15 Asian-Inspired Design Ideas
From chinoiserie to Zen, Asian style is influencing modern home designs in the Western world. Browse through our 15 favorite Asian-inspired spaces, and slip into a state of peace and tranquility.
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November 25, 2014
One of the most recognizable figures in Asian design is Siddhartha Gautama, better known as Buddha or the "Enlightened One." Gautama was a spiritual teacher in the 5th century B.C. and the founder of Buddhism. The iconic figure of Buddha is represented worldwide with harmonious proportions from head to toe, including elongated earlobes, a notable head elevation, broad, even shoulders and a mark between the eyebrows. Adding a modern-day Buddha statue to your decor is an easy way to bring Asian influence into your home. Design by Marie Burgos. Photography by Francis Augustine
Mix traditional and Asian elements into your design scheme for an elegant yet eclectic look. In this casual living room designer Jane Ellison added a bold cobalt-blue color along the back wall to pull out the muted blues in the sofa detail, as well as the hues in the porcelain pieces. Oriental blue and white wares were developed in China in the 14th century, and by the 17th century the pieces were considered prized possessions and collected by European royalty. These porcelain pieces, along with the bamboo shade, Japanese tatami mat and bronze accessories, pull in familiar Asian elements while adding some unexpected cultural flair.
Zen State of Mind
Zen is a Japanese school of Buddhism that aims for a state of enlightenment through meditation and wisdom. Many try to apply Zen principles within their lifestyle, as well as in their design scheme, to create a more soothing environment overall. In this elegant master bathroom, designer Gayle Wainwright of Chez Vous Interiors used calm, neutral hues, simple furnishings, natural materials and crisp, clean lines to create a balanced and harmonious space. "Each detail was chosen carefully: the patina on the life-sized Buddha, as well as the color and shape of the plants. All elements add depth to this space," she says.
If elegant, European decor is more your style, add Asian flair with chinoiserie furniture, textiles and accessories. Chinoiserie (a French term meaning "Chinese-esque") originated in 17th- and 18th-century Europe as a representation of fanciful Chinese influences through intricate and imaginary designs. With a touch of whimsy, the drawings and designs are most often found on cabinets, porcelain objects and embroideries. HGTV fan LaDolfina mixed contemporary decor with chinoiserie influences for an elegant approach to Asian design. The most notable piece of chinoiserie decor is the fireplace and mantel, purchased in the Marais District in Paris.
Sweet Feng Shui
The art of feng shui has been practiced in ancient Chinese cultures for centuries but is now being integrated into Western interior design and architecture. According to feng shui, everything has a positive or negative energy. In order to balance these energies, designs must be carefully thought out to create an overall feeling of harmony in a room. Designer Marie Burgos incorporated natural feng shui elements into this Asian-style master bedroom, including the color scheme, bamboo platform bed, hand-forged drum side tables and traditional Japanese shoji screens.
To create a subtle Asian design, HGTV fan Yorokobi integrated calming hues of sage and beige while combining modern and antique-inspired accessories. The most eye-catching piece in the living room is the stone art trio depicting different Chinese warriors, which immediately emits strength and power. Offset in the room, a stone statue of Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of great compassion, serves as a calm and comforting symbol of Buddhism, while adding a strong, cultural element to the space.
Revamp your deck or patio by incorporating antique, Asian-inspired decor into your design scheme. HGTV fan LaDolfina carried the chinoiserie theme onto her outdoor pavilion with these lean, black lanterns and Kelly-green trumeau mirror. Originally produced in 18th-century France, trumeau mirrors were intended to hang between windows to bring more light into the room and enhance the decor. They are known for having an ornate and decorative portion at the top, above the mirror, and are almost always rectangular in shape. The gold illustrations on this version depict the European chinoiserie designs, while adding a decorative element to the home's exterior.
Nothing seems quite as relaxing as this outdoor Asian-inspired garden, washitsu and dining area. A washitsu is a Japanese-style room known for its tatami flooring and sliding doors. Typically measured by the size of the tatami mat, this small washitsu is ideal for intimate gatherings and entertaining guests. Designer Jamie Durie added a dry riverbed filled with crushed quartz to represent the energetic flow of the space. A small dose of red breaks up the neutral color scheme and natural green surroundings for an invigorating use of color. You can easily enhance the mood and energy of your outdoor space by using eco-friendly materials and calm hues. Photography by Jason Busch
With wallpaper making a big comeback, HGTV fan LaDolfina didn't waste any time adding a gorgeous chinoiserie silk screen mural to her powder room. Silk screening originated in Japan and was known for its level of intricacy and the skills required to stencil print on fabric. The technique was eventually carried to the West in the early 20th century and was considered a fine art form. Now, the wallpaper industry makes it possible to get the high-quality look of silk screening in your own home. To complement the gold background of the mural, she added an antique, geometric mirror and cast-iron koi fish to the vanity.
In Japanese culture, red is a powerful color that symbolizes strong emotions, like excitement, strength and passion. This deep hue also signifies the color of the sun and is commonly associated with life, energy and vitality. Designer Jane Ellison kept the color scheme entirely neutral in this Asian-style breakfast nook, allowing the red leather seat cushions to exert energy and make a bold statement on their own. To add an extra element of Japanese culture, Jane incorporated fresh cherry blossoms into the design. Indigenous to East Asia, this plant is considered a symbol for life and good fortune. The blooms look especially lovely in the Chinese blue and white porcelain vase.
With pre-set table settings, a modern, Asian-style centerpiece and intimate surroundings, this Japanese-inspired outdoor space is ready for hosting dinner parties and warm weather get-togethers. A traditional Japanese table setting consists of a rice bowl, soup bowl, three flat side dishes, chopsticks and a chopsticks holder. Designer Jamie Durie depicts the traditional Japanese table with Western flair by stacking the dishes for a more space-saving and modern look. Japanese screens and an adjacent tatami room add to the privacy and feng shui of the space.
Most modern Japanese homes still consist of at least one tatami room, much like the one in this California home. The minimalist appeal of Japanese design is clearly seen through the simplicity of this room. Custom shoji screens allow the space to remain open to the other rooms of the home, with the ability to slide them shut for privacy. This short-legged dining table, or chabudai, is common in traditional Japanese homes, originating from its small, box-shaped predecessors known as hazoken. The larger table allows for more guests, and the legs easily fold up for quick storage, allowing the room to provide more use than just dining. Design by HGTV fan RemodelWest
Asian-inspired design doesn't have to be full of ancient Japanese artifacts or chinoiserie decor. This modern Asian bathroom incorporates the style's natural elements, like bamboo and orchids, with modern materials and hues. The suspended stainless steel structure on the ceiling represents a Japanese bamboo and reed shade trellis but with modern-day appeal. Although surrounded by charcoal tile and stainless steel, the bathroom still emits a feeling of tranquility for a spa-like experience. Design by Danenberg Design
Designer Marie Burgos creatively integrated the Chinese practice of Zen into this living room and yoga space. "Openness and light are the basis of this Zen design, which was created to enhance the auspicious flow of energy, calmness and comfort," she says. Natural, eco-friendly elements, including the bamboo wooden table, traditional Japanese tatami mats and Asian artwork, help create balance and harmony in the space. By carefully choosing furniture and accessories, you can bring a natural, feng shui feel to your home.
This Western representation of Asian influence pulls in the neutral tones often seen in the design, as well as a minimalist use of decor and accessories. Straight-lined, dark wood furniture follows the modern style often associated with Asian design, while the bamboo walls and lampshade provide natural, eco-friendly elements within the space. A statue of Kuan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, adds an ancient Buddhist feel often desired for a Zen-like environment. Image courtesy of aspenhome
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