In the Japanese tradition, a tatami mat is a woven rice straw mat used as floor covering. Luxury item and sign of wealth, they were used in Japanese rituals and ceremonies. The number of mats and their arrangement in a room were not left to chance – a “T” shape disposition being auspicious and “+” shape being negative and a sign of bad fortune.
The tatami mats you can find today are made of rush or rice grass, in line with tradition and are the perfect flooring for a tea room, a meditation corner, a relaxation room or a yoga area.
With the years, the uses evolved and you can now pile them to make a seat or place them between a futon and a bed platform. As a bed, it provides support and comfort with no compromises on aesthetics. You can also combine it only with a futon and place it straight on the floor for more firmness. For a complete setup, have a look at bed platforms, futons and buckwheat pillows. If you’re not used to it, you might need some time to adapt but if you like plush and soft mattresses, it might not be for you.
However you choose to use you tatami mat, it will instantly add a nice atmosphere to your home. Why not bring it to your office to give it a serene and elegant touch? Eventually, it is an element of decoration for a Japanese feel and to bring light to your interior.
Beyond the practical and aesthetic characteristics of your tatami mat, it also has health benefits. It will help ease your back pains and it solves any allergy problems you may have with regular beds. The pressed together straws structure allows the heat to be absorbed for a more comfortable sleep. The materials used are also said to calm spirits according to traditional Chinese medicine.
You may love or hate the grass smell when you first get it but it will fade away with time and you will soon have forgotten about it.
Don’t forget to take good care of your mat if you want it to last. Make sure you dust it and aerate it regularly to avoid mold.