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Chinoiserie Chic – How to Work Exotic Asian Style Interior Design  

Updated: April 15, 2024
Asian style embraces ornate details, natural materials, and bold colors for exotic flair. Chinoiserie, Japanese minimalism, Indian exoticism, and Southeast Asian tropical style all inspire. Use handpainted prints, carved wood, pagoda lighting, patterned textiles, live plants, and cultural collectibles. Balance ornate statement pieces with neutral foundations for cohesion. Display your favorite travel finds and embrace asymmetry and imperfections for character. Add bold accent walls, gallery displays, and large statement lighting for impact. Keep the look authentic by choosing quality artisanal furnishings and decor over clutter.
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Interior design and decoration has always been influenced by different cultures and styles from around the world. One aesthetic that has remained popular for centuries is the exotic and opulent Asian or Oriental style. Incorporating elements from places like China, Japan, and Southeast Asia, this look is bold, intricate, and full of character. If you want to bring some exotic flair into your home, exploring chinoiserie chic and Asian inspired décor can be a beautiful and unique way to do so.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into everything you need to know to decorate with “Asian or Oriental Style Interior Design.” From a brief history lesson to breaking down the common motifs and materials, you’ll learn insider tips and tricks to easily achieve this look in your own home. Whether you go all-in with an Asian-inspired room or just add touches here and there, this exotic style is versatile enough to complement almost any interior. So keep reading to learn how to work this trend and create spaces that are culturally eclectic, personalized, and dripping with personality. The knowledgeable designers at InteriorXDesign can also provide more specific guidance tailored to your unique space and style preferences.

What is Asian or Oriental Style Interior Design?

Asian or oriental style interior design draws inspiration from the cultures of East and Southeast Asia. It combines ornate details, bold colors, and natural materials to create lavish, exotic spaces. Some of the most popular cultural influences include:

  • Chinese chinoiserie – Decor featuring hand-painted motifs like dragons, phoenixes, peonies, and bamboo. Intricate, asymmetric patterns on wallpapers, textiles, furniture, and accessories. Bold red, black, and gold color schemes.
  • Japanese minimalism – Clean lines, simple silhouettes, and neutral earth tones. Natural materials like bamboo, linen, rattan, and clay. Incorporating symbolic decor objects like bonsai trees, silk screens, and calligraphy art.
  • Indian exoticism – Vibrant colors and patterns like sari fabrics, paisley prints, and elaborately carved wooden furnishings. Lush botanical motifs and floral designs. Displaying tapestries, lanterns, and unique collectibles.
  • Southeast Asian tropical style – Rattan, bamboo, and woven abaca textures. Indoor gardens and potted palms. Sarongs, batiks, and ikat patterned textiles. Carved masks, statues, and dramatic animal motifs.

The overall look combines ornate details with natural materials for spaces that feel lavish yet grounded. It’s an artistic style that embraces color, texture, and cultural symbols for unique personal flair.

History of Asian or Oriental Style Interior Design

Asian inspired interiors and decorative motifs have a long history intertwined with trade and cultural exchange. Here are some key moments that sparked its popularity in the Western world:

  • The Silk Road – This ancient trade route facilitated cultural exchange and piqued interest in Asian artistry, textiles, and designs. Wealthy traders returned with exotic goods like silks, porcelains, and lacquered furnishings.
  • Chinoiserie – This 18th century European decorative style was enamored with hand-painted Chinoiserie motifs and asymmetrical patterns, especially in England and France. Chinese export wares like wallpapers and porcelains were hugely popular.
  • Japonisme – Inspired by Japanese woodblock prints, asymmetrical designs, and simple elegance, this 19th century movement influenced artists and designers like Monet and Degas. Kimonos, folding screens, and minimalist style took hold.
  • British Colonialism – British presence expanded trade and cultural exchange with South and Southeast Asia. Designs featured lush botanical motifs, bamboo furnishings, and vibrant paisleys and batiks.
  • Hollywood – Mid-century films like The Good Earth, South Pacific, and Memoirs of a Geisha sparked mainstream exotic allure. Themes of lavish opulence and tropical paradise took hold.

Today this timeless aesthetic remains popular for its sense of culture, artistry, and exotic allure. Homeowners and designers continue looking to Asia to create personalized, cultured spaces.

Characteristics/Elements of Asian or Oriental Style Interior Design

Some main characteristics and decorative elements of this style include:

  • Ornate furnishings – Elaborately carved wood furnishings, lacquered surfaces, inlaid mother of pearl, and handpainted details in red, black and gold. Possibly distressed finishes.
  • statement lighting – – Colorful pagoda lanterns, multi-tiered chandeliers, paper and bamboo lanterns all add drama.
  • Chinoiserie motifs – Handpainted phoenixes, peonies, dragons, fish, landscapes, and asymmetrical patterns as accents. Use on wallpaper, furnishings, or accessories.
  • Natural materials – Bamboo, rattan, abaca, linen, silks, and wood bring organic texture. Live plants like orchids and bonsai trees enliven the space.
  • Textiles – Patterned and vivid textiles: ikats, batiks, sarongs, silk, brocades. Use for pillows, curtains and upholstery.
  • Collectibles – Display unique souvenirs, statues, carved masks, decorative boxes, coromandel screens. Tell a global story.
  • Neutral foundations – Light woods, whites, creams beiges keep the look grounded. Pops of color and black accents make motifs pop.
  • Asymmetries – Embrace asymmetrical arrangements and imperfect Handcrafted details. Avoid overly matching furniture.
  • Feng shui – Consider how furnishings, layout, and accents contribute to energy flow. Seek balance through mindfulness.

Mixing ornate decadence with artisanal minimalism creates a cultured look that’s personalized, artistic, and full of meaning. Play with motifs, textures, and display pieces most meaningful to you.

How to Achieve the Asian or Oriental Style Interior Design Look

Ready to start designing your own exotic Asian inspired space? Here are some key tips to achieve this look authentically:

Choose a statement piece – Display an ornate trunk, carved armoire, embroidered tapestry or handpainted screen to set the mood. This will anchor the exotic style.

Select bold accent walls – Use vivid colors or handpainted chinoiserie wallpaper on focal walls. Contrast with neutral walls in the same room for balance.

Add elevated lighting – Crystal chandeliers, multi-layer pagoda pendants, or bamboo lantern lighting make dramatic statements overhead.

Incorporate natural textures – Rattan settees, bamboo side tables, linen throws, and wood accents add organic warmth against ornate elements.

Display cultural collectibles – Carved masks, statues, sarongs, servingware and other exotic souvenirs make great wall accents and tabletop décor.

Choose patterned fabrics – Introduce paisleys, ikats, batiks, brocades and Asiana patterns on pillows, throws, curtains or upholstery.

Create an exotic gallery wall – Fill a blank wall with carved masks, Asian inspired artwork, decorative pots and other cultural pieces.

Add live plants – Orchids, palms, ferns and bonsai trees add lively organic accents. Place in natural woven baskets.

Use chinoiserie wallpaper – Try handpainted scenery, bird and flower motifs, or asymmetric patterns as accents in a powder room, dining room or bedroom.

Lay down ornate rugs – Floral medallion rugs, wool kilims, or brightly colored dhurries complement Asian inspired spaces.

The right balance of ornate and minimal details, artful accents, and personalized flair will let your inner designer run free. Don’t be afraid to embrace color, texture, and creative display.

For the bedroom: Focus on ornate wood furnishings, canopy beds with thick brocade bedding, and handpainted Asian accents. Use vibrant colors to contrast neutral walls. Add indoor plants, woven baskets, and printed pillows. Display your travels through art and souvenirs.

For the living room: Carved wood furnishings form the base. Add a colorful iconic print sofa or chairs as a statement. Drape brocade or ikat patterned textiles over tables and accomplishes. Handpainted lanterns make a huge impact.

For dining rooms: Use chinoiserie wallpaper on the focal wall. Contrast with creamy neutrals elsewhere. Add carved chairs with colorful printed seat cushions. Use porcelain china with blue and white or handpainted motifs.Try a silk chandelier overhead.

Never underestimate the power of the details. Even small touches like printed throw pillows, ornamental statues, or artistic ceramic vases can bring in this cultural style. Just have fun and embrace what speaks to you!

Best Practices/Tips for Asian or Oriental Style Interior Design

Here are some top tips and best practices for authentically achieving this look:

  • Choose high quality over quantity. One ornate armoire makes more impact than cluttered knickknacks.
  • Seek out artisan made and handcrafted products when possible for authenticity.
  • Know when to simplify. Let ornate accent walls or furnishings take center stage against simple neutrals.
  • Avoid overly matching furniture sets. Embrace imperfection and asymmetry for character.
  • Display your favorite travel collectibles and cultural pieces. Make the space personal.
  • Balance ornate and minimal elements. Natural woods, solids, and negative space prevent overload.
  • Use large statement lighting. Pagoda or silk pendant lamps make dramatic impact.
  • Add plants for lively personality. Orchids, ferns, palms, and bonsai trees thrive indoors.
  • Incorporate feng shui principles to enhance energy flow. Consider furniture placement and accents.
  • Use bold color strategically. As accent walls, on focal furnishings, in artwork, and in floral motifs.
  • Mix high end investment pieces with budget details like pillows, plants, and accessories.
  • Add global flair with fair trade collectibles from organizations like Ten Thousand Villages.
  • Embrace imperfection. Handmade quality with small flaws enhances authenticity.
  • Look to museums and books for historical inspiration on motifs, materials, and styles.
  • Hire a designer if you need help perfecting layouts, furniture pairings, and bold style mixes.

With creativity and cultural appreciation, this artistic style allows you to travel the world through your own interiors.


Asian inspired interior design is an exotic, culturally eclectic style that embraces ornate details, natural elements, and personalized display. Drawing inspiration from Chinese, Japanese, Indian, and Southeast Asian cultures, it allows you to create unique spaces full of artistry and flair.

By thoughtfully balancing ornate furnishings with minimalist accents, displaying your favorite cultural pieces, and using bold colors, patterns, and statement lighting, you can easily work this look into your home. Just focus on quality over quantity, embrace imperfection, and display what speaks to you.

So go ahead, unleash your inner exotic designer! With the tips and tricks above, you can create lavish Asian inspired interiors that tell your own global style story. Just have fun exploring different cultures and decorative details to create spaces that wow. InteriorXDesign is also here to help if you need more specific guidance on perfecting this look in your own home. Happy designing!


Mr. BS Parasher, Founder @ Interior x Design & UrbanDAC, He is the Top Interior Designer in Gurgaon & India's Premier Home Theater and Home Entertainment Designer, A Hi-end AV Expert with a deep passion, vision and knowledge about Interior Design.