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Bring a Touch of Asia to your Western Home - July 2009 Newsletter

 

Dare to expand your comfort zone! You can easily transform your current living area(s) or workplace into a simplified, elegant and beautiful space with the addition of a few distinctive Asian touches. Although your home or office might be currently decorated with anything but Asian inspired accessories, you may want to try and create a retreat or area in your surroundings that mixes items from Asia for a change of pace in your décor and atmosphere. You will be amazed at the instant calm and serenity that results from creating a space based on Asian design.

Space Matters

One of the key necessities to creating an Asian inspired space is to free the area from clutter. The flow of energy is important in Asian cultures, and you need to keep your home clutter free in order to provide ample breathing room for the positive energy in your home. Displays of collectibles should be set up in a either a free style or disciplined manner, keeping in mind the goal of keeping things orderly, which is an appreciated characteristic of Japanese decorating.

Nature's Best

Another important element of Asian inspired décor is the importance of balancing the elements of nature. It is very common to see items displayed while incorporating the elements of stone, wood, and water. The use of fabrics is also an important thing to consider when you are setting the mood for your space. Silk is often used to convey elegance and richness; smooth satin fabrics also imitate this quality. The woven cottons decorated with patterns will be more everyday, country, or casual in their use; some will be of beautiful nature scenes, while others will portray good luck symbols such as cranes and dragons.

Plants and flowers are essential to Asian décor; bringing nature indoors adds to the senses. Because natural is best, it is recommended that you try to avoid using artificial plants when you are attempting to set an Asian mood. Of course, dried flowers and high quality silk versions will also do in a pinch. At Mrs. Lin's Kitchen, we carry a wide assortment of unique Korean made; Celadon vases that make it easy for you to add your Asian flair to your floral arrangements. These vases look exceptional when filled with flowers or interesting branches; but even empty; they stand alone as lovely decorative pieces.

Decorating Ideas

It is quite common in Asian homes to find collections of favored items proudly displayed in a grouping together in a prominent space. They may be placed together in a display case, on a counter or atop a platform made of stone, wood, lacquer ware or fabric. At Mrs. Lin's Kitchen, we offer numerous collectibles that you just can't get enough of! Our kokeshi dolls are so individually unique; it is hard to stop at just one. Of course, they are wonderful to display as a grouping in children's rooms, but they also add a touch of playfulness to any space they occupy.

A very simple way to instantly transform your entryways or distinguish one room from another is through the hanging of a "noren". Used for centuries by the Japanese to separate rooms indoors, these woven cloth curtains are used also by businesses that cater to the public. It is quite common to see the noren hanging outside a place of business in Japan, if the noren was out; it means that the business is open. If it is not seen hanging that means the business is closed. This versatile piece of cloth is usually made of heavy woven cotton and as you can see at Mrs. Lin's Kitchen, the variety of styles and colors available make it easy for one to make a personal statement.The longer versions are great for using as room dividers, or to break up an open doorway. Because these hangings are quite beautiful, they can also be displayed on a wall, much like a tapestry.The shorter versions can be used as window valances and accents for a smaller space.

The variety of paper parasols that we have at Mrs. Lin's Kitchen make it easy to create an Asian mood in a small space. A single parasol or a cluster of parasols is a quick way to decorate with very little cost. They also look quite stunning when displayed in a vacant corner spot, or used to fill those odd architectural ledges often found in homes and offices.

The lighting that you choose for your space is a very important element for any style of home décor You will appreciate the soothing sensory experience provided by the low wattage lighting that is at the center of the variety of Asian inspired lamps that we carry. The luminous light that emanates from these lamps sets a peaceful and authentic tone to your Asian décor, and the simple lines and variety of styles that we have selected from Japan and Korea are easy to incorporate with your decorating plans.

If you want to start small, little collections of your favorite items make a big statement when they are grouped together. We carry many small collectables such as lucky charms or chopstick rests called "hashioke". These smaller novelties look great when placed together as a collection and is an interesting way to utilize these accessories year round. A novel, westernized use of the chopstick rest is to use them as place holders, you simply use a washable pen to write your guests names on the surface of the larger sized ceramic rests, they are fun to look at and will be a sure conversation starter at your next gathering.

In Asian cultures, it is not unheard of to change the décor with the seasons. This tradition allows you to change your displays often and give all your special pieces a time to shine. The variety of greeting cards that we offer at Mrs lin's Kitchen are an inexpensive way to decorate, pop one or a complementary grouping of a few into some frames and use them for adding touches of famous oriental woodblock scenes or inspiring calligraphy messages.

Once you get started, you will discover that the simplicity of Asian design brings a sense of serenity and comfort to your space that you won't soon tire of. Start with a smaller area, like your office or powder room at home; and see what you can come up with. Sake Dispensers made great bud vases when not being used for drinking sake. The tea mugs we have are also the perfect size for storing pens and pencils and make-up brushes. The great thing about decorating with Asian style is that is doesn't take a lot to evoke the flavor of Asia. You may want to add a touch of red to your space as it has long been the symbolic color of good luck in Chinese cultures; red is also supposed to bring good fortune. Your Asian decorating ideas are only limited by your imagination, and by combining your creative Western uses for the Asian items we offer, you will be able to blend both styles in a pleasant way that will work well with what you already have.
 

OUR 2009 NEWSLETTERS

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