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Elements of Asian Style Decorating

Influences from China, Japan, Korea, and the Pacific Rim

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Elements of Asian Style Decorating

A Japanese chest provides storage and a tabletop.

Many people are looking to simplify their lives and one way to do this is to simplify their surroundings.

For centuries, Asian cultures have lived their lives surrounded by simple, yet elegant, furnishings, furniture, and art.

Asian interiors are designed to bring peace, balance, and serenity to the space, which is kept simple and uncluttered. The quality and craftsmanship is exquisite. The style is merging with western style to create a unique Asian-influenced decor.

Read on for more ways to incorporate the elements of Asian style decorating into your home.

  • Use Dramatic Color
    One of the most dramatic characteristics of Asian decor is the use of color. For Chinese interiors, bold red is a dominant color as it represents good luck. Furniture is typically shiny black lacquered wood. For Japanese style decor, natural tones of brown, grey, and tan are popular. Accents in most Asian decors include gold, either as trim or wall color.

  • Texture
    When you think of Asian decor, you envision natural wood highly polished to a mirrored shine. Japanese decors use lots of luminous paper surfaces and natural rocks. Bamboo, a large grass, is used for furniture, picture frames, window shades, and containers.

  • Nature's Green
    Natural plants and cuttings provide texture and artistic expression in Asian interiors. Bamboo plants in both small and large pots are adorned with red and gold tassels. They are found in Chinese style homes. Meticulously manicured bonsai plants are found in Japanese style homes.

  • Multi-Purpose Furniture
    With space at a minimum in many Asian interiors, furniture that serves multiple purposes are prominent. A futon provides seating and sleeping in one piece of furniture. A wooden trunk with many drawers provides out-of-sight storage and serves as a table top.

  • Oriental Rugs
    Floor covering is the foundation for Asian interiors, whether it's a tatami mat in a Japanese room or a beautiful floral wool rug in a Chinese interior. Furniture and fabric colors enhance and draw out the colors in the flooring.

  • Windows
    Window treatments serve to bring balance into an Asian style room. Generally, if the decorative elements (furniture, rugs, wall treatments) are elaborate, the window treatments should be simple. However, if the color palate is neutral, you might add colorful or patterned window treatments. General, Japanese window treatments use simple woven curtains or bamboo or wood blinds. You might see more elaborate and ornate window treatments with tassels and texture in a Chinese decor.

  • Screens
    With space in Asian interiors at a minimum, floor screens are a major element of the decor. A Shoji screen can provide a window cover, serve as a room divider, or hide an unattractive corner.

  • Water
    Nature provides an important influence in Asian interiors and the delicate sound of falling water and the peaceful look of standing water with fish are prominent in Asian interiors.

Resist the temptation to combine too many pieces or elements of Asian decor into one room. Simplicity and serenity are key and essential to a truly authentic Asian style room.

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