February 1st is just around the corner and this year that means it’s time to celebrate Chinese New Year. Whether you’re planning to usher in the year of the Tiger with an epic roar or not, there’s so much about the beauty of Chinese art and style worth celebrating.
Art isn’t just about what you can see. It’s also about how it makes you feel. This is certainly true of Chinese interior design, making anyone who enters the room feel cozy and relaxed from the moment they step inside. How can you do that, too?
Today we’ll turn to traditional Chinese style — aka Asian style — for inspiration for taking your home, office, or any other space you love to new heights. We’ll set you up with ideas for incorporating Chinese interior design through different types of furniture, flooring, and decor you can use to get more of that timeless, ancient elegance in your life.
One of the easiest ways to bring Chinese interior design into your home is by incorporating Asian-style furniture.
Somehow simultaneously simple and ornate, Asian-syle furniture uses a lot of exposed wood with deep, rich tones and often ornately carved, heavily lacquered artistic flourishes. And cushions are usually crisp and taut and either simple, solid-colored, or exquisitely patterned.
There’s a strong similarity between the clean, bold, unimposing aesthetic of modern decor and Asian-styled furniture design. Giving the eye — and the room’s energy — free range to roam. Take a stroll through these rooms to get a sense of what we mean.
Now let’s zoom in a bit closer. Consider adding an Asian-inspired coffee table. Something with carved wood and rounded edges that ground and center — visually appealing but unpretentious. Also, one heck of a conversation starter. Pair it with chairs letting their traditional style influence shine like hardwood, rattan, or bamboo. Or lean modern with sleek upholstered armchairs with wood accents.
There are loads of new and antique Asian-style chairs available in different shapes and styles. Let yourself explore and find the right feel for your space.
Ready for a new sofa? Upgrade in style and Chinese interior design inspiration without sacrificing comfort or that trendy edge. Lean crisp and modern. Perhaps even tighten it up with tufting. And for your new upholstery — or reupholstery — try a simple, calming off-white cotton-blend tweed. Or go bold and elegant with a faux silk in a grey, Asian latticed pattern for performance and panache.
Whether you stick with a Western-style sofa and tweak it with some traditional Chinese fabric or add a Chinese-style couch to the design mix, your sofa can be a great accent piece to bring some of that Asian design into your home.
Simplicity. We’re hitting the thesaurus hard today to find new ways of saying the word “simple.” It’s such a central pillar of what makes Asian design feel calming, grounding, and energetically free to flow.
And that’s why another way to bring Chinese interior design into your favorite space is by adding some Asian-style flooring. Simplicity finds its way into the flooring through the use of smooth, organic surfaces like wood or marble. Visually, they don’t clutter or weigh a space down with textures or visual noise. Practically, they’re easy to clean and maintain.
Choose wood in a color that’s more on the warm side. Think golden tones or deep browns to make your room feel warmer and cozier. Of course, bamboo is the ideal traditional go-to type of wood, but any polished or laminated option will fit the bill. Or stick with your existing wood floor and DIY it with a coat of paint or a sand, stain, and lacquer project.
For another quintessential Chinese flooring option for your home use smooth and polished marble or stone floor tiling — again, simple. And amp up the impact of whatever flooring your choose by contrasting the color of the wood or stone flooring with the color of the walls and you’ll further open up the energy of the space. Cool, right?
One last flooring idea is tatami matting. Tatami mats are made with woven straw and typically come in a natural brown color. Though traditionally more closely associated with Japanese design, they fit right in with the uncluttered expansiveness of most Chinese design styles. They’re also easy to clean and maintain since you can simply sweep them or vacuum them as needed.
Furniture and flooring are important to set the vibe, but let’s look at the huge difference small decor can make. With the flow, simplicity, and boldness of Asian design, less is decidedly more. Avoid overcrowding spaces with too many different colors, patterns, and pieces all mixed together.
One way that’s easy (and delightfully kitschy) is using paper lanterns for decorative lighting. For example, you can place one in your dining room window or on a small table that’s close to the front door. Try hanging a string of lanterns bordering an accent wall or go all-in and cover the ceiling.
Bring Asian art into your home with a painted folding screen, porcelain vase, or wooden sculptures. Add natural elements like a tabletop rock garden or bamboo plants. Hang some Chinese-inspired wall art — often made from silk and celebrating the country’s rich history, landscape, and culture. Think in terms of showcasing pieces rather than filling a room. Again, less is more.
And then there’s our old friend the throw pillow. Given the traditionally simple wooden frame of Asian-style chairs and sofas, throw pillows provide a great opportunity for a pop of design style and a bit of a comfort upgrade as well.
Try adding throw pillows in a light and lovely textured linen fabric with a crewel embroidered Floral Asian pattern. Or bring in more of the smooth elegance of the feel of silk in a latticed patterned deep burgundy — sure to pop with elegance against any solid-colored sofa or wooden chair.
Finally, and just because it works design-wise and it’s fun, try using items with a meaning behind them, such as the zodiac animal symbol of the year. Or hang art featuring Chinese calligraphy that holds meaning you want to infuse your space with. Maybe go with pieces calligraphed with words like peace, joy, or home.
Wow, there are far more ideas, inspiration, and possibilities in Chinese-inspired interior design than could possibly be explored in brief. But if Asian-style design is calling you, we hope we got the ideas flowing and whet your appetite for more.
Remember: simplicity is the key. By keeping the space simple, you’ll give this ancient, elegant, and sophisticated interior design style the room to truly shine. And lift the look and feel of your space while you’re at it.
As ever, when you’re trying to find just the right upholstery for your new Asian-inspired sofas, chairs, headboards, pillows, drapes, and more. We love helping you. Give us a call today. Xin nian kuai le! (Happy Chinese New Year!)