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Creating an Oriental Theme

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 15 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
Oriental Theme Japanese Theme Furniture

One increasingly popular interior decorating style is a Japanese inspired theme. If you have never used this decorating style before, you may not know how to get started. There are several very distinct things you can include in your decorating scheme to give it an Oriental flare.

Using Colours

Oriental interiors, particularly Japanese, generally use neutral colours, to provide a simple background. Interiors emphasize architecture, and as a result, provide a sense of geometric order. In addition, natural colours minimize a feeling of clutter, which is also essential to eastern design and its philosophy of simplicity. When a statement is made in a Japanese interior, it is usually through a single, bold exclamation of colour or a predominant texture. Eastern art colours are pure and unmixed, unlike those in the Western palette. Oriental art is simple, strong, and graphic. Black is very important in eastern interiors. The use of black in oriental rooms lends definition and form. For example, black is a colour in its own right, when used with white rice paper in a print or screen.

Using Textures

Some Japanese textures and materials that immediately come to mind are cedar, rice paper, maple, bamboo, stone, and woven wicker. Oriental culture strives to balance opposites in all aspects of life (yin and yang), and interiors are no exception. Interior finishes can be highly opposing and contrasting, and yet still achieve balance. Examples are; highly polished floors with heavily textured mats, a lacquered box displayed on top of a rough wooden table, or white pebbles in a polished marble bowl.

Using Furniture

Furnishings tend to be minimal and multi-functional. For example a futon is used for sitting and sleeping, or serving trays double as place settings. Furniture is generally wooden and kept low to the ground. For example, try using a low wooden table, along with pillows on the floor. Since sitting on the floor is a Japanese tradition, the pillows on the floor provide low seating to go along with the low furniture.

Using Accessories

Accessories can also be used to add an oriental feel to your home. Here are a few ideas:

A hibachi
A hibachi is a finely crafted, portable fireplace, used in old homes and shops to provide heat, warm sake, and boil water for tea. It was once also the emotional centre and gathering place for family friends. Original hibachis were ash receptacles in low wooden boxes. They were also made from ceramics, lacquer, rattan and metal. Large hibachis can be used as display boxes, or bases for end tables. Smaller hibachis, which were once hand warmers, are now champagne buckets or flower holders.

A kimono is to a Japanese artist, as a canvas is to a western painter. Wedding kimonos and fans are especially decorative and valuable. Kimonos can be displayed in a number of locations in the home by hanging them on clothing stands or decorative rods.

An obi is a wide sash worn with a kimono. Obi's make excellent table runners, or can be hung in a group, behind a bed, to create a headboard.

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