‘Tis the season for DIY – well actually, any season is a good time to design or decorate-it-yourself. And if you’re looking to mix things up in your home, why not try East Asian-inspired decor.
With this theme, it’s best to start out with a minimalist mindset. This isn’t to say that you should end up with a minimalist-inspired Japanese theme, just that you should not go too crazy when it comes to acquiring decorative items. East Asian home furniture and decor can be both utilitarian and highly rich in colors and patterns. Be warned that it can be easy to go overboard when it comes to mixing and matching the items you find. Even if you want to fully deck out your home with top-to-bottom East Asian decor, it’s easier to start with simple elements.
Decoist advises starting with a relaxed and understated backdrop. Whether it’s warm white, gentle blues, or a quiet gray, a laid-back backdrop is the first thing you need to establish. This will allow you to fully take advantage of the rich hues and lively patterns common in East Asian art. Streaks of color and nature-inspired patterns against gentle backgrounds form the foundation of modern East Asian homes. For true Asian hues they recommend “the lovely pinks of cherry blossoms, ravishing reds, and luxurious purples” all of which are considered a key element of “the Oriental style”.
In short, this is the type of design that seeks to mimic nature in many ways – while this can be said for many other design motifs, it’s especially true for East Asian decoration.
Another important factor to consider is East Asia’s rich tradition of crafts and arts. There’s a reason why fine pottery is called china. The influence of traditional Asian pottery on western European arts and crafts is well documented by institutions like Encyclopedia Britannica. If you want your home to have an authentic East Asian look and feel, you can’t go wrong with a couple pieces of fine china. Every authentic, antique piece of East Asian pottery tells a historical or religious story that reveals the region’s magnificent culture.
Religious and spiritual items are also a great choice for instilling your home with a decidedly East Asian charm. Prayer bells, incense holders, and statues of the Buddha should be respectfully used in decorating any home. You can also look to the Chinese zodiac for more inspiration. No other creature is as striking or as representative of East Asia as the dragon, an iconic mythical beast and a central part of Chinese culture. The Chinese dragon is one of the most recognizable creatures in the world, as evidenced by its many appearances in art, games, television, and film. The Chinese dragon is the main element of the games on Expat Bets, which hosts titles such as Dragon Dance and Dragon Shrine. Like all products that use the Chinese dragon, nobody needs to be told which country was the inspiration for those games. In your search for authentic Asian antiques, you’ll likely come across the dragon motif on different types of furniture. You also won’t have to tell guests where you got your inspiration from.
Last but not least: remember that thrift stores are your best friend. You’d be surprised at what you’ll find at your local secondhand/antique shop. For more DIY tips and ideas – particularly for the Christmas season – check out our article Create Unique Ornaments with Sharpie Extreme.