How To Choose The Perfect Tatami Mat: Exploring The Types of Traditional Japanese Tatami

For centuries, tatami mats have been a key part of the traditional Japanese lifestyle. Those of us not born on the nation’s isles are incredibly lucky to be able to incorporate these exquisite, perfectly-crafted tatami into our own homes. 

Yet, as with any art form, evaluating the different varieties of traditional Japanese tatami, and ultimately deciding on the perfect one is not without its complexities. 

This article will explore various methods to help you choose the best tatami mats for your home. 

The sheer abundance of tatami types available is staggering. From ubiquitous rush-grass tatami, to the luxurious aromas emitting from Japanese hinoki cypress tatami, there’s something for nearly every taste and preference. 

To successfully traverse the overwhelming range of tatami options and eventually arrive at the perfect one requires time, patience, and a solid understanding of the materials, designs, and sizes from which to choose. 

Here you will find all the information you need to embark on your tatami shopping journey with the ultimate goal of procuring the perfect one for your needs.

How To Choose Tatami For Your Home

What is Tatami?

Tatami mats are inextricably linked to Japanese culture. These traditional mats are a beautiful way to add a touch of Japan to any home or space. But with so many types of tatami mats out there, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

This guide will help you learn about tatami mats, what they are, and how to pick the perfect one for your needs. 

Tatami mats are woven mats with a section of soft rush grass, or igusa, on one side. This natural material not only provides a cushioning effect, but it’s also naturally antibacterial.

tatami mat room

The mats are then bound together with a decorative cloth, creating a neat and uniform look.

Patterns, such as straw lines and flower patterns, are sometimes added to them, to make them even more attractive.

Tatami mats have been a part of Japanese culture for centuries, and are used in homes, temples, and other traditional buildings.

They have always been a sign of refinement, elegance, and wealth. While tatami mats used to symbolize one’s social status, they are now much more accessible, allowing people to bring the beauty of Japan into their own homes. 

Tatami mats are great for anyone looking to add a touch of Japanese style and comfort to their living space.

With the right tatami mat, you can make any space feel like a peaceful retreat. Hopefully, with this guide, you can now start exploring the world of tatami mats with confidence.

Selecting the Right Size

When selecting the perfect tatami mat for your home, you need to consider two important factors: size and material.

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The size of tatami mats will determine how much of your space you want to cover. You’ll want to choose a size that meets your needs without taking up too much of your overall space. Here’s how to pick the perfect tatami mat size. 

First, measure the space where you will be laying out the tatami mats. Consider how you want the mats to be arranged: horizontally, vertically, or a combination of both.

tatami mats

Measure the length and width of each tatami mat you’re looking at to make sure it will fit the space. Its dimensions should allow for some overlap so that each mat lays flush, creating a uniform design.

Then, consider the type of tatami mat you’d like to use. Different types of tatami mats come in various sizes and shapes.

For instance, while traditional Japanese tatami mats typically come in rectangular shapes, there are some square or round tatami mats available as well. This can help you find the right size for your home. 

Finally, consider the amount of coverage you need in the space.

Are you looking for a few tatami mats to cover a large area, or for multiple mats that will provide an even layer of coverage? You may want to use multiple tatami mats in order to cover a wider space – in this case, you’ll want to make sure that you choose mats with a consistent size, as this will help create a uniform and cohesive look. 

By considering these factors, you can easily select the perfect size for your tatami mats, allowing you to achieve the perfect look for your space.

Understanding the Different Types of Mats

When it comes to choosing the perfect tatami mat, one must understand the different types of mats available. There are four main types of tatami mats, all of which bring unique looks and benefits to a home.

The four types are ‘Goza’, ‘Rice Straw’, ‘Rush’, and ‘Flat Weave’. Knowing the pros and cons of each type of mat will make it easier to decide which one is right for your own home.

Goza Tatami 

Goza mats are woven with reeds and provide a traditional, sturdy appearance. Featuring a coarse texture, this tatami mat is perfect for high traffic areas. 

Rice Straw tatami 

If you’re looking to add a softer, more luxurious look to your space, Rice Straw tatami mats may be the better option. These incredibly soft mats are made from long rice straw bundles and provide a comfortable surface to sleep on.

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Rush tatami mats 

Rush tatami mats are slightly thicker than the rice straw mats and feature combined reeds that provide a unique texture and look. The high resistance to compression makes these mats a great option for high-traffic areas. 

Flat Weave Tatami Mats

Flat weave tatami mats are an even better choice for areas like these, as these mats are the thickest and strongest of all the tatami mats available. Not only are these mats incredibly long-lasting but they also provide an undeniable elegance to any room.

The perfect tatami mat is out there; you just need to know what type of mat best suits your needs. Consider the size of the room, the intended purpose of the mat, and your desired look before making a decision.

Once you have a good understanding of the different types of tatami mats, you’ll be ready to choose the perfect one for your space.

Characteristics of Tatami mats

Tatami mats have many benefits and characteristics that make them an ideal choice when selecting the perfect traditional Japanese flooring.

Although the main types of tatami mats vary, there are some common characteristics to look for when selecting one for your home. 

The first characteristic to look for when selecting tatami mats is the actual matting itself. Japanese tatami does not consist of foam or carpet. Instead, it is made from straw, which is woven together to create its signature woven matting.

This gives tatami its signature look, as well as providing a naturally better grip, which makes tatami an excellent choice for a bedroom or living room.

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Second, the finish of the tatami mat should be considered. Traditional tatami mats are finished with a traditional Japanese fabric called “igusa”.

This fabric provides the tatami with an organic and natural look, and is a great way to incorporate traditional Japanese aesthetic into your home. 

Third, the thickness of the tatami is also important. The size and thickness of the tatami mat will have an impact on the overall aesthetic feel of the room.

Thick mats provide more support but can make the floor feel cramped, while thin tatami mats can feel almost like carpet. 

Finally, tatami mats are also customizable in terms of shape and size. Create a unique look by selecting a tatami mat that matches the room you are designing.

From small mats to large ones, there are many design choices available to create a one of a kind look you’ll love. 

Tatami mats provide a unique and traditional look, as well as softness and comfort no vinyl or carpet flooring can provide.

With these four characteristics in mind, you can be sure to pick the perfect tatami mat for your home.

Caring for Your Tatami Mat

Caring for your tatami mat is an important aspect of maintaining your traditional Japanese décor. Here are five tips for ensuring your mat looks its best for years to come.

First, you should avoid placing any sharp or heavy objects on your tatami mat to avoid damage and premature wear.

Second, make sure to use these mats on clean and dry floors and avoid prolonged contact with moisture.

Third, avoid over-exposing tatami mats to direct sunlight and other sources of extreme heat to avoid fading.

Fourth, if any dirt accumulates, use a soft brush or rag to gently sweep away the dust. Lastly, clean spills immediately with damp cloth and air dry afterwards.

Tatami mats are more delicate than other types of flooring, but with proper and regular maintenance you can enjoy your mat for years to come. Routine vacuuming and sweeping can go a long way to keep your mat clean and looking fresh.

Never use harsh detergents or chemicals on your tatami mats as these can damage the natural materials used to make them.

And in order to ensure the longevity of your mat, flip the mat regularly so that it wears evenly.

Caring for your tatami mat is integral to its long-term use, so follow these tips to ensure your tatami looks just as beautiful and vibrant as the day it came into your home.

In conclusion, choosing the perfect tatami mat can be a daunting task, as there are numerous types of traditional Japanese tatami to choose from.

Knowing what type of tatami will best suit your needs can make the decision easier while ensuring that you pick the perfect tatami mat for your home.

From the traditional rush style straw tatami mats to the modern igusa style tatami mats, there is a tatami out there to suit anyone’s individual style and comfort needs.

Don’t be afraid to explore the wide and fascinating world of Japanese tatami mats and find the perfect one for you!

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