Apr 10, 2019

Tatami mat – Japanese traditional flooring


Tatami mats make for a beautiful, traditional and elegant way to decorate your home. It is also the perfect way to introduce a fresh and natural look in your living space. Essentially, they are traditional Japanese floorings used in homes for thousands of years. They are a staple in modern and traditional Japanese homes dude to their natural feel, cooling effect and comfort.

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What is a tatami mat?

They are traditional flooring common in Japanese styled rooms. They were once considered luxury items in japans and were mainly used by the high ranking aristocrats and nobles. Once they reached into commoners’ homes, they started to become staple furniture in every Japanese home and eventually became a symbol for the perfect Japanese home.

An authentic tatami mat is made out of rice straws. The rice straws are dried and woven into the tatami mat by professionals. The woven rush grass is sometimes used as a covering for the core. The modern tatami mats use wood chip boards and polystyrene foam for the base. The tatami mat is a beautiful traditional item to have in your modern styled home. it gives your home a warm look and incorporates the rich traditional Japanese history while offering a unique aesthetic.

What are tatami mats used for?

In the Edo period, tatami mats were used by nobles as a type of flooring for their bedrooms, and sanctuaries. The designs have changed over the long period of time and now they are made in different shapes and sized to cater for different needs. Japanese traditional rooms are now designed with sliding doors, a porch, futon spread and most importantly the tatami flooring.

Designing the home and kitchen

Like I said, the tatami mats are made with good quality, organic, natural and visually appealing materials. They are perfect in any type of home décor. They bled in in a traditional Japanese setting and also a modern house finish. The Japanese tatami mat has become a popular flooring option in most modern homes.

You can use it in place of the ordinary carpet in different places in your home. The best look for a tatami floor in a modern contemporary design is the dining room. You can use it as flooring for the dining room. The tatami also looks good in the kitchen and as a counter piece under the living room table.

Sleeping and relaxing

Like in the past, tatami mats are mainly used for sleeping. One could say that they are an alternative for a basic bed. Sleeping on the tatami mat is not strange in Japanese traditional homes. Tatami floors provide some padding and comfort and work even better than the common bed. There is no arguing that sleeping on the tatami mat is more beneficial health wise than sleeping on a basic bed and mattress.

Dining and bedroom areas are usually covered with the tatami flooring to give off some comfort while you are sleeping, dining, relaxing or simply having some tea. Tatami mats are organic which makes them perfect for sleep and optimal comfort.

Tatami mats as beds

Japanese beds have becomes a popular styling in many places around the word, especially in the west. Their minimal styling , lightweight and thin padding has made them a popular alternative. The tatami mat is used with the futon which is a tatami bed for sleeping. The futon provides a surfacing for the tatami then layered with blankets to make it comfortable. The Shikibuton and the futon provide a firm surface for your back, which is essentially a great thing.

The arrangement is simple, the mats are laid out on the floor, a thin foam is added and then the shikbuton is placed on top. You can use this arrangement with or without a pillow depending on how comfortable you are. Japanese platform beds (tatami beds) are combined with a layered tatami straw mat and wooden bed frame completed with a futon mattress.

How to choose a tatami mat

Before you get to choose the tatami mat, you have to ask yourself; what is the purpose of the tatami mat I am about to purchase? They come in different shapes, sized and material and nowadays, they are processed and manufactured differently. Your main goal should be to get the traditional and authentic tatami mat for your home. Large tatami floorings can be used for covering your bedroom and dining rooms. Remember to measure your home so you can get the exact tatami mat measurement you need for your home. Cheap tatami mat will provide you with the traditional aesthetic and can counter as sleeping mats, floor mats and tatami mat beds too.

Different types of tatami mats

Traditional tatami mats

They are made from rice straw fill and Japanese rush grass. They are firm, comfortable and provide a soft surface to sleep on. They are the original foundation of the futon mattresses. They produce a beautiful grass scent that serves as an aroma therapy in your home.

The bamboo flooring mats

They are an alternative to the traditional tatami mats. Bamboo flooring has the same aesthetic and they add an earthy and natural look to your home.

The modern tatami

Modern tatami flooring is not so popular in the Japanese home setting. You can find different materials like plastic and processed straw in the tatami floor.

Benefits of using the tatami mats

They are healthy and safe

The tatami provides a perfect hard surface to sleep on. it allows your back, neck, shoulders and head to align naturally and relax while you are sleeping. Your muscles also get a chance to relax and stretch. You do not have to worry about falling to the floor like people sleeping on regular beds.

Sound proofing

The tatami contains air between fibres which creates a sound absorbing effect. You can use it to soundproof your walls and floors.

They control humidity

They have a natural humidity regulation effect. They absorb excess humidity form the air; and from your body while you are sleeping. This creates a great cooling effect. To prevent moulding, you simply have to dry the tatami mats in the sun.

How to care and clean your tatami bed

Avoid spilling any type of drink or food on your tatami mat. They are very difficult to clean and may cause some stains and mold. If you spill anything on the floor, dry off using wet wiped and let them dry before you continue the use. Organic tatami mats may harbour some insects depending on where you live. If you spot any, you can spray the mat with insecticides and clean off with a dry towel. Hand your tatami out in the sun regularly. This is to prevent mold and mildew growth during humid weathers. The straws have a tendency of sucking up humidity in the home which can cause such developments,

Final word

Now that you know everything there is, you can go ahead and buy a tatami mat. It is a healthy alternative to natural beds and will give you