Chinese Interior Design Trends (2022)

Of all of the various decorating trends and style stalwarts, Chinese interior design is one of most unassuming of all. Though it’s talked about less frequently than Mid-Century, Scandi or Baroque, its constant momentum, its never-fading appearance and its perfectly poised pedigree has gained oriental design a reputation for being one of the most powerful and memorable design dynasties in existence.

What is Chinese interior design?

Whilst it’s almost impossible to pinpoint the precise style of a nation with as rich and as long a history as China, there are a number of visions that instinctively come to mind when closing your eyes and picturing a typically Chinese interior.

Sleek surfaces of dark, lacquered woods, dimly lit, decorative lanterns, meticulously hewn latticework furniture and screens, and colour palettes that blend often warm neutrals with punchy, saturated tones of red (considered the most lucky colour in Chinese culture), blacks and golds.

All true of a classic depiction of an oriental interior – a design direction drawn from thousands of years of Chinese culture and decorating evolution, traced back as far as 1000 BC.

Image Credit: LuxDeco

Asian design is intrinsically linked to a zen-like atmosphere, and Chinese-style interior design will often build this sense of harmony by blending complementary influences from across the continent.

For instance, Japanese and Chinese interior design elements commonly merge; the delicate nature of traditional Japanese design offsetting the archetypal boldness of the Chinese aesthetic narrative.

The principal factor is that Chinese interior spaces are filled with a sense of harmony, fine decoration and craft, and management of colour and space.

Image Credit: Greg Natale

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What are the characteristics of Chinese interior design?

Rice paper lanterns or a cherry red and gloss black palette, whichever reference your mind conjures first is just one of the plentiful characteristics of Chinese interior design.

Bamboo elements

A wood not only known for being a food staple to China’s national treasure, the giant panda, but for being a Chinese symbol of virtue. It’s upheld as a symbol of traditional Chinese values and the potential harmony between mankind and nature.

In Ancient China, the plum, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum were known as ‘the four gentlemen’ and pine, bamboo and plum as ‘three gentlemen in winter.’ Even today, every part of the plant has spiritual meaning attached to it – the deep root, for example, denotes resoluteness and the tall, straight stem equals honour.

These deep meanings are what make bamboo so respected and wanted in inspired Chinese interiors whether it’s as a photo frame, as a mirror surround or even as a lampstand. And Chinese architects are beginning to turn to bamboo more and more as a sustainable building material.

The lacquer craft

Lacquer techniques are synonymous with Chinese interiors and were made ever more popular during the Ming Dynasty. It’s a skill that’s over 1400 years old and takes a huge amount of time and discipline.

On elaborately decorated luxury furniture, the makers would build up layers of different lacquers to carve into and create impeccably artistic scenes. One of the most famous examples were the Chinese Coromandel screens that used a vast combination of lacquering techniques.

The most basic is called kuan cai (meaning incised colours), but one piece of furniture can use up to 30 different techniques, each with up to 100 stages. More recently, lacquering has been applied to wall finishes too.

Image Credit: David Collins Studio

Separating screens

Whether used for decorative or room-dividing purposes – or both – screens are commonplace in Asian interior design. Shoji – a door, window or screen used in Japanese architecture made from translucent washi paper and a lattice of bamboo – are the most mimicked.

Chinese interior design uses similar screens as well as folding screens adorned with incredibly detailed murals, often mythological or historical in theme. One of the most famous examples were the Chinese Coromandel screens that used a vast combination of lacquering techniques.

The folding screen originated in ancient China and was later interpreted by other nations such as France and Sweden.


Because of the respect for detail, precision and decoration, latticework is often seen in Chinese interior design. Lattices can be seen on anything from cabinet doors to shutters.

In screens, they also add an element of privacy and seclusion. Traditional canopy beds can have lattice or fretwork on the interior and exterior of the wood panelling too with the patterns they trace being geometric and more contemporary or floral-based.

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Chinoiserie wallpaper

Exotic and magical, Chinoiserie wallpapers were (and still are) often painted by hand using lustrous hues and fastidious detailing.

Although not traditional to Chinese design — instead a European creation to represent the beauty of Chinese art and scenery — they flourished in the 18th century and became more widespread in the 19th – there are original examples in the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace.

Deemed one of the most covetable wall coverings available, Chinoiserie wallpaper (real or imitation) can be used in panels, to line the inside of a closet or as a backdrop to display fine china or crystal and are known for fading slowly and elegantly.

Ming Dynasty tables

Ruling China from 1386 to 1644 A.D., the Ming Dynasty is renowned for many things, such as the population doubling, trade expansion, drama, literature and for creating world-renowned porcelain. Amongst these, furniture characterised by the period became one of the most revered examples of Chinese interior design, particularly the Ming Dynasty tables.

Made from precious wood and showing superb displays of craftsmanship and joinery, these tables would often be simple in terms of structure with minimal decoration. This would allow for the natural beauty of the wood to shine and for what decoration there was to be appreciated fully.

It’s often referred to as the golden era in the development of Ancient Chinese furniture so to unearth a Ming Dynasty antique table is one of the richest ways to celebrate Chinese interior design in your home.

Image Credit: Les Ensembliers

Ornate wedding cabinets

Another icon in the history of Chinese furniture is the wedding cabinet. A traditional gift given to the family of the groom by the bride’s family, it was the centrepiece of her dowry. As such, they were generally elaborate in their carvings and etchings, and often had a large central brass plate and locking bar. Today, they’re collector’s pieces and work well as storage closets and even drinks cabinets.

Cloisonné detail

Like most considerations in Chinese-style interiors, history informs the path. Cloisonné is another ancient technique used for decorating pieces made from metal.

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Metal wires are soldered to the form, such as a vase or piece of jewellery, in decorative patterns and then filled in with enamel, coloured glass or gem inlays resulting in a mosaic-like quality to the finished piece, although much more fine.

The delicate nature of cloisonné appealed to Chinese taste and by the 14th century was being used in China to decorate items such as vases and bowls. Today, you can expect to see at least one cloisonné piece in a Chinese interior, be it an ornament or a trinket box.

The tradition of the garden stool

Stools are a staple in oriental room sets and one of the most iconic designs is the barrel-shaped Chinese garden stool. Originally, it was used in China purely in outdoor spaces.

Many Chinese homes place emphasis on the landscape and the courtyard or garden, but where this isn’t possible, elements of the outdoors were gradually brought inside. Or, even if the garden were visible, the garden stool moving into the home was a way to build a bridge between the indoors and outside world.

By the Song Dynasty, these stools were habitually being used inside and out, for seating and as a side table. Now, they’re available in carved wooden designs, as the traditional garden stool was made, and glazed stone or porcelain which were deemed more suitable for our interiors. Lattice work is not uncommon on stool designs either.

Image Credit: The Langham Hotels

Chinese interior design trends

The Marie Kondo effect, though Japanese in origin, is associated with pan-Asian design. Therefore, order and only having items in your home with purpose, which is in fact a Chinese custom, has led to a peak in the decluttering trend.

A Chinese-style interior rarely accumulates unnecessary objects, which are believed to drain the room and those within it of energy.

Other Chinese interior design ideas include a commitment to natural materials – a trend that’s far-reaching and a huge part of the global interior design commentary.

The Chinese perspective is about preserving nature, honouring nature and appreciating the positive effect using natural resources can have on a person’s wellbeing. By bringing nature into our homes, it helps us to let go of the from the bustle of everyday life, whether this is wooden furniture, rugs woven from natural fibres or using stones as objects of beauty and spiritual grounding.

Another trend that’s arisen from Chinese interior design is the use of screens to divide a room. Because over the last decade or two, there has been a seismic shift towards open-plan living, we’ve gradually begun to drift back towards the appeal of broken-plan.

Separated rooms mean we divide the space between cosy pockets and zones of activity. The Chinese tradition of using decorative screens in the room to section your space is something that’s being applied to large space in our homes as an interpretation of modern Chinese interior design.

Image Credit: David Collins Studio

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How to incorporate Chinese Interior design in your home

Chinese interior decorating, like with any design influence, can be achieved in a maximalist or minimalist way. But there are perhaps three key stepping stones that will steer your scheme in a (far) easterly direction. The decision then is how much pressure to apply to the pedal and how much to turn up the volume.

Ultimately, how overt or subtle do you wish oriental interior design to dominate your room? And remember, even if you use all three of the following in combination, your scheme can still err on the quieter side of Chinese design.

Order and flow

Establishing immediately evident calmness in your room, a clear path to navigate yourself around the room with space, and everything having a palpable sense of belonging all attribute to the zen ideology.

The philosophy of Feng Shui is often the first connection people make with Chinese interior design – where energy forces are channelled to create a feeling of harmony in a space. It’s commonly referred to as the art of placement where the positioning and organising of items in a room optimise the ‘chi’ (energy).

Balance and order are deeply rooted in Chinese culture, so allow these aspects to be one of your room’s defining notions.

Image Credit: AB Concept


Richness in colour is another tenant of traditional Chinese interior design. When an abundance of ruby red walls, ebony or mahogany fine furniture, and gold relief work, gilt decorative accents and brass metallics unite, the most rousing symphony of oriental design will be played from your space.

And if something so strong doesn’t suit your taste, choose at least one of the signature Chinese colours and use it in several places so it receives attention, such as a chorus of dining chairs, a decorative screen, or the colours used on your walls.

Think decoratively

Chinese design isn’t so much a rejection of bold lines and sharp form (indeed a lot of Chinese furniture adheres to these shapes). But, it does embrace and champion decorative form in a very big way.

To truly develop a Chinese-inspired scheme, you’ll need to make room for ornate carvings on furniture or lamps, you’ll seek out intricate patterns on fabrics, and you’ll welcome the more-is-more mindset in terms of attention to detail on key pieces in the room (all the while keeping everything else very much about less-is-more).

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Header Image - Greg Natale, Photography by Anson Smart


What is Chinese style interior design? ›

Chinese design-style is unsurprisingly noted for its zen-like aesthetic and simplicity - it's about clean lines and character of shape. The key element to Chinese interiors is that spaces reflect a sense of harmony, intricate decoration mixed with a blend of warm colours.

What are the current trends in interior design? ›

Interior design trends seem to be taking a more eco-friendly approach as people are moving towards warm tones and natural elements. Decor elements made either from real or faux natural materials are in high demand, as they add a natural and authentic look to your space.

What are Chinese design elements? ›

Traditional Chinese interior design is typically characterized by lacquered surfaces, natural elements such as bamboo and stone, and a red, gold, and black color palette.

What is feng shui interior design? ›

Feng Shui interior decorating aims to enhance different aspects of your life, by putting you in sync with the environment you live in as energy enters your home. To achieve this, Feng Shui rules work with the five elements and a pattern called the Bagua map.

Is Chinoiserie out of style? ›

'Chinoiserie is a stylized “European x Far Eastern” hybrid of a panoramic garden landscape. It brings exoticism, color, pattern and movement to a room of any size of style of architecture. This is why it has never been out of style, transcending fashion,' she says.

What Colour is replacing GREY? ›

Brown is becoming a popular alternative to traditional neutrals. Interior designers told Insider that people are choosing brown color schemes over white and gray because they're inherently warm.

What is the interior color for 2022? ›

If estate sales dominate your weekends and you adore interiors with intricate, traditional case goods, PPG's 2022 Color of the Year — Olive Sprig (PPG1125-4), a muted, protean green — is the updated backdrop of choice for your treasures.

What is the Colour for 2022? ›

Every year, global color authority Pantone reveals the shade that will make headlines in the seasons ahead. Today, the waiting game is over. Pantone Color of the Year 2022 is Veri Peri – a dynamic 'periwinkle blue hue with a vivifying violet-red undertone'.

Is gray still in style for 2022? ›

Is gray paint going out of style in 2022? Gray paint is trending downward in high end design, but will continue to reign in new builds and contractor's bids.

Is white paint still in style 2022? ›

New Neutrals

White paint offers a blank canvas for which we can make our own, and I predict white paint colors will continue to be a top choice for many in 2022." Nicole Gibbons of Clare paint expects the same.

Are accent walls out of style in 2022? ›

Accent walls have been in and out of style in the past but they are looking to be very popular in 2022. If this is not something you have tried before, it's a great option for your next home project.

What is the Zen style in interior decorating? ›

Bringing Zen principles and philosophy into your home décor is associated with calm and neutral colours, minimalist and simple furniture and decorations, and features that bring balance and clean lines. It is also all about letting the energy flow positively around the space.

What is a Chinese roof called? ›

In China, the hip-and-gable roof style, also known as the xieshan roof style, originated in the Eastern Han dynasty as an adaptation of the hip roof. It was mainly applied in the construction of palaces, temples, gardens and other buildings with official functions.

What is modern Oriental? ›

Modern Oriental isn't about just sticking an ornately-carved piece of lacquer work into a modern home. Modern Oriental is a design language that revels in a subtlety of detail and a careful combination of colour and texture.

What is the lucky color in house in feng shui? ›

Red. In feng shui, red is the color that supersedes all others. It's the most powerful color in feng shui and is considered very auspicious. Red is often used to protect and clear a home or a person's energy.

What are the 5 principles of feng shui? ›

The five elements of feng shui—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire—come from the Taoist tradition. The elements are five interrelated phases in life that work together to create a complete system. Typically, when you feng shui your home, you balance these five elements.

What are the 5 elements of feng shui? ›

Feng shui divides the world into five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal and water. If you have a room that doesn't feel quite right, try balancing the elements to make it more comfortable.

What is modern Chinoiserie? ›

WHAT IS CHINOISERIE STYLE? Chinoiserie is the interpretation and idyllic representation of Chinese and East Asian culture. The word derives from “chinois,” the French word for “Chinese.” The style movement is characterised by its romanticised, theatrical and playful perceptions of life in the Far East.

What are colors of chinoiserie? ›

Chinoiserie is characterized by its exemplary blue and white color schemes and traditional East Asian subjects. Notoriously, pagodas, Chinese provincial life, Chinese floral patterns, and shorebirds among others.

What is Grandmillennial design? ›

The grandmillennial style re-imagines old-school design fads and combines them with contemporary looks. "At the heart of this trending design style that falls halfway between minimalism and maximalism is a sense of juxtaposition," interior designer Stefani Stein told Better Homes and Gardens.

What is the most popular wall color for 2022? ›

The most popular neutral interior paint color of 2022 is Pure White by Sherwin-Williams. This popular neutral wall color is beloved by interior designers for any room.

Is beige replacing grey? ›

Gray is beginning to move away and be replaced by a softer, more homey neutral tone—beige. But beige is coming back in a more modern, sophisticated way this time around, and we spoke to some experts to find out how.

What is the most popular color for interior walls? ›

As the reigning champion of interior paint, white is a color that transcends both time and decorating styles. White can make a room feel bright, fresh and up-to-date in settings ranging from modern to traditional.

What is the color of the year 2022 Feng Shui? ›

Cerulean blue, fiery red, mint green and imperial yellow are the lucky colours for 2022. These colours are derived from the four elements of Feng Shui — wood (primary element of the tiger), water (element of the year 2022), fire, earth and the Yang polarity.

What is the new color for 2023? ›

The 2023 color of the year is a blend of gray and beige with subtle red undertones that pair well with today's trending earth-tone paint colors. Rustic Greige wraps a room in warmth, making it perfect for kitchens, bedrooms, and family spaces alike.

What is the most popular color in 2022? ›

53 percent of experts surveyed think that sage green is the most popular color of 2022, not just for living rooms but also for other parts of the house.

How would you describe Chinese architecture? ›

Chinese architecture is characterized by bilateral symmetry, use of enclosed open spaces, feng shui (e.g. directional hierarchies), a horizontal emphasis, and an allusion to various cosmological, mythological or in general symbolic elements.

What is Korean interior design? ›

Korean interior design offers a brand of minimalism that emphasizes harmony and functionality. It is unpretentious at its core, which allows the elegance of simplicity to become most apparent.

What is modern Japanese interior design? ›

Modern Japanese interior design is anchored in minimalist principles, clean lines, and natural materials. With modern Japanese-style rooms, you'll see simple, oftentimes low, furniture, blank walls, as well as a neutral color palette. In modern Japanese-style homes, less is more.

What is the Zen style in interior decorating? ›

Bringing Zen principles and philosophy into your home décor is associated with calm and neutral colours, minimalist and simple furniture and decorations, and features that bring balance and clean lines. It is also all about letting the energy flow positively around the space.

What is the usual design of homes in China? ›

Chinese houses almost always consist of an odd number of bays; an even number of bays is considered unlucky. Therefore, three- or five- bay houses are common. The three-bay house can be understood to be the basic unit of Chinese homes.

What are the five characteristics of traditional Chinese architecture? ›

Some distinct features of traditional Chinese architecture are symmetry, hierarchy in the built environment, the cosmological influence of Feng Shui, horizontal expansion rather than vertical, gardens, courtyards, and a distinct construction system.

What is modern Chinese architecture? ›

Modern Chinese architecture refers to everything built in China since about the middle of the 1800s and includes a wide variety of architectural styles. From blends of traditional elements and contemporary techniques to cutting-edge modern architectural icons, Chinese architecture has it all.

How can I make my room look Korean? ›

10 Affordable Ways to Achieve An Aesthetic Korean-Style Bedroom
  1. Switch to white airy curtains. ...
  2. Add white locker-style drawers. ...
  3. Put an aesthetic lamp by your bedside. ...
  4. Put up cool wall calendars. ...
  5. Go for acrylic chairs. ...
  6. Make use of stylish candles. ...
  7. Hang artsy posters and tapestries. ...
  8. Opt for light wood furniture.
24 May 2021

Is Korea good for interior designing? ›

Korea is widely chosen by international students who want to study interior design but other disciplines: + Korea with Asia's leading education is famous for many Top universities in the world, providing you with a professional, dynamic and modern learning environment.

What is Japanese style interior design called? ›

If we were to sum up Japanese interior design in one word, it would be – zen. Steeped in thousands of years of tradition, this ancient style, known as “Kanso”, is not only calming but a cultural representation of the Japanese way of life.

What is Japanese kanso? ›

Kanso is a concept which comes from Japanese Zen philosophy and emphasises simplicity. In terms of aesthetics and interior design, it's all about keeping things simple, free from clutter and functional.

Is Japanese interior design minimalist? ›

Both traditional and modern Japanese interior design styles featue a minimalist aesthetic.

What interior design never goes out of style? ›

Elegant Living Room Aesthetic

The classic style never goes out of fashion. If you want the best living room trends for 2021, be prepared to go back a century or so. We're talking crown molding, inset ceilings, and tufted furniture.

What is modern Zen style? ›

Modern zen concept interior design is all about fluidity and balance. It literally has no hard and fast boundarie that makes it universally popular and versatile. You can add some bold colours to your walls but make sure to balance with large Japanese style windows, some pendant lights and floor lamps.

What is modern Zen design? ›

Zen design embodies this minimalist philosophy, making use of natural materials, patterns of light and space, and a near-monastic rejection of clutter. A Zen home is meant to be relaxing, contemplative and visually balanced and appealing. The ideas for structuring a life work just as well for interior design.


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