Thinking about incorporating a bit of Chinese decorating elements into your home? How many of us grew up in the west, millions of miles away from China, eating chow mein noodles, Szechuan chicken, and other famous Chinese dishes? And there are plenty of westerners who know how to use chopsticks. In recent times, however, the trend is not just to eat Chinese food, but many people are now making over their homes in the Chinese decorating style.
So what is the Chinese decorating style when it comes to home interior decorating? Chinese décor (and also Asian style in general) is very simple and it also involves the use of a lot of natural materials. Dark, rich colors are used, giving the room a very atmospheric look.
If you really want to use popular Chinese colors, you would choose red, gold, yellow, green, and purple. In fact, the Chinese decorating tradition ascribes certain meanings to these colors. Red, for example, represents happiness, strength, and good fortune. Yellow and gold symbolize good health and longevity. Green represents family, while purple is the color of spirituality. However, you should always avoid plain black or white.
For Chinese decorating, the furniture in general is varnished and lacquered, which lengthens its lifespan but also gives it a specific look. It is often multifunctional. For example, the traditional Chinese futon can be either used for sleeping or it can be closed up and used as seating. Chinese furniture is often made from good quality wood, such as mahogany or rosewood. If you can’t afford such items, then maybe look for simpler items made from lighter wood that may be more within your price range.
In terms of furnishings, Chinese silk is particularly appropriate, decorated with meadows, dragons (which are meant as protection), and country scenes. You may use Chinese silk cushions, curtains, and wall hangings to decorate the room, adding certain richness to the décor.
For the floor, you may want to choose a simple bamboo area rug, or if you want something a little softer you could go for a natural flokati rug. It may not be as authentically Chinese, but at least you are using a natural material, which is very much in keeping with the Chinese decorating style.
If you want to give your room even more of a traditional Chinese decorating feel, you could use room dividers. These are screens made from dark varnished wood and decorated with traditional scenes. The lighting can come from Chinese paper lanterns, and a set of bamboo wind chimes would certainly add to the atmosphere.
If you eat in this room, you may consider investing in a set of willow pattern plates, very much in keeping with Chinese tradition, along with chopsticks and a blue and white tea set. Little terracotta statues are common accessories, adding more color and atmosphere to the room. Flowers may be placed in decorated porcelain vases and glazed pottery. You may also want to introduce scented candles with their atmospheric fragrance, along with incense burners.
How much of these elements you wish to introduce into your living room really depends on you. The Chinese decorating method does not only focus on the external. There are many meanings behind the materials that are used. But if you do decide to go all the way with Chinese decorating, it certainly gives your home a very special and atmospheric feel.
And by all means, if you're going to decorate with Chinese influences, you have to incorporate a bit of Feng Shui. Watch this video for some great tips.