Oriental style tips for your compact living space*

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Minimalism and pets go together like chocolate and flames or hangovers and early mornings, right? If your efforts at Scandi-cool have been looking pretty scandalous thanks to the combination of a compact living space combined with a messy dog, you may want to take your interiors inspiration from the east.

While you might not be able to completely free your space of clutter to create a sense of zen, a fusion of Oriental styles works well in smaller flats and homes. Many of the traditional key features of Japanese and Chinese interiors have developed in response to having less square footage to spare. If freshening up your home with a look that’s designed to make the most of less appeals to you, why not try out a few of these styling tips from the Orient?

Keep it on the down low

Choosing a bed or futon that’s closer to the ground isn’t just easier for you to climb in and out of, the slatted base of these beds is also said to help you lose moisture in your sleep more hygienically and to support your back more adequately. Of course – it’s not just beds that are lower down – in many eastern countries there is a floor culture whereby much sitting, eating and even specialist ceremonies such as the tea ceremony are carried out kneeling on the floor. Now, that’s a budget friendly approach if ever there was one!

Style things to slide

In traditional Japanese architecture, a Shoji sliding door can be used internally or externally to separate spaces. By sliding rather than swinging open they preserve space. In addition, they also help to control the flow of light. Dressing screens are also traditionally used to decorate and break up a space.

If you are working with a small space that you need to divide without a wall this is perhaps something you can get on board with. While translucent paper dividers may not prove quite so practical with pets around and cold weather to contend with, you could consider fitting bi-fold doors internally or externally to open up a space. You could even use them to divide a room to give residents their own private area within a shared bedroom. These wooden bi-folds from Vufold don’t look a million miles away from their eastern cousins. Ornate dressing screens can be expensive, particularly if you opt for an authentic hand painted Japanese style screen. To stretch your budget further, why not create your own so that you can incorporate your own colour scheme more easily. You’ll find some easy-to-follow DIYs on Pinterest.

Basic needn’t look budget

If your home is like a blank canvas largely because you can’t afford to do lots of painting and decorating or to buy lots of soft furnishings at the moment, sticking to an Oriental theme may make a lot of financial sense. This will allow you to adopt a traditional neutral backdrop with white or cream walls and to introduce a few select colours and patterns, usually influenced by nature. This could include a floral wall decal or perhaps a large landscape or floral canvas.

Light also has an important part to play in an Oriental theme and if you’re a fan of colourful paper lanterns you’re in luck. Versatile, pretty and inexpensive, they are a great eastern twist on bunting and can help stretch the smallest of budgets even further. Candles are also a common eastern interiors touch but may not be very pet-friendly. Instead, choose LED lanterns and pick up some no-flame candles too for prettiness combined with peace of mind. If you wanted to go all out on the theme, you could treat your home to a bonsai style plant or two or a peace lily. The latter makes a good cheaper alternative and is easier to care for if you are a nervous novice gardener!

What do you like or dislike about Oriental theme interiors? Could you adapt to sleeping futon style or will only a memory foam mattress cut it for you? Do you think adopting a few style tips from the east might help you make better use of your small space or are have you found a better way to style out your compact family home? Share your interior musings below!

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