Monday, April 6, 2009

Design Tip of the Week (4.6.09): I Think I'm Turning Japanese...I Really Think So

To close out Cherry Blossom season in DC and our small tribute to Asian design (with a focus on Japanese inspired design), here are some tips on how to easily add Asian elements to your home. Blending Asian and Western design elements, or Fusion, has become very popular and is a great way to add a new look to your home without having to start from scratch.

Japanese design specifically is simple, clean and minimalist. Japanese interiors focus on nature and serenity. Here are some tips on how to bring some Japanese-inspired serenity into your home.

*Use natural hues. These include greys, tans and greens.

*Low pieces of furniture are also very Japanese inspired, a low coffee table is a very easy piece to integrate without having to change up all your furnishings. This low coffee table from West Elm is a great piece to add to your living room.

*Hide an unsightly corner or separate your space with a room dividers such as paper screens. You can purchase unique rice paper screens like the one below at Oriental Furniture.

*Integrate objects from nature. The three most common are stones, water and plants. Some pieces you can bring in include small water features like fountains, smooth stones in glass vases, and bamboo or bonsai trees. Another way to bring in nature are bare branches arranged a Japanese inspired vase.

*Bring in rice paper lights for decorative lighting. They add a warm soft glow to a room. Make sure to remember to use low voltage bulbs. I love these rice paper sconces with lattice front and wood edging.

*Declutter and don't overaccessorize. A good way of lessening your accessories is to display them on a rotating basis. This may take some discipline...but this is also an element of Japanese design so it will authenticate the experience for you : )

*Imari porcelain make for beautiful accents. The Imari style is commonly white porcelain base with cobalt blue design make up the foundation for these pieces. Imari-inspired pieces are easy to find. You can find Imari vases, tea cups, and sake bottles. Here is an example of Imari porcelain.

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