Chinese Interior Design Trends

Let’s look at this lovely Chinese interior design style in honor of the Chinese New Year.

Of all the decorating trends and style stalwarts, Chinese interior design is one of the most unassuming. Asian design is one of the most powerful and memorable design dynasties. It flourished despite receiving less attention than Mid-Century, Scandi, or Baroque.

What is Chinese interior design?

Several images come to mind when you close your eyes and imagine a typical Chinese interior. It’s hard to pin down a country with such a rich and long history.

Sleek surfaces of dark, lacquered woods, dimly lit decorative lanterns, meticulously hewn latticework furniture and screens, and color palettes that often blend warm neutrals with punchy, saturated tones of red (China’s luckiest color), blacks, and golds.

All true of a classic Asian interior, a design direction drawn from thousands of years of Chinese culture and decorating evolution, dating back to 1000 BC.

Chinese interior design

Asian design embodies zen. Chinese-style interior design will often build this sense of harmony by blending complementary influences across the continent.

Japanese and Chinese interior design elements often combine with the delicate nature of traditional Japanese design. Offsetting the boldness of the Chinese aesthetic narrative.

Chinese interiors are harmonious, well-decorated, and well-managed.


Chinese interior design


What are the characteristics of Chinese interior design?

Chinese interior design features rice paper lanterns and cherry red and gloss black palettes.

Bamboo elements

Wood is known not only as a food staple to China’s national treasure, the giant panda but also as a Chinese symbol of virtue. It symbolizes traditional Chinese values and the potential harmony between people and nature.

Ancient China called the plum, orchid, bamboo, and chrysanthemum “the four gentlemen.” The pine, bamboo, and plum “three gentlemen in winter.” The deep root symbolizes resoluteness, and the tall, straight stem honor.

These deep meanings make bamboo so respected and wanted in inspired Chinese interiors.  Whether as a photo frame, a mirror surround, or even a lampstand. And Chinese architects are increasingly turning to bamboo as a sustainable building material.

The lacquer craft

Lacquer techniques are synonymous with Chinese interiors and more popular during the Ming Dynasty. It’s a skill over 1400 years old and takes time and discipline.

The makers would build up layers of different lacquers to carve into and create impeccably artistic scenes on elaborately decorated luxury furniture. One of the most famous examples was the Chinese Coromandel screens that used various lacquering techniques.

Kuan cai (incised colors) is the simplest, but one piece of furniture can use up to 30 techniques, each with 100 stages. Lacquering wall finishes are newer.

Chinese interior


Separating screens

Whether used for decorative or room-dividing purposes, 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, and folding screens adorned with incredibly detailed murals, often mythological or historical in theme. One of the most famous examples was the Chinese Coromandel screens that used various lacquering techniques.

The folding screen began in ancient China and was soon taken up by 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.

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


asian interior design


Chinoiserie wallpaper

Unique 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 the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace.

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

Ming Dynasty tables

Ruling China from 1386 to 1644 A.D., the Ming Dynasty is renowned for many things, such as population doubling, trade expansion, drama, literature, and creating world-renowned porcelain. Amongst these, furniture characterized 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 craftsmanship and joinery, these tables would often be simple in structure with minimal decoration. This would allow the natural beauty of the wood to shine and the decoration to be appreciated fully.

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


interior design


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 centerpiece 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 drink cabinets.

Cloisonné detail

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

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

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 Asian room sets, and one of the most iconic designs is the barrel-shaped Chinese garden stool. Initially, it was used in China purely in outdoor spaces.

Wherever possible, Chinese homes emphasize the landscape and courtyard or garden. 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 the outside world.

These stools were used inside and out for seating and as a side table. They’re available in carved wooden designs, as the traditional garden stool was made, and glazed stone or porcelain is deemed more suitable for our interiors. Lattice work is not uncommon on stool designs, either.


design trends


Chinese interior design trends

The Marie Kondo effect is pan-Asian, though Japanese. Thus, Chinese customs of ordering and keeping only useful items in the home have fueled the decluttering trend. Chinese interiors avoid clutter, which drains energy.

Natural materials are another popular Chinese interior design idea. Chinese people value nature, honor it and recognize the benefits of using natural resources. Whether it’s wooden furniture, natural fiber rugs, or stones as spiritual grounding, bringing nature into our homes helps us relax.

Another trend in Chinese interior design is using screens to divide a room. Over the last decade or two, a seismic shift has been toward open-plan living. So we’ve slowly begun to gravitate toward the broken plan.

Separated rooms mean we divide the space between cozy pockets and zones of activity. Modern Chinese interior design applies decorative screens to large rooms to divide space.

Chinese interior design trends

How to incorporate Chinese Interior design in your home

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

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

Order and flow

Zen is about creating a calm, spacious room with a sense of belonging.

Feng Shui influences Chinese interior design. Which channels energy to create harmony. The art of placement optimizes “chi” by placing and organizing items in a room (energy).

Balance and order are important in Chinese culture, so make them part of your room’s theme.




Richness in color is another tenant of traditional Chinese interior design. A rousing Asian design symphony will play from your space when ruby red walls, ebony or mahogany fine furniture, gold relief work, gilt decorative accents, and brass metallics combine.

If something so strong doesn’t suit your taste, choose one of the signature Chinese colors and use it in several places to draw attention. Such as a chorus of dining chairs, a decorative screen, or the colors on your walls.

Think decoratively

Chinese design isn’t so much a rejection of bold lines and sharp form. But, it embraces and champions 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. Seek intricate fabric patterns and embrace the more-is-more approach to room details. All the while keeping everything else very much about less is more.

Women in Construction Series: Featuring Roxanne Espiritu

As a senior site QS, I love that my job doesn’t limit my learning to paperwork and the office. It lets me experience site operation and quantity surveying firsthand.

Roxanne Espiritu was looking for her next job as an aspiring professional when she discovered SDW had an opening for a Senior Quantity Surveyor. “I was still in the province working for a private construction company as a project engineer. I was looking forward to returning to Manila after having some time to breathe when the epidemic hit. One of the firms I’ve seen people apply for is SDW. I browsed its website and what impressed me is that the executives are composed of both locals and foreign nationals.”

Roxanne has worked for six years since graduating from Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. She has worked at four different construction companies. She is one of SDW’s notable women in construction who, despite the difficult job in a male-dominated work environment, has excelled and proven herself.

Let’s get to know Roxanne as we asked her some questions about her work and construction.

women in construction

What does your job entail?

As a Senior Quantity Surveyor on site, one of the most critical aspects of my job is to check that the scope of work being implemented by the operating team is right and following our contract. These include the location, quantity, and cost of each activity. And because our company engages other subcontractors to complete some of our jobs, I also need to analyze their performance and certify their billings. Finally, we must prepare our monthly billing claim, containing all necessary documentation.


What is the best part of your job?

As an engineer with experience in site operation and office work, I would say that one of the best parts of my job as senior site QS is that it does not limit my learning to paperwork only and on the four corners of the office. It allows me to explore and experience firsthand the correlation between site operation and quantity surveying work. It also challenges my knowledge and ability to work effectively with the two different construction departments, the operation site team, and the commercial team. They are very different in many ways but also very connected. This kind of work setup improves my negotiating skills and allows me to immerse myself in varying levels of understanding.


women in construction

Do you like working with SDW?

In my more than three months with the organization, I would say that one of the benefits is having an environment that encourages you to speak English. It enables me to gain confidence and improve my communication abilities.


What has been the most memorable moment working with SDW?

My daily experience in the company is, I believe, memorable. Every day is different, adding to my recollections of the company. My regular conversations with coworkers or managers, whether at work or during breaks. Those days appear to repeat themselves or when nothing happens. Those days, I don’t say much since I have a lot on my plate. It is also how they make you feel significant as a team member and how they make you feel during those demanding schedules and submittals. Those are the things that will remain.


What personal qualities help you be pleasing in your job?

Listening with analysis is one of my skills that gives me an advantage over others. Next, I am not scared to make decisions and hold myself accountable. Humility, as well as an understanding that learning is a never-ending process, has greatly assisted me.

Who inspires you?

My family, like others, is what keeps me going. My ambition is to provide them with a comfortable lifestyle and enable other family members to realize their dreams.


I didn’t picture myself working in industries other than construction. I believe it is my professional calling and that I was born to do it. My manner of thinking, desire to construct things, and create solutions are all aspects of who I am.


What are the advantages of being a woman in construction? What are the disadvantages?

One of the advantages of being a woman in the industry is that they will assume you are organized and good at documentation because it is typically reserved for women. However, I must say that sometimes it is also a downside because they will limit your role to that and will give the more physically demanding activities to men. For this reason, there is no equal opportunity for both genders.


What is the biggest challenge of being a woman working in construction?

As a woman in the industry, aside from the fact that it is mentally and physically exhausting, it is a great challenge to prove that we are equally capable as male engineers. Not only in terms of strength but also in effectiveness on site or in office work, intellectual or physical, in management or operation.


How do you handle the pressure?

When there is the pressure at work, I try my best to stay calm and intellectual. For me, this is how it works. I need to stay focused. Keep attention to the details, then work it out.


What advice do you give a young woman entering the industry?

I would encourage those young ladies who want to pursue a career in the construction industry to do so because it is an adventure. It is very challenging and fun but exhausting at the same time. So I think for you to be able to enjoy one thing, you must love it. I mean not only in construction but in general. So yeah, if you think you are passionate about this industry, go for it.


How do you think construction can attract more female candidates?

I think the construction industry itself is very attractive. It is so inviting for those people that are interested in joining. I mean, it is mentally, physically, and socially challenging. There is no need to convince the girls to be part of it. We need to expose and educate the younger generation about it so that they will appreciate and see how beautiful it is.


I am proud that my professional career is in the construction industry, mainly because being a female engineer is something to be proud of, and I am doing what I love.


What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?

As construction advances, we could see more and more women in the industry becoming normal. The industry is embracing female potential and contribution. Both men and women are now working together with the same responsibilities and accountabilities.


In this day and age, women are more empowered. Women holding positions in a male-dominated industry gets more common. Get to know more about SDW’s women in construction here.



7 Innovative Ideas In Architectural Design

Whether the space is as small as a bathroom or large as a skyscraper, architects and designers worldwide are finding intelligent ways to improve those spaces. Here are some creative approaches to architectural design.

1. The Urban Forest

MAD Architects, a Chinese firm, has developed a new technique in architectural design. A new way to reintroduce the reverence of nature to the rapid Westernization and immense population growth of one of China’s biggest cities, Chongqing. The Urban Forest, intended for commercial and office space, is a swirling skyscraper with no apparent symmetry. The Urban Forest, which towers above Chongqing at about 116 stories (the World Trade Center’s twin towers were 110 stories), represents an effort to bring together the meticulous attention of the green movement and the representative power innate in a skyscraper. Its design “mimics vertiginous hillsides, shifting in a dynamic yet holistic rhythm.” An estimated date for the completion of The Urban Forest is unknown. Still, MAD architects list it as a “design in progress,” having completed the proposal phase.

2. Ørestad College

“College” in Denmark is similar to high school in the United States, educating teenagers 16 to 19 years old. 3XN, the designers behind the Orestead model, wanted to use the school environment as a learning tool. They built a school where groups of any size have a natural setting to receive instruction or study. Learning zones are meant to flow into each other with no artificial borders. An innovative approach in architectural design.

3. Wet room bathroom

Do you know what’s better than a soggy bathroom floor mat? A bathroom floor — in fact, an entire bathroom! — that is delighted to be wet. That’s the idea behind the new trend in bathrooms, called wet rooms, like the one seen above, profiled by Not A Paper House and designed by Made a Mano. A novel approach in architectural design, your bathroom becomes a shower area — minus the curtains and sliding glass doors. You should use high-quality stones and tiles to ensure your bathroom can handle years of soaking. Made a Mano uses lava stone from Mount Etna and Vesuvio to create their tiles and fixtures.

3 Reasons Why Office Redesign Can Increase Revenue

Redesigning your office fit-out isn’t as simple as changing the hallway paint or rearranging desks. It’s more about changing your workspace’s overall vibe, look, and feel. It should represent your company’s desire for growth and inspire your people to work more productively.

Interior designers and contractors in the Philippines are catching up to the competition. They use trends and innovative designs for workplace fit-outs to make the country more globally competitive. Contractors are constantly under pressure to outperform their competitors. This type of shift inspires individuals who are daring enough to redesign an office.

You’re probably thinking that redesigning your office would cost your company a lot of money. In a sense, you’re right. From planning, and designing, to the construction itself, it would require a significant amount of time and money. However, this kind of expense is somewhat unavoidable. It does have its benefits and, if you plan well enough, could quickly return a profit.


Here are three ways a redesigned office could enhance your company’s revenue.


1. An office redesign can increase employee productivity.

If done well, a new office style will enhance morale and productivity. In 2017, millennials (ages 21–36) held most of the workforce. It makes sense to tailor your office culture and benefits to this generation. Millennials like an open office layout because it creates a high-energy environment that makes them more productive in the long run. And the more effective your personnel are, the more money your clients invest.

Putting your employees in a cubicle wouldn’t work anymore in this day and age.

The overall decor of the workplace has a tremendous impact on people’s attitudes, creativity, and inspiration. You wouldn’t be surprised if you asked your staff about their ideal workplace, and the majority of them said Google or Facebook. These businesses have considered design trends and combined them with the creativity of their personnel. As a result, Facebook was recently awarded the greatest workplace of 2018, while Googleplex is the gold standard for IT campuses.

2. Fresh Designs Attract the Best Talents and Clients

Your office is the face of your company. It is where your employees work and your clients put their investments. With this said, you wouldn’t want people coming into the office and being turned off by how boring the place is.

Redesigning the office to become dynamic and vibrant adds to its overall appeal. It caters to creativity and inspiration for not just your current employees and clients but also those who aspire to be your future employees and clients.

Giving employees a nice spot to unwind and chat with coworkers can raise morale and ready them to travel. Spaces like these might be used for impromptu discussions that generate fresh ideas without the confines of a conference room. Lastly, when applicants see how your office fit-out nourishes people, they’ll say, “I want to work here.”

3. Less is more

The times have changed, and the era of large furniture has gone. Today, space is a precious commodity that no one dares ignore. By investing in the organized use of space, you can avoid wasting your company’s hard-earned money on things that aren’t needed.

Cubicles and dividers are a thing of the past. Sure, they provide privacy, but it blocks communication between your employees. It eats up space meant for interaction and makes the workplace feel like a prison—and in all honesty, that would be the worst-case scenario.

Having a design that can change with your employees’ demands can make them better and your firm more flexible.

In the end, it’s not just about the income anymore. One of the most important things you can do to help your business succeed is to ensure your employees enjoy coming to work. After all, the workplace is essentially the body of your business. It’s best to pay close attention to taking care of it. Eventually, you will reap the rewards—yes, that includes a reasonable return on your investment.

To help you decide if it’s time to give your office fit-out a do-over, please see SDW’s case studies and be inspired by what we can do for you.

Interior Fit-Out Design Tips to Motivate Employees

Interior office. It goes by different names: gray hell, the box, and Alcatraz. But it doesn’t necessarily have to stay that way. The concept of interior fit-out design allows business owners to re-imagine the design and build of their establishments. Make them more conducive for their employees and make their work lives more enjoyable.


Take Google, for example. They have created some of the most creative, unique, and fun workspaces, and the outcome of their work’s creation is still vital to this day. Indeed, their interior fit-out designs have significantly impacted today’s architecture and construction scene, and many other contractors have followed the trend. In doing so, it improved the lives of its employees by leaps and bounds. Take note of these interior fit-out design tips to motivate your employees.


1. Greenery and Natural Lighting


biophilic design


Humans naturally desire to be connected with nature—biophilia, as scientists call it. It would only make sense to let in natural light and add something green to the place humans spend their time; for most adults, that place would be the office.

There have been numerous studies that have proven the positive effects of biophilic design in the workspace. Here are some benefits of having plants near the workstation:

Reduces stress

In 2010, the new University of Technology in Sydney did a study that found that adding plants to the workplace made people feel much less stressed. Results included:

  • A 37% fall in reported tension and anxiety.
  • A 58% drop in depression or melancholy.
  • A 44% decrease in anger and hostility.
  • A 38% reduction in fatigue.
Increases productivity

According to 2014 research from the University of Exeter, employees’ productivity increases by 15% when previously ‘lean’ work settings are filled with just a handful of houseplants.

Reduces sickness and absence rates

Some experts argue that adding plants to the work environment can help to reduce the risk of sick building syndrome. Symptoms of sick building syndrome get worse the longer a person stays in a particular building and eventually gets better after they leave.

Cleans the air

 It is worth remembering that nature works miracles daily. Plants employ photosynthesis to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen. Every day, your staff could breathe clean air without spending a dime.

2. Maximize space



flexible office space design


Every square inch of an establishment costs money. Thus it is prudent to utilize every corner of the office. But it does not imply that you should load the nooks and crannies with useless items; instead, it suggests that you should maximize the available space. 

Here are some solutions to help you accomplish this:

Let there be light

Your office may not have a lot of equipment, but having ample lighting is enough to make it look bigger. Adding more windows that allow natural light to come in may do the trick. It is also known to raise alertness and productivity levels.

Veer away from heavy furniture

Oversized dark-colored furniture may trick the eyes into believing that space is smaller than it is.

Remain flexible

Instead of building concrete walls, use movable dividers or folding partitions to transform your office space. You can also use collapsible or portable tables, desks, and chairs. This way, you can freely use the same pieces of furniture for other functions when needed. With this, you can transform a double-room space into a bigger single room perfect for a small team to conduct collaborative meetings.

Go vertical

There are plenty of ways you can save space by filing your documents. Offices that feature ample wall space make use of a vertical filing system, in particular, to allow for optimal utilization of that wall space.

3. Clutter-Free 
minimalist office design


Your office is a sanctuary, a holy place where you’ve invested your life’s work. You can’t allow it to become cluttered. Otherwise, your employees will feel uneasy, or worse, someone could get hurt in an accident. Here are some office hacks to keep the workspace clutter-free and maintain the aesthetics of your interior fit-out design:

  • Make space for a multitasking message board.
  • Create an order with drawer organizers and use the color coding on your files.
  • Corral messy cables or go cord-free.
  • Divide your office into task-related work zones for maximum efficiency.
  • Set up a paper-processing station.
  • Schedule regular maintenance.
4. Quality Furniture


quality office furniture

Like any remodeling project, upgrades are necessary to achieve better results. You wouldn’t need to replace everything, but adding quality materials to your office is one way to make your employees feel appreciated. Replacing their old desks and chairs with fine tables and comfortable seats would go a long way in setting the right mood in the workplace.

Spending ample resources to get higher-quality furniture will be worth every penny in the long run. Boring office furniture tends to make employees lazy and uninspired. It also results in people feeling irritated and clumsy by the mountains of work on their desks. Being surrounded by boring furniture, individuals often lose interest in work, affecting their productivity significantly.

5. Cozy Lobby


lobby interior design


Your office lobby can also be called the ‘face’ of your company. It’s the first thing that greets first-time visitors, interested applicants, and employees to begin their day. Making the interior fit-out design of the lobby as excellent and as welcoming as possible is imperative.

If you’re a visitor to a company, the last thing you want is a chilly and dull lobby. If you’re a job applicant, it will help if the waiting area is less tense and has comfortable seats. You won’t want to see the same cold and monotonous hall every day if you’re an employee. You wouldn’t want people to think these things when they first set foot in your office. After all, first impressions do last, so there is no need to hold back in designing your lobby.

There you have it. With these tips in your arsenal, your office space will be a wonderland for your employees. They may even get the word out and recommend your company to their peers, and new applicants would swarm in. Your visitors would be impressed that they may finally sign that contract with you. Investing in designing or redesigning your office fit-out would prove to be very beneficial in one way or another.

Do you find interior design interesting? Contact us for a consultation with our professional interior designer. You can also click here to see our portfolio.