The charm of oriental arts and culture in Taipei is visible in the one-of-a-kind decoration styles one encounters throughout the city. You can almost touch the harmony and balance that personifies eastern décor through its beauty, tranquility and practicality.
Taiwan is a dream come true to anyone with a special interest in art, design and interior decoration. I can safely say that it offers the best of both worlds and the importance placed on practicality makes it unique. In Taiwan you will notice that the houses seem to be influenced by both Chinese and Japanese styles. However, over time you start to see hints of influences from India, Thailand and also Malaysia.
All these art and design influences give you a gateway into wonderful types of decoration that you may consider for your home. The best thing is that Taiwanese decorations always stand out because of their fine and carefully crafted details.
Japanese style is naturally simple and minimalist. A traditional Japanese decor piece is normally highlighted with red, gold, jade and purple tones. In Chinese decor, the prevailing colors are black, red, green, white and yellow. Chinese furniture is characterized by elegant designs, which contain details of precious materials.
It is common for expats to want to invest in local art and design inspired pieces for their homes. Most times the confusion comes when you have to start balancing all your beautiful pieces to unify that particular room without overwhelming yourself or guests. My advice would be to start using your decoration pieces slowly; adding objects in some corners, on coffee tables and walls. To strike a simple yet beautiful balance, you could consider doing a room-to-room interior decoration makeover instead of trying to do a merged theme in one room. For example, decoration inspired by the Orient can appear in only one room or the entire house. It is entirely up to you.
The objective should always be creating a harmonious composition that is full of personality. To help you get started here are some tips:
For the bedroom
Enjoy the use of folding screens and chests next to bed, table or bedside table. Try a porcelain lampshade and a mix of fabrics. Don’t forget to put down a rug to give added comfort.
For the living room
In this particular room, there are several important factors that need to be considered. It is important to keep your space classic if décor and design are not your strong points. You can start by gathering and organizing objects onto the coffee table or corner. You can use traditional Chinese wooden benches around your coffee table for a typical artistic touch. A blanket over the couch, some pillows with bird designs, cherry tree covers are other effortless ways to transform your space. Composing some pictures and fans on the wall above the sofa also guarantee extra style.
For the Entrance Hall
In the hall, I suggest putting a dresser that can also be used as a shoe cabinet and maybe a bench so that people can sit to change their shoes. You can also add a key piece of furniture or hang up a large piece of art in a contrasting frame. Choose floor rugs/carpets in colors that will compliment your key piece. Living in Taipei, it is always a courtesy to have house slippers in case your guests have adapted to the local day-to-day local culture of removing shoes when entering a house. The hall should have a calming ambience for your guests, therefore setting the transitional nature of energy.
Of course these are only some of the many features of Asian furniture. However, they are enough to begin to give an oriental touch to our homes.
BEFORE AND AFTER:
This guest room in my home was transformed using the same tips given above. It was all based on simple ideas, but they made a difference. I enlisted the help of my mother (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!) to get insight through some mother-daughter project. She was enchanted by the colors of paintings I had bought here in Taiwan, which is why the paintings became a reference for the rest of the composition. The nightstand was “reused and recycled” from an old piece in another room: one drawer and the other only with niche. We put the pictures on the nightstand, two lamps and a fabric composition in yellow contrasting with the turquoise wall.
To ensure that the space did not lose its identity, we invested in Brazilian fabrics and made a mix in the composition of the pads with turquoise. Taipei has a fantastic and big fabric market with lots of treasures to be found in it!
I think what’s great in any space is investing in some new decorations, but not to completely lose the memory and stories told by the space.
Architect and Urbanist, Gisela Melo is experienced in residential and furniture design. Curious and restless, she lives researching new ideas of architectural world and has a blog called “Pode Entrar a Casa é Sua”.
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