Oriental design celebrates nature and simplicity to create harmony between the interior and the exterior. Both Zen and Feng Shui philosophies focus on the importance of orientation–both spiritually and physically–to enhance line, form, space and light.

Minimalism is part and parcel of this aesthetic. A muted colour palette, clutter-free layout and natural materials are key. It is very easy to get caught up in cliche motifs such as lanterns or cherry blossoms, and there is nothing wrong with this, but give these elements a modern spin to create something that is authentic and not gimmicky.


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When it comes to furniture, dark wood and sleek lines are king. Traditional chests or consoles work well dotted amongst more contemporary, minimalist pieces. Japanese design often favours bare, strip backed furniture where the emphasis is on the materials used rather than any additional finery. If you do want a bit of detail, the Chinese “shou” character–which symbolises longevity–is a popular motif to have engraved into wood or embossed into metal to create handles for cabinets.

Lanka_Console_1McGee & Co. Lanka Console

Furnish Classic Chinese Console Table

Dark Dakota Compact Coffee Table


Manzil Coffee Table


OKA Shiga Side Table 

For artwork, calligraphy and cherry blossom-inspired silkscreens are the obvious choice, but why not mix it up and go for abstract characters or metallic wallpaper to add a contemporary twist. Thinking outside the box will ensure that you create an interior that is extraordinary and unpredictable.

Ld Shoppe Kinetics Set of 9 & McGee Co. Bamboo Print 2

Graham & Brown Pale Gold Sakura & Rockett St George Kyoto Wallpaper

Light is an essential aspect of Zen philosophy owing to its influence over space. While natural light is favoured, artificial light is often necessary. Fittings constructed from bamboo or paper celebrate the surrounding environment and are in keeping with the concept of bringing the outside in.

Kichler Elstead KL/MOXIE Island Chandelier & OKA Zhu Table Lamp

RSG Glazed Bamboo Pendant & Nino Leuchten Bamboo Floor Light

So declutter your home, focus on simplicity, and you may just find some Zen!

Top photo credit: The Telegraph