Japan has a long history of developing thoughtful, tidy design ideas. That’s why the traditional bedroom setup in Japan is perfect for anyone who lives in a tiny house or any other sort of close quarters.
Why You Should Use A Shikibuton
Before we get into that, think about a typical Western tiny house or studio apartment setup. A full-size Western bed takes up about 28 square feet of space. That’s a pretty big slice of 400 square feet or less, especially considering you shouldn’t use your bed to sit on when you’re not sleeping. (That can really affect the quality of your sleep.)
Japanese people have lived in cramped quarters for centuries, and they came up with the perfect solution to this problem a long time ago. You might have heard that some Japanese people sleep on the floor. That’s not exactly true. In fact, many Japanese people sleep on shikibuton mattresses, which lay directly on the floor.
Shikibuton Vs. Futon: What Is A Shikibuton?
A shikibuton is a kind of mattress invented in Japan that the user folds up and stores every morning. Shikibuton do not rest on a bed frame. Instead, Japanese people typically lay shikibuton on top of tatami (woven rice straw) mats.
Shikibuton are one of the two components of futon, a Japanese bed set. In the United States and other Western countries, the word “futon” has changed meanings. In the U.S., futon describes a bed with a thick mattress that can be converted into a couch.
In its native language, futon means the two components—the shikibuton and the kakebuton (duvet)—that comprise a bed that sits on floor tatami.
Types Of Shikibuton
Shikibuton come in all sorts of sizes, shapes, and material. Here’s what you should consider if you’re thinking about buying a shikibuton:
|Size||Do you want a twin, full, queen, or king futon?|
|Fill||Down, foam, or cotton?|
|Thickness||How much separation do you want from the floor? Does your house get cold at night?|
|Fabric||Do you have allergy needs that dictate what kind of fabric your shikibuton should be?|
|Storage||Where will you keep your shikibuton during the day?|
How To Use A Shikibuton
When you’re ready for bed, you’ll have to set up your futon:
- Unroll the futon.
- Shake or beat the shikibuton to get out fibers, dust, and pests like spiders.
- Sweep the area where you intend to sleep.
- Lay the shikibuton on the floor where you intend to sleep.
- Make the bed with kakebuton and pillows.
- Get cozy!
In The Morning
You’ll need to stow your futon every morning:
- Rise and shine!
- When you’ve rubbed the sleep out of your eyes, take the kakebuton off your futon and store it.
- Give your shikibuton another shake.
- Check to see whether your shikibuton is damp.
- When the shikibuton is dry, or if it was not damp in the first place, fold it up and put it in a closet.
How To Maintain A Shikibuton
Shikibuton need to be dried regularly. We perspire a lot when we’re sleeping! Condensation can also form on the floor under certain circumstances, especially if you sleep with a humidifier.
So, if you sleep on a shikibuton, you should dry it daily. If the shikibuton is notably damp, set up a fan to dry it or hang it on a clothesline or over a rail in direct sunlight.
A shikibuton that is not regularly dried with a fan or direct sunlight can get moldy, damp, and stinky. Mold is extremely dangerous to humans’ mental and pulmonary health.
Also, shikibuton need to be folded up and stored every day. Storage extends the life of the mattress and prevents dust and pests from gaining access to it. Plus, if you’re trying to get the most out of a small space, putting away your bed is the whole point!
Examples Of Shikibuton
A classic futon in a tatami room.
A traditional Japanese bedtime setup.
Last night I had the best sleep on a traditional Japanese shikibuton in a tatami room with a view of Lake Kawaguchi ? but the reason I slept so soundly was probably because I can finally go to sleep knowing I passed the New York Bar! I did it! I'm officially a lawyer now ??⚖️ thank you to all my family and friends for your love and support, and for believing in me even when I didn't believe in myself ? . . . #happy #thankful #passedthebar #ownedthebar #shikibuton #tatami #thankyoumommy #iloveyou #japan #lakekawaguchi #kawaguchi #mountfuji #views #japanese #japonaise #lawyered #travelgram #travelbug #traveling #yamanashi
Up close on a check futon.
Pairs well with succulents!
Recently we’ve made a floor bed for a special customer of ours and we got in return a total heart melt ?: “I wanted to let you know I received my mattress yesterday and I LOVE IT!!! It is aesthetically so beautiful and sleeps like a dream. It is exactly what I was hoping for and arrived in record time. Thank you guys so much for the beautiful labor of love. I will cherish it for many years!!!” ? ? ? ? ? The best reward in the end of a hardworking week for us! Please give us a shout when you receive your products, we love to hear your thoughts and opinions
Trying out futon.
A more modern futon.
How to use your tatami bedroom during the day.
Shikibuton on the ground right before bedtime.
Time to hit the hay. Do any of you guys have a shikibuton? They look pretty comfortable. #shikibuton #japaneseculture #anime #animeforlife #animefollow #animeaddict #animelover #animefreak #animeforever #manga #mangaaddict #mangafreak #mangalover #mangaforever #otaku #otakulife #otakulifestyle #otakify #california #losangeles
Futon are perfect for van life!
Shikibuton in a more Western setting.
Peaceful. Floor sleeping has become the norm for me. One thing I love to do is change the orientation of the futon often. I have 3 tatami so it can go in many positions. Right now I sleep under the window and listen to the rain at night and the birds in the morning. Not always waking up with the same view!
Trying out futon.
Try new things… Like a traditional #japaneseinn We tried sleeping on #shikibuton which is the mattress portion of the #japanesefuton The beds go directly on top of #traditional #tatami mats made of rice straw. Rooms are easily convertible and serve many purposes. #clearwaternagano #sleepoverparty #sistercitiesinternational
This woman loves her shikibuton!
Buddhist temple futon.
Another classic Japanese bedroom.
Where To Buy Shikibuton
Futon stores tend to carry shikibuton. So do some bedding stores. You can also buy shikibuton online. Here are some Prime-eligible shikibuton that we found on Amazon:
- FULI Shikibuton, approx. $200
- Milliard Tri-folding Mattress, approx. $90
- EMOOR Shikibuton, approx. $200
- EMOOR Shikibuton “Rococo,” approx. $150