Japanese shoji screens are simple and elegant, making them perfect for any home. They provide privacy while still letting enough light enter your room. Find an artisan creating these door, window, and partition units if you want something simple and minimalist.
The original purpose of these screens was to save space at home. A swinging door eats space, which you can use for additional storage. Shoji doors and windows slide on tracks attached to the wall. They will occupy minimal space, as they will simply slide over walls. These units are not thick – a traditional shoji uses a lattice of wood or bamboo held together by washi or rice paper. This provides enough shade to allow privacy, but light enough to allow sunlight into your room.
The modern shoji screen uses the same bamboo or wood frames and lattices, but does not use rice paper. Using paper is tedious because you will need to replace it every year. Modern products use more durable materials, including fibreglass, fabrics, and plastic sheeting. You can find these manufactured to look like traditional washi.
Install these in your home as doors and windows. These eliminate the need for curtains during the day. You can save on electricity because they will let light enter your room, even if you leave your doors and windows closed.
Japanese shoji screens also come in portable units. Choose between a single panel with a mobile base support and multiple hinged panels that form a folding screen. These mobile units are ideal for creating instant privacy and partitions in any room in your home or your office. Their size and portability makes them ideal for creating privacy if you live in an apartment with limited space.
Doors, windows and mobile partitions are not the only applications for a shoji screen. Artisans creating handmade wooden furniture also turn these screens into other pieces of furniture. You can find a shoji-inspired table with frosted glass and wooden lattice details, or panels that have the same look and feel. Its most common application is in lighting fixtures, mainly because the materials let enough light pass through to illuminate your room. You can have your woodworker design custom lamps, tearoom lights, and other lighting panels inspired by shoji screens. They do not have to follow the traditional lattice pattern – you can have your woodworker create a more elaborate design based on your needs.
Find a woodworker who has experience in creating these units. You want your shoji to look as authentic as possible, and someone who specialises in Japanese-inspired furniture can replicate traditional ones better. Discuss which materials will withstand sunlight for the longest time to minimise the need for maintenance and replacement. Designers today use fibreglass because it looks like washi but it can withstand direct sunlight better than other materials.
If you need lamps, make sure your woodworker knows how to make lamp units for both electric light bulbs and candles.
Shoji screens are simple, elegant and timeless. Give your home a Japanese minimalist touch and use these throughout your house.