Although common in Japanese homes, tatami matting has yet to migrate throughout the region with the same speed as the kitschy lucky cat or the Hokusai wave print. Japanese restaurant Kushiyaki (below) at Langham Place is one venue where the material has been installed to lovely effect. Designed by Jason Caroline Design (tel: 2893 4061), the establishment incorporates a modified version of the traditional material into the sunken seating areas of the dining room, achieving a tea-house effect that's as attractive as it is appropriate. 'Tatami is like a grid system of mats,' says Jason Yung, who runs the firm with Caroline Ma. This makes the material flexible so it can be used in a variety of spots around the home and in a range of configurations. In Japan it's used as flooring, as well as a surface on which to sit and sleep. For those living in small Hong Kong homes, Yung suggests installing a tatami platform floor that creates hidden storage space below deck and, with a few throw pillows, provides a relaxed place for guests to gather. Those with more space could customise a tatami platform bed - a feature that can also be tailored to increase storage capacity. Tatami is made of a thick rice core with a soft, texturally pleasing natural reed cover, bordered at the sides by cloth or synthetic tape. Yung favours a modern, sleek take on the material, which is traditionally quite thick. For spill-prone areas, he recommends a plastic-coated bamboo style, although traditional tatami is durable and fairly easy to clean. Ito Futon (64-66 Wellington St, Central, tel: 2845 1138; www.ito futon.com) custom makes tatami mats and has a wide selection of trimmings and accessories. Prices vary according to size and thickness, ranging from $1,500 (91.5cm by 183cm; 5.1cm thickness) to $1,700 (91.5cm by 200cm; 5.1cm thickness) per mat. Discounted ex-exhibition mats are also available, priced at $750. Plastic versions are available from Sankon (39 Wellington St, Central, tel: 2543-3880) and cost $150 per square foot.