Vintage Asian Style: Re-Invent Your Home

Asian design has become a popular interior design trend in America and Europe. It’s graceful, elegant, exotic — a great way to add flair to your home. Some people carry the theme throughout the home, while others devote it to a special room — a Pan-Asian living room, a Chinese boudoir.

There’s no shortage of home decorating television programs and easy-to-find books that can give you pointers to adding a little oriental mystique to your living room. Perhaps the trend is becoming too common?

That’s why I’m going to help you take your style factor to the next level.


Step 1: Find Your Inspiration

The creative process begins with a spark. Here is how to find yours. Start by immersing yourself in the world of Asian vintage. Asia is a huge continent, and vintage, well, that could mean almost any time period. You’ll need to narrow it down and find a time or place that sings to you.

Will you go bold and sleek with vintage Chinese propaganda posters and furniture that mirrors the illustrations’ clean lines and color blocks? Are you going to go Colonial Indochina, merging 1940s and 50s French elegance with tropical Vietnamese pastels? Classical Siamese dream with golden accents and a few stunning antiques? Asia mod with a retro-pop theme?

The internet is a great place to explore the design possibilities. Start by browsing informational websites on vintage Asian style. You will find many wonderful objects and images for inspiration. Then look at the websites of Asian heritage hotels. Most of them have dedicated photo libraries online where you can browse through their rooms and soak up their atmosphere and interior design aesthetics. You can even find wonderful inspiration in modern Asian design hotels, as they often appropriate traditional local style and interesting vintage items in contemporary ways.


Step 2: Source your Design Stars

Where are you ever going to find all the materials for your Tokyo Time Warp living room? Don’t worry. It’s easier than you think.

First of all, a few signature pieces go a long way. You don’t need to buy all imported antique furniture and source vintage fabrics for every soft spot plus find paint that’s been sitting in an Osaka warehouse since 1932. Concentrate on your room highlights.

You can find tons of vintage Asian illustrations, prints and posters to order online. There’s a wide selection of beautiful reproductions only a few clicks away.


Step 3: Design Your Supporting Cast

Build a vintage Asian supporting cast with local materials and furnishings. Paint is paint. To a certain extent, fabric is fabric. Locally bought non-Asian items can still work beautifully in your Asian concept. Just know what color schemes and textures you want to go for. Decide upon a color scheme and textures or materials that will complement your design stars.

Sometimes a carefully placed splash of color can do wonders for the entire space. Red is an extremely popular color in China as well as many other Chinese influenced areas of Asia such as Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. How about one red wall? It’s bright and energetic, without being as overpowering as four walls of fire engine, and it makes a wonderful backdrop for a painting or artfully arranged objects such as masks or wood carvings. Deep purple can also have a very Asian feel.


The Final Touches

Soft accents like fragrance, sound, and flavor. An essential oil burner with a fragrance like lemongrass or ylang-ylang will do wonders. The bubbling sound of a fountain will Zen your surroundings to perfect peace. A bowl of Asian sweets from your local Asian grocer is a nice touch, and when entertaining or enjoying the room solo, a pot of green tea will transport you to the time and place of your choosing. Happy decorating!

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