The Living Room: Floors to Adore

2019.01.30 Editor : A.F. TAG : Living Room

One of things I loved about my time living in Japan was simply lounging around on the tatami floor on a lazy weekend morning, inhaling the potent green smell of the rice straw mats that can fill a house with a scent as welcoming to the Japanese as an apple pie baking in the oven would be to an American. And while it would be a difficult to install a real tatami room in a Western house, there are options for bringing a touch of that warm feeling of Japanese flooring to your own home.

Tatamimat by TATAMISER Inc.

At around 2.5 cm in thickness, these ½ size tatami mats can provide a raised surface in any room that would be perfect for lounging around, stretching or playing a musical instrument that is used while seated on the floor. The scent of fragrant rush (rice straw) fills the room in which they are placed, and each square mat boasts an elegant dark border on two sides. As they are backed with a non-slip surface, they stay where they are placed- just be sure not to stub your toe on them (as I am wont to do) as these sturdy mats are not going to move and your foot will bear the brunt.


OsakaSakai-shi Kita-ku Nagasonecho130-42


The mats in this series are also half the size of traditional tatami. As a result, there are easily moved and configured depending on where you want to place them- mine fit perfectly in a small alcove off my living room. While they do not interconnect, they are backed with a non-slip surface, so they stay in place, even when walking or laying on them. I use mine for practicing yoga, and they generally do not move.

Made from a type of resin, they are not real rush (rice straw), so while they do not have that amazing nostalgic smell I remember from Japan, you also do not have to worry about the mildew or discolouration from the sunlight that can sometimes plague real tatami.


OsakaSakai-shi Kita-ku Nagasonecho130-42

Yaetakumi by ooshimaya

These tatami mats are made of real rush (rice straw), and they smell amazing. Smaller than even the half-size mats, they are meticulously hand-crafted and are adorned with ornate gold-trimmed cloth ribbon on two sides. While it would take quite a number of these to create an area large enough for sleeping or sitting, these beautiful tatami mats are perfect for creating a small raised place in the corner of a room for displaying flowers or other decorative items.


OakayamaNishiachicho, Kurashiki-shi.852

igusaism/rush interior by ooshimaya

If really want to bring the smell of tatami into your home, but it is not realistic to cover the entire floor in mats, these cushions are a great solution. Made from real rush (rice straw), their fragrance was escaping the box before I even opened it. Releasing them from their cardboard prison, I inhaled deeply and was immediately brought back to my time in Japan.

Extremely versatile, they can be used as seat cushions when sitting on the floor, or can be folded and used as a pillow when stretching out. When used in combination with a few of the sectional pieces of tatami, the illusion of having a tatami-floored room can be easily created.

They tend to be cool to the touch, so they are especially refreshing in the summer months.

igusaism/rush interior

OakayamaNishiachicho, Kurashiki-shi.852

Tetra by Daitou Shingu Kogyo Co., Ltd.

A modern take on the beanbag chair, “Tetra” means four and these are named for their pyramid shape. Fully moldable, they can be used for sitting up, or more preferably for me, to half-hug as a body pillow when lounging on the floor.

I find these “chairs” are as comfortable as a recliner with the added benefit of taking up very little space. Since they are low, they also give rooms the illusion of being larger than they are. Suitable for use on wooden flooring, carpeted rooms or on tatami mats, these light chairs can be moved around and used in any room of the house.


Daitou Shingu Kogyo Co.,Ltd.
KyotoYokoojishimomisuyamaden, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto-shi.66-2

Editor Info


After moving to Japan as a university student for a one year study abroad program, A.F. fell in love with both the country and her future husband, and one year has now turned in 15. Her favourite Japanese food is wagashi, Japanese sweets.