How to Furnish in an Asian Style

  • 01 of 08

    Asian Style Basics

    Asian style chest
    Asian style chest. Hooker

    Different elements of Asian style have influenced Western décor for centuries. Today we are so used to these Asian influences that we do not even realize where they came from. The ball and claw foot, for instance, was originally inspired by a Chinese motif.

    Asian inspired furniture draws on Japanese, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese traditions among others. The Asian style, which encompasses the Far East, is not confined to any one country or culture and spans centuries. Far from having a single...MORE homogenous look, Asian furniture can be highly ornamented, with carved surfaces and bold color, or have very simple lines, free of any ornamentation with soothing neutral tones.

    When creating your own Asian-inspired interior, you can pick and choose from different elements. Maybe what stands out as the single most defining feature is a sense of balance and a lack of clutter creating balanced, uncluttered, and harmonious interiors.

    The red and black Chinese inspired chest is from Hooker.

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  • 02 of 08

    Asian Inspired Colors

    Double Happiness Flatscreen Sideboard
    Double Happiness Flatscreen Sideboard. Red Egg

    Black and red are two colors that spring to mind when furnishing in an Asian inspired style. These colors are often found in Chinese inspired interiors. The color red is supposed to bring good luck and happiness according to Chinese traditions.

    For a dramatic Asian-inspired room, red works especially well. You need just one piece to give the room a jolt of color and drama.

    If red is not your color, black works very well to anchor a room. This is especially true when you are furnishing in a style...MORE that leans more towards a Japanese style because then most colors will be in shades of gray, tan, green or leaning towards neutral. Use brighter, richer colors for accent. Gold and silver can also be used for accent, and you will often find them in surface treatments such as gold or silver leaf or paint, or in beautifully designed hardware.

    Accent Colors

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  • 03 of 08

    Material and Texture

    Cocktail Table, Hammary
    Cocktail Table, Hammary. Photo (c) Hammary

    Texture plays an integral part in Asian style furniture. Surfaces can be smooth and shiny, because wood is either polished to perfection, painted, or lacquered. Surface interest is also created by using materials such as bamboo, paper, silver or gold leaf. Upholstery and rugs run the gamut from silk to jute and straw.

    This round cocktail table is from Hammary, and it combines some very interesting materials and textures that you find in Asian furniture. The deep dish top has a glass inset...MORE highlighted by a field of silver leaf. This is a take on an ancient art technique in which the underside of the glass is painted with an intricate pattern. The faux bamboo base has a soft black finish with a subtle red rub through.

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  • 04 of 08

    How to Use Asian Inspired Accents

    Floor pillows create an Asian look
    Floor pillows create an Asian look. Datacraft/ Getty Images

    The easiest way to make changes or bolster any style is through accents. It is the easiest and the simplest way to transition into a style, or even check out if you can live with it.

    Pillows are always easily replaced and add much to the overall look of a room. Think of adding some floor pillows when you want to decorate in an Asian style. Depending you can choose from many options. Look for colors, material and textures, and motifs that are distinctly Asian.

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  • 05 of 08

    Asian Accents for the Wall

    Shadow Box, Paragon
    Shadow Box, Paragon. Photo (c) Paragon

    Asian style accents work well on the walls, too.

    Asian calligraphy is known and recognized for its beauty. You can find plenty of prints and wall hangings that represent this art form. And when you are looking to layer a look, art on your walls is a possibility that you should explore.

    This shadowboxed crossbow has faint Asian characters in the background. The antique gold embossed frame adds a dramatic accent. Suggested retail is $459.

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  • 06 of 08

    Asian Inspired Multifunctional Furniture

    Futon, West Elm
    Futon, West Elm. Photo (c) West Elm

    Multifunctional furniture is a big component of Asian style. Futons can be used for sitting and as beds. Screens serve a decorative purpose and to divide areas and provide privacy. Small chests serve as nightstands and receptacles for personal effects, while also providing a surface that can serve as a small table.

    Futons have almost become ubiquitous today. Some retain their Asian looks, others do not. Properly speaking the word futon refers to the pad that can be rolled up and put away when it...MORE is no longer needed. This futon pad from West Elm is very Asian in its sensibility, and a boon for small spaces as well.

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  • 07 of 08

    Asian Style Room Dividers

    Jute Shoji Screen in Natural, Oriental Furniture
    Jute Shoji Screen in Natural, Oriental Furniture. Photo (c) Oriental Furniture

    Room dividers or folding screens are frequently used in Asian interiors.

    You can choose from intricately detailed and brightly colored screens to simple paper screens when it comes to room dividers. The intricately decorated ones may have accents or entire areas of gold and silver with black, red or other jewel tones.

    However if your Asian style room calls for a more simple treatment, there are plenty of choices in that as well.

    This version of a traditional Japanese shoji screen room divider has...MORE woven jute panels with the jute providing added textural interest and the tightly woven jute blocks light, adding to its functionality.

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  • 08 of 08

    Asian Style Upholstery and Fabric

    ChinHua_Century.jpg
    Fushun bunching tables from the Chin Hua collection. Century