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Interior Design Trends Around the World: Sanctuaries of East Asia


Aman Resort


Welcome to the third installment in our blog series where we explore the many unique and wonderful interior design trends around the globe! This week we are featuring East Asia, an iconic region whose design styles continually inspire and influence us all through timeless colour palettes, natural materials, and Feng Shui decorating techniques.


This region is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east and includes nations such as China, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, and South Korea. It's a culturally rich and vibrant hub, widely considered to be one of the earliest cradles of civilization, and draws much of its design and architectural inspiration from the natural environment.


Let’s explore some East Asian-inspired design concepts!


Balance and Cohesiveness

Flickr - Wunkai Pinterest


The East Asian design style effortlessly brings a feeling of balance and cohesion into any interior. Peace and harmony are valued in these spaces and are mirrored in the cultural practices of Zen and meditation. This style seamlessly celebrates nature, taking inspiration from the surrounding environment while maintaining a physical connection to the outdoors. This connection improves an interior space but is also healthy for the mind and body. Through intuitive design practices, you can create a space that embodies these qualities, giving meaning and order to your home.


Pro Tip: Consider positive and negative space when placing furniture, fixtures, and accessories; the goal is to create a visual balance in the area. This cohesiveness is often achieved by the strategic use of materials, as well as incorporating repetitive patterns and visible lines in the wall and ceiling details.


Reduced Areas


Most East Asian spaces are limited in their size compared to North American homes; therefore many clever and innovative design ideas are implemented to make spaces more efficient and comfortable. Screens and sliding doors are a wonderful way to create room dividers or extra privacy when needed.

Room Divier - Crate & Barrel Pinterest Airweave


An important design element is moveable furniture that allows for seamless reconfiguration in an instant. For example, some households may have a bedroom space that can be used otherwise during the day. This is achieved by utilizing Japanese-style futons which can be folded up and stored away. Approaching the room décor with minimalism in mind also helps to keep a space feeling open and tidy. For some more ideas on how to work with multi-purpose rooms, we invite you to read our previous post on Smart Dual Rooms.


Colour Schemes


Sherwin Williams (Form + Function Collection)


Colour palettes will often vary depending on the style you are working with. Whether modern and contemporary, or traditional and Japandi, all have a unique range of colours to work with. However, either style has an overarching trend of neutral colours and oatmeal tones, as well as the use of natural materials such as wood. Incorporate graphics into a space through focal art, murals, fabric panels, and accent wallpapers. If you’re looking for a bit more colour, try adding shades of natural jewel tones such as deep blue, gold, and emerald green.



Pro Tip: Bring the outdoors inside with a lovely bonsai tree or bamboo plant, or by adding in art prints that feature animals or botanicals.


Wabi-Sabi: “To find the love in the imperfections”


The Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi teaches us that pursuing perfection leads to stress and anxiety in our lives. Accepting and embracing imperfections and celebrating the way things are (not how they should be) allows us to make the most out of life. East Asian design has therefore continuously evolved to become minimal and simple. The appreciation for unique items that have been used and loved throughout the years holds great value in East Asian culture. The practice of Wabi-Sabi is displayed through decorative pieces in a space, but also in its furniture and architecture.


Pinterest Pinterest


Lower Furniture


Low furniture has been influenced and developed over time by East Asian traditions, such as tea ceremonies. Gathering with loved ones in a space and sitting at the same level creates a sense of togetherness. Lowering your furniture will also conserve space and make your room easily convertible. This is definitely a signature of east Asian designs.


Craftsmanship and Luxury


Let's not forget the importance of craftsmanship, which is highly valued within East Asian culture. Good craftsmanship is not only indicative of the utmost quality and longevity of a piece, but it also celebrates the skill of traditional trades. Handmade pieces carry a special significance and last for years to come.



For some, a heightened sense of luxury is very sought after, whether in a home or business environment. Adding in luxurious elements can offer a feeling of exclusiveness and comfort. Incorporate high-quality natural fabrics such as silks and linens, paired with natural stone, metals, and woods to make a space feel high-end. Good craftsmanship will always be a luxury!

Aman Resort


The East Asian style has already influenced us all around the world, most noticeably in Western and Scandinavian interior design trends. If you want to explore a bit more on the Japandy style, you can read our previous post on Japandi: When Rustic Meets Minimal. This fusion of styles brings about unique, functional spaces that we love, although it can be a true challenge to replicate the authentic and traditional style of East Asia. We have hopefully helped to aid you in completing this challenge!


Good luck with your design adventures!


White Dahlia Design Team


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