Traditional Japanese beds, or tatami bed mats, are woven from rice straw or dried rushes. The Japanese use woven mats for sitting and sleeping in a tatami room. They are gentle with a firm Underwood and give out a lovely smell on humid days. Tatami bed frames go hand in hand with futons, which is a bed set containing a mattress and a duvet. In addition, the futon is foldable so you can store it away in the closet during the day.
The history of tatami
Tatami mats have been around since the Nara period (710-794). At first, wooden floors were covered with tatami mats for nobles to sit and sleep on while ordinary people used to sit and slept on straw. Later on, the ordinary people started covering entire rooms with straw, and these rooms were known as zashiki. The room sizes differed according to the number of mats that could fit in. The most common rooms contained six tatami mats.
By the 17th century, both royalty and commoners started using tatami mats, and these became an integral part of the home. In fact, Japanese architecture developed during the shoin-zukari, where the rooms had tatami mat floors, rice paper screens, and coffered ceilings.
The demand for tatami mats has dropped by 30% in the past two centuries. Many Japanese people sleep in common beds these days, but it is still common for them to sleep in futons with their mattresses placed on the floor.
Creating a Tatami bedroom design
Traditional Japanese tatami rooms include woven mats as flooring. The style dates back to Murochomi period. They were originally used as study rooms by the wealthy. Tatami mats are thick and measure one by two meters in size. Measure the size of your room by the number of mats that fit.
Your room should have sliding wooden doors, covered with thick opaque paper. The doors are used to separate adjoining rooms. They allow you to partition areas or create space when you need it. The ventilation, also known as transom, are found above the wooden doors. They allow air and light to move between the rooms.
Place Shoji doors around the perimeter of your room. These are made up of wooden lattices covered in translucent paper. You can leave the ceiling bare or highly decorated with pictures to your liking.
For sitting, furnish your tatami room with low tables and Zabutons, which are small cushions placed near the table and used as seats. It is a common practice to sit on the floor. Futons are laid directly on the tatami mat. A futon is a traditional Japanese foldable mattress. They are folded and kept in the closet during the day and set out in the evening. Instead of using cushions, some people prefer to fold up their futons into a couch like structure and use them as seats.
The Japanese use buckwheat hallows pillows with the futon for sleeping. The pillows are adjusted to fit an individual’s head. Buckwheat is used medically to treat high blood pressure, gout and radiation exposure. However, if the smell makes you uncomfortable, use cotton pillows instead.
It is Japanese tradition to take off your shoes and slippers when entering a home. The only way to walk on the straw mats is barefoot – not even socks are allowed. However, as long as you are kind and respectful, you will fit right in.
Remember to bow when you enter a tatami room with an elder or a royal. Offering your hand may be considered disrespectful.
The size of a tatami mat varies depending on where you're from
In Tokyo, tatami mat frames are smaller compared to those from Kyoto. A typical traditional tatami mat is about 910mm by 1820 mm, but there are for different tatami mat sizes. A queen-sized tatami mat measures about 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, and is made with a double layer for extra protection. In addition, the queen size mat is infused with a moisture resistant barrier to keep it dry and long lasting.
Traditional Igusa tatami mats made of 100% rush grass measures 39* 83*0.5 and can fold into three sections. Not all tatami mats are triangular; they can be in varying shapes according to your needs.
Which modern tatami bed frame fits your style?
Tatami massage bed is a modern multifunctional bed integrated with high tech massage chairs, bookshelves, a safe and speakers. The bed frame is made of wood and finished with leather. It also has a lamp stand and footstool with storage space. It is not just a bed; you can use it for relaxing and working while at home.
Low tatami beds, also known as tatami platforms, are made out of 100% wood. They have a more modern style and that installed with interlocking joint wood frames. There are no brackets or bolts used. The centers have either interlocking wood frames or traditional thick tatami mats.
Tatami storage beds the storage bed is typically made with wooden frames with storage drawers on the sides. It conveniently helps you create space if you have a less spacious room.
Tall tatami bed frames are made of wood, measuring up to 15 inches tall. Like the low beds mentioned above, they are constructed with no bolts and are easy to assemble. The frames are reinforced with 18 wooden slats to support a standard sized mattress.
Benefits of using a tatami bed
They help regulate humidity.
In most parts of the world, it is hot and humid during summer and cold and dry in winter. Tatami mats help you regulate the excess humidity by absorbing moisture. Regulated moisture will help you sleep better. They also prevent the build-up of mold by keeping the surrounding environment warm. During the cold season, they are great for keeping you warm.
Healthy for your body
Sleeping on a tatami bed is good for your back. Thick, soft mattresses can place our bodies in strange positions when we are resting, leading to bone and muscle misalignment. Due to the unnatural positioning of your organs, you wake up feeling weak, paralyzed and constipated. Futon mattresses are a close resemblance to sleeping on the floor, which is healthy and ideal for your back, shoulders, head, hips and spinal alignment. Your bones support the pressure of the semi-hard floor leaving your veins, arteries, and organs working as usual.
Tatami beds are comfortable.
Sleeping on a rigid flat surface seems uncomfortable, right? It is far from the truth. Sleeping on a tatami mat leaves you feeling fresh and energetic as opposed to regular beds. Tatami bed has been proven to be more comfortable than your bed.
They create space
A standard bed takes up at least half of the room's area, leaving you with no extra room. Futon beds let you use the room for many purposes. They can serve as a chair or a bed. They are light in weight, and therefore you can move and reassemble them easily. During the day, you can convert an empty room into anything you wish: playroom, study room or yoga center.
You can cater to sleeping guests easily
Tatami beds are ideal if you have unexpected guests. With standard beds, there is no way you can have them sleeping over. Futons are cheap so you can have a spare or two in your closet. It is just a matter of laying them on the tatami mats.
They are cheap
On average, a tatami bed costs about a third the price of a regular bed. With a traditional bed, you have to spend more money on pillows, blankets, sheets and a mattress Tatami beds with shelves can help you cost-save on buying extra wall units for your items.
They guarantee safety
Tatami beds are safe, especially for children. Rolling over during your sleep may lead you to fall off a regular bed and hurt yourself. You can‘t fall of a tatami bed. When you roll over, you are only going to end up on another part of the bed.
They are all natural
Authentic traditional tatami mats and beddings are 100% organic materials. Old tatami mats decompose. They do not have a negative impact on the environment and will be easy to recycle as well.
They are more comfortable for couples
Sleeping with your significant other on the same bed can be hectic. There might be tossing and turning, pulling of blankets and hot temperature and humidity. You can't decide to sleep on separate beds. With a tatami bed, you can combine two futons to make a large bed and cater to your sleeping needs.
Maintaining a tatami bed and futon
You can clean your tatami mat by wiping it with a dry cloth. Using a wet towel will only increase the amount of moisture in the mat and make it susceptible to growing mold. You can use a small amount of vinegar on your cloth for sanitization purposes.
You can vacuum the tatami mat to remove particles that may be stuck in between. Do this along the grain to prevent damaging the surface.
When your mat is scratched or stained, it can be challenging to care for, and the hard straw may be uncomfortable to step or lay on. A torn mat may destroy your futon or sitting cushions. If ripped, flip over your mat and replace it in the next couple of years.
Sun-dry your tatami mat now and then to get rid of the moisture it sucks in during wet and humid seasons. Humidity may cause the tatami mat to be thin and flat making them uncomfortable. A few hours in the sun and wind will have them looking good as new and as comfortable as before.
The futon needs to be re-stuffed every few years. If you have an authentic futon made of cotton, then this may not be of concern to you. Synthetic incorporated futon may flatten out with time making them uncomfortable. Cotton is very absorbent. Your futon may absorb moisture from your body or the air when you’re sleeping. Aerate your futon every other day to keep it clean fresh and hygienic.
What you should consider when buying a tatami mat
Since the number of frames in one measure tatami mats, you may not know the exact amount that will fit in your room. Measurements may be confusing because they vary from place to place. You should inquire with the company before purchasing on your own to avoid disappointments.
Quality and design
Tatami mats have become popular all over the world for the past number of centuries. Not all companies make entirely organic tatami mats and beddings. Buy a tatami set according to your liking. Modern tatami beds have a different structure compared to the traditional ones. They are made of wood and a little bit thicker compared to the traditional ones
Tatami mats do not have a standard width. Some companies may make mats that are less than one inch thick while others may customize the width to your liking. More traditional mats are made of straw and may rise to two inches from the floor.
Tatami bed cost
Manufacturers charge different prices for their tatami mats. Before buying one, you should research widely to find a manufacturer within your price range. This way you can get to enjoy your tatami bed without having to pay over the odds for it.
Tatami beds will improve your night. They will lower the humidity of your bedroom and help to cool the environment. They are comfortable and lightweight and may be transported easily between sleeping areas. Sleeping on a tatami bed will also be useful for your body.
Tatami beds can help you cater to a gathering without having to go through the trouble of making sleeping arrangements. They are price friendly and will help to make your night comfortable on a budget.
Before you buy a tatami bed, you should consider whether it is within your price range, the size of space available to you, and the design that will appeal to you.