May 17, 2023 • Annie Cao
All throughout Asia and the Pacific Islands, you can find an abundance of rich and fascinating cultures. These cultures have also greatly influenced how homes are built and decorated – modern designs have taken inspiration from these styles to incorporate traditional elements into a more contemporary aesthetic. As Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month draws to a close, here are 5 AAPI interior styles that might just inspire your next home project.
Japan: The Philosophy of Wabi Sabi & Ikebana
Japanese homes tend to be inspired by the beauty of nature with a minimal design. Natural materials and the way the light illuminates the house helps with connecting to the outdoor world.
Wabi-sabi is a Japanese philosophy that has been incorporated into interior design by appreciating simplicity and imperfections. For example, kintsugi is a process where broken pottery is mended with gold, silver, or platinum lacquer to highlight the beauty of imperfections instead of hiding them.
Ikebana is the Japanese art of floral arrangements. Flowers, branches, and leaves are meaningfully arranged to interpret and emphasize the unique beauty of nature.
Sophie is a Korean YouTuber who moved to Hawaii several years ago and has included the wabi-sabi philosophy into her home and lifestyle:
Sei Yamazaki is an artist who has practiced the creation of ikebana:
Thailand: Staying Close to Nature
Our co-founder is Thai, so we couldn’t miss an opportunity to highlight Thai interiors! Thailand is a country with a warm climate and abundant greenery, so homes and interiors are designed to harmonize with nature. Materials such as wood and bamboo bring lightness to the space, and lotus ponds add yet another connection to the outdoors.
This Thai restaurant designed their interior using materials such as rattan weaving and tropical plants to bring the outdoors into their modern dining experience:
When these homeowners moved to Australia, they wanted to bring a part of Thailand with them. Their Victorian-style home received a modern upgrade and their lush Thai-inspired garden makes them feel like home is just a few steps away:
China: The Principles of Feng Shui
Chinese homes are well-known for their use of bold colors and intricate, ornate designs. Red is a signature color that the Chinese associate with good fortune, wealth, and happiness. Furniture with lacquer techniques depicting intricate scenes, decorative folding screens, and latticework are other features of Chinese interior design.
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that balances the chi (energy) in your home and is meant to invite health, success, and positive energy into your home. Wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are the most important elements of feng shui. Furniture placement, plants, and a clean space will help positive chi flow through your home.
Julie Khuu teaches the basic principles of feng shui to beginners:
India: Vibrant Colors & Textures
Indian interiors are rooted in rich traditions and history – their culture embraces natural imperfections and showcases craftsmanship through vibrant colors, textures, and carved wood furniture. Colorful woven textiles with embroidery, animal motifs, and beaded accents add visual dimension. Stone, marble, or granite flooring lends a clean finish to the overall look of the home.
This home located in India is enlivened with beautiful craftsmanship from local artisans while incorporating traditional and modern Indian interior elements:
Hawaii: Mirroring Island Life
Hawaiian interior design has the misconception of being playful and kitschy. But more than that, its decor has sophisticated elements that are still in tune with island life by focusing on natural, sustainable materials and shopping locally.
The main features of Hawaiian interiors are darker native woods, woven fibers, and water-toned accents to bring seaside vibes indoors. Since spending time outside and hosting gatherings with family and friends are an important part of life on these islands, fire is a key cultural element. Tiki-style torches or poolside fire bowls are often showcased in outdoor spaces that are perfect for laid-back evening hangouts.
This home brings together traditional Hawaiian elements and modern architecture:
Bretman Rock embraces his roots by serving up a home decorated with pieces from local Hawaiian and Filipino artisans and a splash of his sassy personality on the side:
Let us know in the comments what your favorite Asian interior style is!
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