Oriental or Asian inspired furniture can be difficult describe, it’s one of those things where you just know it when you see it. But if you are redecorating your home, and using an Asian inspired decor style as your theme, there are a few tips that I can share with you on choosing furniture with a Far-East, Moroccan or Indian inspired influences.
1. Go for dark woods: Even when a furniture piece isn’t specifically labeled or described as “Asian inspired”, a general rule of thumb for buying furniture to compliment the theme is to go with dark wood pieces. By dark I do not mean cherrywood or mahogany – but black or ebony colored woods. Now of course there are exceptions to every rule and there will be pieces that are very much orient inspired, but made from lighter materials. In those cases we will rely on other aspects of Asian culture to tie it all in.
2. Skip the brass hardware: Generally speaking, you won’t find a lot of silver or gold colored hardware on furniture inspired by Oriental influences, so to compliment your Asian inspired room – look for pieces with hardware (knobs and such) that are have a slightly tarnished or worn look – if any at all. The exception to this rule is a gold or silver piece that includes Asian imagery or symbolism such as a dragon, elephant or Chinese calligraphy script.
3. Don’t be afraid of red: We tend to avoid the color red in our decorating concepts, especially when it comes to larger pieces and choices in paint colors. Now again, speaking generally – that’s fine. You don’t want to go overboard with the color, particularly when employing Feng Shui concepts. However, red is a wonderful accent color to use in your design motif. In Chinese culture, red corresponds with the fire energy and symbolizes good fortune and joy. You will find the color displayed prominently during the Chinese New Year, family gatherings, and weddings as it symbolizes happiness. Adding a red console table or accent table to a room will invite the energy of happiness into your home.
4. Play on prints: There is certain images that have become a trademark so to speak of the Asian design style. I mentioned the use of Chinese calligraphy in tip #2, along with Japanese Kanji symbols – you’ll find these markings on a lot of contemporary furniture and wall decor. You may also want to consider accent tables with painted appliques of cherry blossoms, the dragon and phoenix, elephants or other traditional Asian settings.
There are other things that highlight the rich culture of the Far and middle east including the use of natural wood, specifically bamboo, clean lines, saddle style tables, and tables that sit low(er) to the ground than normal.