PUBLISHED: 16:37 31 January 2019
With Chinese New Year celebrations in swing, now is the ideal time to bring home a touch of Eastern style, says Gabrielle Fagan.
A new year can be all about giving things up – very worthy but, let’s be honest, pretty boring. So why not celebrate a new decor style instead? Take inspiration from the Chinese New Year (2019 is ‘Year of the Pig’), which begins on February 5, and look East for your next style direction.
And you won’t have to venture far. Asian decor is on trend, currently making its mark on contemporary spaces everywhere, so there’s a host of Eastern-inspired treasures to be found.
There’s something about its serenity, soothing forms and balance that perfectly suits modern homes. Glossy, lacquered furniture, delicate patterns and glowing colours are all key ingredients in this look.
“As Chinese New Year approaches, the interiors world is travelling East, and the first port of call? Chinoiserie,” says Nadia McCowan Hill, Wayfair’s resident style advisor.
See PA Feature INTERIORS Chinese. Picture: Chase & Wonder/PA/Photo/Handout.
“This intricate and highly decorative trend is often attributed to traditional lacquered Chinese cabinets. Delicate bird and butterfly motifs that embellish them will create an illusion of distant lands, but be sure to modernise the look by opting for a bright, exotic hue,” she adds.
Eastern-inspired interiors can be both opulent and minimalistic, she points out. “Select items glazed with bold metallics – deep gold and sultry silver – which will update traditional shapes such as bamboo legs or pagoda inspired table tops,” McCowan Hill suggests.
Create a great wall of China
A dragon mural will be a mesmerising focal point in a room that celebrates Asian style.
Bright, vivid colours are used in Oriental-style decorating, with red, gold and black being dominant. A favourite feature are gold or multi-coloured dragons, a popular creature in Eastern mythology which symbolises power and strength.
Take away a Chinese look
“An easy way to incorporate this trend into your home is with textiles and accessories,” says McCowan Hill. “For a bold look, go graphic with an illustrative geisha cushion, featuring ruby lips and endless fashion inspiration.
“For on-point textures, stick to silk and brocade inspired by the hand craftsmanship of the Far Orient.”
If you want to increase your chances of good fortune, according to Chinese tradition, incorporate red into a scheme. The colour is associated with good luck, and is a key theme for any New Year celebrations.
Make it zen
Asian-style interiors instantly evoke an image of serenity and tranquil calm, perfect for sanctuaries where we can retreat and escape our fast-paced lifestyles.
Keep the backdrop as neutral as possible. But remember, that does not have to mean white is the only option – pale or dark blue, or even and elegant grey will work well. Then simply pay a nod to the East with a display of blue and white porcelain or china pieces, such as jars and vases.
Invest in a treasure of the Orient
Follow the ‘less is more’ rule to bring a simply decorated room to life, with an Eastern chest or cabinet. These are generally painted or lacquered, or embellished with landscapes, gardens or nature-inspired scenes.
Double up for drama
When designing a room, interior decorators often double up on everything – from chairs and end tables to floor lamps – using symmetry to essentially create two matching halves within a space, that add up to one glamorous and harmonious setting.
“When designing a contemporary home, I always like to add Eastern-inspired pieces. Placed correctly, they make a bold statement that adds a sense of tradition to a modern interior,” says Sue Jones, creative director, OKA.
Blossom fit for an empress
Although cherry blossom is the national flower of Japan – it represents the beauty and fragility of life – it’s increasingly common in China too.
Designs incorporating the foliage and lovely blush pink flower are the perfect ingredient for a subtle Eastern look with a more feminine touch. Wallsauce has a Delicate Chinese Landscape Illustration Wallpaper Mural, from £26 per square metre, featuring Cherry Blossom.
Balance your yin and yang
Black and white is a classic colour combination, and could bring a ‘yin yang’ sense of contrast and balance to a decor scheme.
Monochrome porcine accessories are surely a must in the Year of the Pig. The animal occupies the last position in the 12 Chinese Zodiac and the creature represents luck, overall good fortune, wealth, honesty, and general prosperity and animals.