, keeping to a minimalistic design characterized by simplicity and serenity.

The choice of simple neutral complementary colours like whites, creams, greys, and wood, work well throughout the apartment to create a soft, inviting, and soothing ambience. 

To avoid an overly austere and sterile environment, a variety of different natural textures like the subtle marble backsplash in the kitchen and textile wall panels in the bedroom were also introduced to keep the space warm and welcoming. 

In keeping with the philosophy that less is more, and that space and balance are of the essence, the designers made sure to not overcrowd the space with too many pieces of furniture or décor. From the quaint dining table, wooden coffee table, to chaise sofa, the focus was on its quality and function, chosen carefully to work well within this space.

Orchard Bel-Air by CY Woon

One of the hardest principles of Zen philosophy to incorporate into interior design is that of restraint – focusing only on what is necessary and omitting those that are not – to help create that active state of utmost focus and serenity.

This Orchard Bel-Air by designer CY Woon is probably one of the closest any designer has come to achieving this ideal creative restraint while still attaining a perfectly liveable environment. 

At first glance, the emptiness of space may make you wonder if you are in an art gallery or a home, but this level of complete openness and lack of clutter in the spacious apartment is by design. Thanks to the incredible attention to detail in creating concealed storage behind the “tatami-like” walls throughout the home, common distractions like doors, fold-down beds, and more are all able to be tucked away sight unseen when not in use.

Looking to discover your inner Zen with a meditative-Zen aesthetic for your home? Head over to our designer page to uncover more inspirational home designs.

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