8 Tips for Decorating With Asian Furnishings

Don’t stop with an Oriental rug — finish the look with furniture and accessories.

There's more to Asian furnishings than formal pieces such as Chinese porcelains, Japanese Imari and Oriental rugs. Less formal pieces also go a long way toward setting an Asian tone. Consider these suggestions for fleshing out the look:

1. Display a Japanese obi (kimono belt) on a stand, or use one as a table/chest runner.

2. Place a Japanese tansu in the kitchen. These traditional chests have a number of compartments and sliding grated doors, much like antique pie safes. A tansu can also be used in the home office or as an entertainment center. Large ones can accommodate a television, while smaller sizes are perfect for a bedside table. The design is very linear and would work well even with modern decor.

3. Decorate with sake jugs. Look for simple designs with Japanese writing.

4. Use traditional Japanese hibachis as planters to hold orchids. Or top a wood and copper-lined hibachi with glass for a coffee table. Display items such as an Indian incense burner and an old abacus inside and on top of the glass. Originally used as heaters, they come in all shapes and sizes.

5. Hang kimonos on the wall. Kimonos are actually very long, as the fabric is folded over several times at the waist and held in place with an obi. They're formal enough to display in the living or dining room and are also great for a bedroom accented with a Japanese fan.

6. Store CDs, art supplies or clothing accessories in the many small drawers of a 19th century Chinese apothecary chest.

7. Have a local lamp shop turn a 19th-century Chinese jar (or a vase or a jug) into a lamp.

8. Use a Japanese granite lantern indoors or on the patio. Hang a Japanese rain chain (typically used as downspouts) next to it as a sculpture.

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