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Monday, 21 August 2023 10:29

Oriental Design in the Western World: A Brief History

oriental rugs oriental rugs pixabay

As in other areas of modern life, trends and fashions seem to go around in a never-ending circle, such as the 1970s retro-inspired accessories being back in fashion in the noughties once again.


Oriental artwork and interior design, however, is not only one of the most popular style choices trending right now but one that has always been one of the more favored choices to decorate any room within a home.

Here is a brief history of oriental design and its impressive and continuing impact on the Western world.

What Does Oriental Design Actually Mean?

Essentially, every nation belonging to the eastern region of Asia has had more than a little influence on oriental interior design, including countries such as Japan, Thailand, China, and Vietnam.

Asia has had a growing impact on not only interior design and home décor but fashion, clothing, and even television and movies over the years, and now, the term “oriental design” refers to items whose basic function or artistry has been inspired by Asian culture.

Some people choose to add key features of oriental décor, such as oriental rugs and ornate cabinets, into the décor of their home, whereas others tend to be influenced by the soft Asian color palettes, using these in paint and other objects around the home.

How Did Oriental Design Come to Be So Important in Europe?

When you consider design and style in the context of the Elizabethan times, for example, it would be fair to say that luxurious pieces of furniture and beautifully decorated walls and ceilings were certainly reserved for the wealthy. As a result, the rich and affluent tended to stick to a more European framework when designing and decorating their homes.

As civilization and society developed, however, the Western world became simultaneously more knowledgeable and increasingly interested in faraway climes, and due to a combination of the wider public’s belief systems and changing environments, oriental design was popularized.

What Are the Key Elements of Oriental Interior Design?

Traditional artwork and home décor features based in the more historic oriental design framework have always relied on a combination of porcelain and wood to create their unique aesthetic. Even though wooden furniture was, and indeed still is, the most common material used, East Asian designs were always substantially more intricate and ornate.

Unequivocally, the most influential aspect of oriental design in terms of the Western world embracing it is porcelain, a material that remained exclusively in China for many centuries before it was brought to Europe.

Another key characteristic of oriental design values is silk, a luxurious material that was actually developed in China. Even to this day, China is still the largest producer of silk in the entire world.

Finally, the other main elements of oriental design are images of animals and drawings of flowers, namely the Chinese dragon, the elephant, cherry blossom, and lotus flowers, respectively. Oriental design often also features images of the crane, which represents both longevity and harmony in East Asian culture, making it a popular option.