by Eugene Yeng Aik Ngin
With the feng shui movement now deeply engrained in the Western culture, amateur and professional decorators are turning to Asian-inspired décor to complement their new found respect for all things eastern.
This passion for the Far East goes beyond throwing a few silk pillows onto a bed or putting a bamboo wall hanging in the dining area; it extends into furniture, too. And it’s no wonder – traditionally Asian designs mix contemporary simplicity with a millennia-old love of the organic. The resulting designs are functional, but also warm and luxurious.
It’s not a surprise that Europeans and Americans are clambering for Asian elements. After all, it’s difficult to feel anything but introspective and serene when you’re surrounded by the soothing sound of a waterfall and the natural beauty of a reminiscently Japanese or Chinese house.
And it’s not just individuals and families who have swung so far to the east in their decorating tastes. Many business leaders are also starting to realize that a calm, relaxing environment de-stresses employees. Therefore, expect to find more flora- and fauna-motivated décor in office spaces as corporations try to “up” productivity by creating a pleasant working atmosphere.
Hotels, too, have joined the Asian décor bandwagon. Though you won’t find a feng shui suite at a basic Motel 6 or Hampton Inn, you’re likely to be offered an Asian-inspired room at some of the finer luxury hotels and spas and even some smaller, niche-market bed and breakfasts or inns. This translates to rooms filled with warm colors, gentle lines, restrained lighting, and soul-soothing auras. (Many may also offer Asian massages and meals, a definite treat for their guests.)
With the mingling of Asian functionality and artistry comes the ability to create a fabulous room where the necessary is also eye-catching. Painted screens lend an Asian tone to any area, while providing a service such as dividing one room into two or creating storage space behind their lovely designs. That’s the true beauty behind the functionality of Asian furniture and accent pieces; like simple-looking Haikus, they have a much deeper meaning.
Asian chairs and sofas are comfortable, but not oversized, thereby eschewing the recent “couch potato” alternatives to streamlined furniture. Instead, Asian lines are organic and smooth; gone are the flamboyant edges of Rococo stylings and whirling Art Deco scrolls of yesteryear. Celebrating the international 21st century are delicate fans, lanterns, and birds instead of gaudy baubles and strong lighting. But make no mistake – these aren’t boring pieces of furniture. In fact, they subtly call attention to themselves, as they are each rich with textures that come from a variety of coverings, from cool cotton to sophisticated silk.
Matte paints (which can be purchased at any home improvement store) color the walls of Asian motifed rooms in deep reds, oranges, and yellows, consequently adding a spicy flavor to any area of a house or office, and immediately setting the tone for an Asian-inspired, contemplative mood. Complimenting the deeply-hued Asian color palettes are rich woods and other materials typically found in Asian furniture.
One such material often used in furniture from countries such as China, Burma, and Laos is rosewood, incredibly beautiful and, from a practical standpoint, resistant to scratches and major damages. Thus, you can find rosewood jewelry boxes, end tables, and chaise lounges, among other items. Unfortunately, rosewood trees are disappearing from Asian forests; however, some very innovative furniture makers are salvaging rosewood planks from demolished structures.
Other exotic items manufacturers typically choose for Asian furniture include coconut shells, leather, and mulberry paper. Though some buyers might be fooled by imitations, more are becoming wise to rip-off pieces; thus, they want and expect the “real stuff.” Fortunately, there are plenty of unique Asian pieces out there, and they allow anyone to decorate a room, house, or office. Whether someone’s budget is modest or “skies the limit”, he or she can and will find something to fit his or her needs.
Some of the more prolific Asian furniture companies include Deco Siam and Lao Coco. For those persons searching for specific items, websites such as http://www.asiannouveau.com and http://www.orientalfurniture.com have plenty of options at many different price ranges. Occasionally, http://www.overstock.com also has items, though availability will vary. Whether you want to furnish a small extra bedroom or an entire hotel, there’s a supplier for you. However, there is a caveat – some manufacturers who create Asian furniture in the Far East and export to the west do not export their items fully assembled.
Whatever your needs, don’t hesitate to jump on the Asian furniture bandwagon today; you’ll only be grateful that you gave yourself and your loved ones the pleasure of an Asian-inspired living space. After all, when you walk into a room and are greeted by the elegance and balance of Balinese, Chinese, or Japanese design elements, you’ll be pleased you chose to follow the trend.
To find out more about Asian Furniture, log onto http://www.Furniture-Asian.com