With all the hustle and bustle of living a fast paced, busy lifestyle sometimes you just need to retreat to a quiet place: a private refuge, a single room or a whole Feng Shui home that evokes an impression of serenity and tranquil calm.
If you’re not sure how to start, here are a few tips to creating an Asian-themed home or garden space. With just a few simple changes you can establish a sense of peace by ushering in harmony and balance without committing to any permanent changes, except maybe a little paint.
Feature Organic and Sustainable Design
Most Asian décor starts with neutral shades. For example, stone and wood tones, anything natural and calming, will achieve a perfect backdrop. This is one aspect of Asian design that is simply irresistible and should be represented. Smooth polished stones such as river rocks, sustainable bamboo blinds that replace traditional drapes, intricately woven tatami floor mats and leafy potted plants or miniature bonsai all bring in nature’s goodness and tend to come together to paint that picture-perfect look. Outdoors you can use ponds, shrubs, larger focal rocks, soothing sand, living bamboo and even live koi fish to create decorative details that create a tranquil spot for meditation.
Indoors our Mandarin Ivory Oliphants (PD91429), a set of three statues containing a faux elephant tusk and matching Empress and Emperor images garbed in traditional costuming, will be fitting on a mantel piece. Created from responsible “mandarin ivory,” this polymer blend retains the beauty of the intricate carving and shading with a lampblack patina.
A stately war horse cast directly from a Chinese antique, this Ancient Tang Horse Iron Statue (SP1322) has great presence. Horses were an emblem of wealth and symbolized beauty, freedom, high spirits and enthusiasm. Toscano’s sculpted equine stands eleven inches tall, is made of foundry cast iron and is finished with an aged verdigris patina that highlights its numerous details and is set atop a solid marble museum-quality base.
Experience the Fragrances and Sounds of Nature
To extend your perception and create a welcoming setting for yourself, both sound and aroma play a critical role in transforming your home or garden into a peaceful and comforting space. Add scents like rosemary and eucalyptus to your room, in either live plants or oil diffusers, or try burning traditional sandalwood incense or even scented candles. The important thing here is to discover what scents contribute to your sense of harmony.
Beside the sounds of a gently clinking wind chime outside a window or doorway, adding the soothing sound of water is a delightful way of creating an atmosphere of Asian style.
The sound of flowing or splashing water is considered both harmonious and to create positive energy, an important element of Feng Shui. A small water feature in the entryway, living area, or master bedroom is always a welcome addition. For an undeniable calming and relaxing influence outdoors, adding a larger fountain, a reflecting pool or koi pond will create a Zen destination for mediation and reflection in your garden.
Perfect placed inside an entry hall or a garden nook, the Tranquil Springs Pagoda Garden Fountain (SS12657) will provide the relaxing sound of water music and a peaceful atmosphere. As a traditionally Asian-inspired fountain with two faux stone bowls and a bamboo ledge, this cascading water feature helps to create an in-home oasis and a calm, meditative space.
Sprinkle in a little Color
Spice up your room and your style with a few pops of bright color. In China, red is a popular choice as it symbolizes luck, happiness and joy. You can also follow the color theory of the five elements: water (black), fire (red), wood (green/blue), metal (white), and earth (yellow). In Thailand ancient customs extends the lucky colors to each day of the week: Sunday (red), Monday (yellow/cream), Tuesday (pink), Wednesday (green/grey), Thursday (orange/brown), Friday (light blue) and Saturday (purple/black). And in India blue is the color of the sky and the ocean, and therefore perceived as a constant in our lives.
Choose your favorite few bright pops of color from the way they make you feel. Using more than one color is always satisfactory, but choose colors that resonate with you.
For those who love a hint of mysterious charm, carefully placed subtle black hues are the ideal: such as a lacquered screen, a colorful fan or a silk shaded lamp will add visual and textural balance. In my home, I have several black pillows with red and gold Asian patterns that offer a unique style.
A timeless symbol of the spirited connection between heaven and earth, the Ancient Tree of Life Wall Sculpture (NG32454) appears alive with its roots in regeneration and its branches reaching into eternity. As a symbol of personal growth, Design Toscano’s bas-relief wall sculpture of the Ancient Tree of Life is created in designer resin, hand painted in faux bronze and verdigris to feel alive and growing with texture.
Bathe in Dramatic Lighting
Lighting will add to the entire visual look as it elegantly accentuates the oriental theme. Bridging the East and West is a wide selection of Asian-inspired fixtures, lamps and electrified hanging paper lanterns are readily available. But for something extra special, you can also discover a few wonderful sculptural pieces that also provide glowing light serving as both an artistic statement and a source of warmth. Natural light is important too, so consider bamboo blinds, a paper screen, a “green curtain” of trailing plants or a stained glass window to add light and color. And don’t forget a few carefully placed candles go a long way to establish a home inspired by the Far East.
Pagoda architecture originated on sacred sites in India and followed the spread of Buddhism. Design Toscano’s amazing Tranquil Pagoda Illuminated Glass-Topped Table (KY4130) created in Japanese pagoda style, will become the centerpiece of any Asian style décor. Standing twenty-inches tall, and finished in textured sandstone and glowing with soft light this functional lantern table will add exotic charm to any room.
Traditionally embodying potent powers Toscano’s Dragon Dance of Light Illuminated Mosaic Glass Sculpture (KY79761) will bring its design magic. When lit, this dragon dramatically glows red and gold. Hand finished with glass mosaics, this grand designer resin Dragon Dance sculpture, with a dark bronze finish, stretches sixteen inches long and is extremely well crafted. Dragons are a symbol of abundance and prosperity, and this dramatic light will enhance the ambiance of any room.
Each individually hand-cut piece of authentic art glass glistens warmly in this Asian Serenity Garden Stained Glass Window (TF86). With six exotic flowers in blues, greens and golds, this brilliant translucent art glass pays homage to the classic Tiffany style. This unique vertical work of Basil Street Gallery stained glass art, with giant sparkling clear glass cabochons, will add to your well-being when shown to its best advantage hanging in sunny spot, letting in the light but preserving your privacy.
Strike a Balance
Balance is often mentioned as a key to the recurring theme of Asian décor. Meaning the need to create the right harmony, not just with color, but also utilizing different textures and elements that surround you. Along with visual and textural balance, consider the balance of Yin and Yang. In Chinese culture this theory pertains to everything in the universe and its symbol is an expression of two opposite, yet complementary, energies that can’t exist without the other-like night and day. For example, if you have a stark, cold, brick or concrete walled room, adding warmth and softness like tapestries, wall hangings and a textured rug is recommended, but if you have an all-wood clad room adding statement pieces of cool stone sculptures, architectural pagodas or other interesting statues will help to balance the warmth of the space.
From an ancient monastery, this Meditative Buddha Grand Temple Statue (AL1614) of the enlightened teacher is offered in various sizes and finishes to compliment all sizes of rooms and garden spaces. No influence helps to focus on creating peaceful energy more effectively than the presence of Buddha. The title of Buddha denotes a teacher, sage, philosopher and religious leader on whose teachings founded Buddhism.
To obtain “Bodhi,” which means wisdom, you need a calming mediation space to center yourself and this breathtaking sculpture from Design Toscano is a good place to start.
Looking down at earth from her throne on a crescent moon, Guan Yin, Chinese Goddess of Compassion and Mercy Sculpture (NG33380) is the most worshiped goddess in China and everywhere she is known. Exquisitely sculpted by an unknown Chinese artist, she is reproduced here in designer resin with a faux terra cotta finish. Legends about Guan Yin appear more than 2000 years ago, and she is hailed as the goddess of mercy to this day. Exceptionally graceful and lyrical, this mother goddess has earned herself a place of honor in many homes.
Explore a Fusion of Styles
Asian design is a fusion of several different cultures including Japanese, Chinese, Thai, and Indian. Most often dominated by oriental influences, such as the art of Chinoiserie, that may have originated in the Far East many centuries ago and reached the West via trade routes with Europe.
Chinoiserie is French for “Chinese-esque” and our Villandry Wooden Bombe (SK3147) chest of drawers is an example crafted of ornately decorated wood with metal knobs, and painted with feathery floral faux burled technique in 17th century style. French style with Asian accents, this chest stands forty inches high, with curving elegant lines and a fifteen-inch square top so that this work of furniture art will center any space.
Japanese design style is characterized by simple, minimalist, and formalized lines but it is also the Asian style that is closest to nature. If you wish to add Zen essence to your home, this theme and art style is for you. Traditional Chinese decor is far more opulent, expansive with ravishing reds, sumptuous gold, enchanting jade and bright yellow tones. If you are a looking to add a Chinese atmosphere to your home, start with decorating the walls, then fill corners with focal points such as sculptures, plants or a fountain, and finally add lighting.
Design Toscano’s stunning Serene Buddha Grande Wall Frieze (NG33400) is over two feet tall with a traditional Asian feel. Buddha was a great, noble and a kind person, so Buddha heads are an icon symbolizing a compassion, knowledge and awareness. This oversized, modern take on the original calming countenance with a warm antique bronze finish would make an outstanding and peaceful addition to any Asian style room.
With timeless style, this Forbidden City Asian Console Table (MH10694) has its roots in the 17th century Ming dynasty. Exotic and elegant, this wooden console table will be at home anywhere when used as a sideboard, sofa table, or an entry table. At four and a half feet long, it is stunningly stylish in a warm wood tone or updated in modern gray paint. Furniture art at its best, this is recognizably Asian design, all you need to do is add your own finishing touches, such as sprays of cherry blossoms and a ginger jar or two.
Employ a Pair of Indispensable Foo Dogs
Foo dogs are another name for the ancient Chinese or imperial guardian lions that traditionally protect important buildings such as palaces, temples, tombs, and Buddhist sanctuaries. Our pair of Chinese Guardian Lion Foo Dog Statues (NY91366801) can be placed inside or outside a building to protect all those within from negative energy. Foo dogs are meant to attract happy and positive vibes and they should always be displayed in pairs to attract harmony and completeness. The male has his right paw raised (the xi qi ball under his paw represents the world), and the female has her left paw raised (with lion cub under her paw). Working together, this quality designer resin pair is finished in a warm bronze hue that can be found in every country where the Chinese have traveled since the Han Dynasty 206 BC.
How-to Approach to Asian Style
Incomparable Oriental décor is about blending nature in organic forms with man-made art in a mixture of textures, scents, sounds and light in all in a harmonic combination. Start with a few decorative items to test the waters like some Asian motif throw pillows, a flowered fan, a hanging scroll, a painting, a statue or a fountain. Design Toscano offers hundreds more sculptures and designs in our Asian Décor category that can help you get started.
Whether dramatic or understated, calming or classy, Asian themes offer an amazing way to give your home a calming and spiritual appeal.
Posted by Sue Mell