How to draw on the rich cultures of the East to create a stylish living space
The rich cultures of the East have long been a source of inspiration. From the 18th Century Chinoiserie furniture to minimalist brands emerging in the 1990s, European interiors have been influenced by Eastern aesthetics for centuries.
Whether you’re looking for a signature piece to create a focal point in your living room, or you want to create a themed lounge that’s tastefully inspired by Eastern elements, we’ll give you plenty of ideas on:
To start, you can make a subtle nod to Eastern styles by making some bold colour choices.
High gloss might be a reasonably modern phenomenon in the UK, but you can use materials with a slight shine to reflect the lacquer found on furniture from the many of the eras of Eastern design.
Glossy blacks and rich reds make for great usage of key colours. Consider deep reds for curtains, cushions and even walls and flooring.
Take a look at our red vinyl flooring. The smooth, slightly reflective surface will add a touch of glamour to the simple base of your new lounge.
If you want to experiment, use the visualiser tool to upload a photo of your living room and try out some different flooring options.
Now you’re ready to add some decorative items.
If you have the budget to splash out on one original piece of furniture, for example, a traditional Chinese cabinet, there are a multitude of specialists around. But remember this is Asian chic — which means you borrow the elements you want and be strategic about the styles you imitate.
Explore the idea of Wabi sabi — set to be influencing style trends for the future. This traditional Japanese aesthetic sees the beauty in imperfection and celebrates the distressed look.
Could you transform an existing piece of furniture? A distressed paint job in black or red, followed by a coat of wax for high shine is one option. Or you could take a rummage through some second hand furniture shops.
Other items you may want to think about include; lacquered display cabinets, low coffee tables, slim consoles, pieces with signature tapered legs, and vintage trunks polished in red or black.
You could break up large spaces with traditional, yet affordable, Japanese Shoji screens, or go for dark wood decorative panels for your walls.
Get rooting around and get creative. Add some inexpensive gold, or red tassel ties to drawer handles and cushions. You could even try using them as curtain tie-backs to emulate Chinese elegance.
With so many influential cultures and periods you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to accessories.
What’s really great is that you can add as many (or few) as you like — it’s the perfect opportunity to mix things up and create a coherent theme.
The art of the East
Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic representation of the ocean, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, comes with a cool price tag of nearly £52,000. Now we know that most of us don’t have that kind of budget, but thankfully the cultures of China, Japan and beyond are as rich and diverse as they are influential.
From simple wood block prints to silk painted panels picturing exotic flowers and calligraphy — you’ll have no trouble finding something to mount the wall of your new lounge.
Start from the ground up
Now that you know what to search for it’s time to start dreaming up your Eastern retreat. If you want to kick start your project why not start by experimenting with floor coverings and colours? Order free flooring samples to your home today.
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