Decorating in the Asian style is a real exercise in creating balance, tranquility and harmony among the items of daily living and nature. One of the most fundamental things to keep in mind is the Asian sensibility of incorporating simple beauty and utility, and a seamless transition from the thoughtfully spiritual to the every day elements of daily life.
Creativity, to the Asian culture is a sacred process, and is incorporated in everyday living. Appreciation of beauty and respect for all things is very much a part of the Asian culture and is very clearly epitomized in their design style.
Natural materials are basic to Oriental decorating, along with strong forms, textures, and colors. There is a lot of symbolism involved with this decorating style; whether you choose the stronger forms or more subtle ones, make sure that your colors, textures and materials are in harmony with nature. For instance, heaven, man, and earth symbols can be symbolically expressed by a tall paper lantern, a middle sized paper lantern, and finally a small paper lantern sitting sedately in a lacquered tray atop some natural elements like sand, smooth stones or seeds. Other materials commonly include silk, in many delightful colors and patterns, bamboo both live and cane bamboo, grass cloth, clay wood, stone, parchment and glass.
There are many different ways you can go Asian. You might like a very dramatic, opulent and sensuous look, some of the elements that will provide this would be silk wall covering or drapery, black lacquered furniture, statuary, even vintage wallpaper that has an Asian theme would add a unique touch in the dining room. Lighting can be very dramatic, utilizing candles, lanterns, Oriental type chandeliers that mix the look of twigs or bamboo, along with vintage hardware. Another way to express yourself in this genre is to be minimalistic with a very monochromatic color scheme. Your background could be neutrals, possibly a very light celedon green.
Shogi screens, a potted ornamental tree, possibly a statuette of a deity or an ornate wooden chest could be the focal point in the room. Another nice touch would be to use fabric with a calligraphy type print in a room such as this to add texture and interest. Don't forget the details, serve meals in simple earthenware square plates on tables covered with a very natural material such as brown paper. Add beauty to the table by floating blossoms in shallow dishes of water, ornate chop sticks and candles. Another way to capture an Asian flavor would be to have a collection of Oriental style trays which can be readily found in vintage stores and flea markets. Ginger jars, oriental bowls, oriental fans, origami art or paper umbrellas can also be affordable treasures that you might even enjoy collecting and displaying in every room of the house.
Whatever nuance you choose in this style will give you years of tranquility and satisfaction and hopefully a harmonious blend of aesthetics and utility.