How to bring other countries’ aesthetics to your home

Cultures make countries unique and our vacations memorable. Each nation has a distinct heritage and set of beliefs that reflect how they understand the world and themselves. With different philosophies come different ways they live their lives — from behaviors and customs to tastes in fine arts and architecture.

With this wellspring of richness and diversity, it’s understandable why most people would like to bring a piece of another country into their homes — and in some cases, not just a piece, but the feel or whole atmosphere. 
Enter interior design. From exotic places to familiar ones, here are some design concepts and philosophies from other countries you can get inspiration from. 


Also known as the “Island of the Gods,” Bali is a popular Indonesian holiday destination because of its refreshing tropical vibe. Its design aesthetic is almost similar to Filipino vacation homes — resort-inspired luxury villas with a distinct flair for being in tune with nature.

A Balinese-inspired home should have a good natural ventilation system (big windows for air circulation and large expanse between the roof, floor, and walls), a massive yard with a landscaped tropical garden and a pond for meditation, and a gate or guarding wall for protection. Instead of open floor plans, Balinese homes have distinct areas for specific daily activities. 

To evoke the serene countryside or beachside ambience, incorporate natural elements indoors. Furniture like a couch, tables, day bed, or bed frames made from teak, bamboo, or rattan do the job best. The Balinese are also known for their heavy use of intricate carvings, whether in wooden furniture, roof, or as accent pieces. These are best paired with colored textured rugs, throws in soft wool or lush cotton, and indoor plants as they contrast against the earthy tones. Solid bright elements like gold and brass vases and sculptures also offer balance to the lush colors.


Japanese interiors exude Zen in minimalism through a philosophy called kanso, which means simplicity. It celebrates beauty in humble things by clearing your space of non-essentials like the typical home adornments (photographs, figurines, and modern metal and glass décor) to create a sublime space exuding subtle elegance and comfort.

The rules aren’t cast in stone so you can still have furniture, if you prefer. In this case, opt for low pieces like tables with pillows or cushions, low bed frames, and minimal artworks.

The Japanese are also fond of bringing nature inside so try to incorporate raw materials like a tatami mat (made with woven rush straw), and shoji screens (light wood panels made with fine translucent paper held inside a wooden frame). These accents not only diffuse and soften natural light but also create clean and straight silhouettes, a must for a Japanese home, which you should pair with a calming and restrained color palette like beige and cream. Ikebanas or flower arrangements and bonsai are also great additions indoors.


Much like the Japanese, the modern Chinese home aesthetic is notable for inviting Zen indoors by carefully weaving together décor, craft, color, and spatial management — adhering to Feng Shui. 

According to this Chinese philosophy, there are five basic elements of life: fire, earth, metal, water, and wood. Integrating these and their colors in your home invites positive chi. For the fire element, you may use candles and mood lighting to radiate passionate energy in your living room.  Earthy elements like hardwood floors and ceramics give forth a grounded and balanced chi. To reflect positive energy and mental clarity, experiment with metal, and shiny hard surfaces. Infuse the water element in your relaxing spaces to create a serene environment by using glass, mirrors, and crystals. Finally, to attract energy and growth, blend some wood elements in your space like bamboo, plants, and flowers. 

Furniture and décor with clean, straight lines, which are sometimes accented with ornate designs, are favored for a harmonious and visually-relaxing space. 

French Country

Relive your Provence trip by incorporating quaint and bucolic French Country aesthetics in your home. Striking a balance between rustic and elegant, beauty and comfort, this style involves refined elegance by evoking a relaxed and subdued atmosphere. 

The elegance comes from the furniture that adds a flowing and graceful feel to a room. Lean more towards curved lines like wrought iron consoles or tables with cabriole legs for a romantic visual appeal. On the other hand, you can bring out the rusticity by picking furniture with subtly distressed finishes for a lived-in and welcoming ambience. Chairs made from sturdy natural materials with whitewashed finish are upholstered with cushions for comfort — think Louis XVI chairs.

Furthermore, you can throw in elegant fabrics in spaces with raw and natural décor. French country fabric usually has vivid patterns like toile. Mix and match it with other prints like gingham, or stripes with floral. Lavenders, roosters, olives, and sunflowers are also common motifs for table linens and curtain panels.

Finally, accessorize with vintage items and antiques like wall clocks, chandeliers, porcelain plates, mirrors, and vases.

Mid-Century Modern

Unlike the preceding styles, the mid-century modern aesthetic is more of a global art movement — not of a particular country or culture but of an era. This movement started after World War 2 when designers from Europe, rooted in the Bauhaus style, migrated to America for a better environment. These designers prioritized comfort and practicality in their designs and stripped away the excess to keep things true to their core — no more of the early century’s gilt and stuffy designs.

A mid-century modern home is easily recognized by its furniture. Consider sprucing up your space with Charles and Ray Eames shell chairs and ottoman, Isamu Noguchi’s signature table, and George Nelsons’ marshmallow sofa or décor with the same features — streamlined and vintage-looking. As you build around these kinds of furniture, avoid too many patterns and stay within a color range. 

Tap into the bountiful cultures of other nations for a home that radiates a year-round getaway ambience.

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