From feng shui to minimalism, the Far East has inspired generations of interior styles and designers. Asia is the world’s largest continent, so any discussion of Asian style inevitably uses broad brushstrokes - but by drawing out just a few select design elements from countries including Japan, Thailand, China and Malaysia, it’s possible to create a style that’s both modern and classic, cultural and captivating.
The first thing to bear in mind when you’re taking on an Asian-inspired interior design project is the concept of open space. Traditionally, the centre of the room is left empty in Asian homes, symbolising an openness of heart and creating a peaceful atmosphere. This is expressed perfectly by this unique oceanfront villa in Phuket: each of the spacious bedrooms leaves plenty of open space around the central double beds, which often face wide windows or doorways. Most interesting is the master en-suite, where the traditional use of space has been effectively reversed. Instead of leaving the centre of the room empty, a freestanding bathtub sits directly in the middle surrounded by open space, creating an open and relaxing ambience.
The next thing to think about is colour. When it comes to soft furnishings, Asian design doesn’t shy away from bold and bright colours, often set against dark, dramatic woods like teak or mahogany. Red, gold, and cherry-blossom pink are commonly used in colour schemes, but don’t be afraid to contrast. Orange and lime are perfectly set against each other in the living room of this grand villa, located in an exclusive marina in Phuket. If you prefer a more traditional style, seek out some handcrafted silk embroidery, a skill that originated in China. Intricate embroidered artworks depicting koi carp or lotus flowers can be hung on the wall of any room to add a touch of elegance and beauty.
Although bright colours permeate the living space, they’re always anchored by earth-toned walls and wooden window frames. Those dark woods can be paired with cream-coloured walls and bright furnishings to create a striking contrast that's never overpowering. Clean, straight lines also help to ensure that the overall impression is one of pleasing simplicity and harmony. Remember that minimalism took inspiration from Japanese traditions and choose your furniture accordingly, avoiding anything too ornate.
Even though these styles draw heavily from the past, modern Asian style can incorporate technology without diminishing the overall effect. This opulent waterfront home in Naithon has a luxurious home theatre that still references Buddhist influences, with elaborate carvings set in three alcoves along the side wall and a richly embroidered carpet covering the wooden floor. Balance out sleek electronic gadgets and appliances with vases, decorative pots and bonsai trees in a similar way, limiting the number of pieces to one or two per surface.
Our exclusive collection of handpicked furniture, lamps, tableware and accessories is available at the Engel & Völkers Interiors online shop and includes several exquisite pieces that draw inspiration from the east. The flat Asian box as well as the similar looking traditionally styled Asian box make ideal ornaments, or could be placed elegantly on a mahogany mantelpiece. With a few well-chosen pieces, you can easily evoke the harmony, serenity and simplicity of Asian style in your own home.
Are you also interested in minimalist interiors? More information: https://www.engelvoelkers.com/blog/2014/beautiful-minimalist-interiors/