The face of Australia is changing. According to the 2006 Census findings by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Chinese language now tops the Italian language as the second language, after English, most spoken at home. Our source of inspiration is moving away from Europe and closer to home.  Trends towards Asian-inspired fashion, interior design and architecture have become more prevalent.  

Considering there’s been a Chinese population in Australia for almost 200 years, a cross-pollination of design ideas would be assumed to have been in place almost as long. However, the major trend towards chinoiserie (French for ‘Chinese things’) occurred in Australia in the 1920s and 1930s.  Prominently a globally-led craze, it was confined in Australia to people of wealth.  

Delivering Chinese culture to Australia was instigated by the ubiquitous Chinese restaurant.  These cafes and restaurants were a starting point for the broadening of the average Australian palate.  As Australians, addicted to outdoor living, we’re more likely to embrace exterior Asian references than interior ones, creating a Japanese or Balinese style garden rather then incorporating these themes in our interiors.  

Our desire for homewares from Asia come about in the 1980’s as a worldwide trend evolved.  Rooms would have small Oriental touches – a screen or vase, incorporating these items into our own tapestries of influence, creating rooms and homes that reflect all sides of this multicultural land.  

We are privileged to be living in the sub-tropics, as we share a similar climate, we can borrow from our Asian neighbours, their architecture: homes built on stilts, verandahs and open plan living, and their gardens.  

Tips for Decorating Chinese Style      

  • Hang a timber filigree screen behind a bed as an alternative to a traditional bedhead
  • Replace garden gates with Chinese temple doors
  • Chinese brocade cushions can be added to almost any room, from living, outdoor, dining (onto simple wooden chairs) and bedrooms
  • A Oriental alter table can add ‘wow’ to an entry or used as a sideboard in the dining
  • A Bonsai plant can soften the look in a bathroom/ensuite
  • A Prison mirror on the wall of the patio creates interest and works along side hyacinth or rattan outdoor furniture
  • A well placed Pyramid Chest not only is handy for storage but can fill an empty space well
  • Screens are versatile and portable, think out of the box
  • Accessorize with artwork, lamps, pots and floral arrangements
  • If you’ve had the opportunity to travel, group your treasures together to create a ‘themed’ style 

‘Chinese furniture is not just functional; every piece is a work of art’ 

Leanne J Zielke
Colour Design Consultant
Accent on Colour  / Andersons Curtains
0413009380  / 41515757

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