If you're looking for a sleek, exotic look perfectly suited for smaller apartments and living spaces, Oriental-styled furniture is a definite option to consider. Chinese and Japanese offerings have had a great influence on Western furniture and modern design. Bedroom furniture pieces such as the platform bed and futon, as well as stacked chests and trunks are examples of Asian-inspired furniture that is practical and compact, and at the same time stylish and sophisticated.
Lacquered surfaces are a key attribute of the Chinese furniture style, creating luxuriantly deep finishes that are paradoxically subtle and striking in their elegance. Comprised of ebony, teak and rosewood, Chinese furniture often bears an inlay of semi-precious materials like lapis lazuli, jade and mother-of-pearl. Symmetrical construction, miter joints and copper, brass or pewter brackets are often employed to create a clean profile that enhances a modern, cosmopolitan living space.
Space-saving savvy puts Japanese-inspired furniture high on the list of city dwellers and dorm room denizens alike. If you love your sleek, streamlined platform bed and couldn't live without your stowaway futon, you owe your admiration to the ingenuity of a culture that traditionally shuns large, overwrought furniture. Other recognizable items that hail from Japan include the stacked Tansu chests and Nagamochi trunks. Like Chinese furnishings, furniture influenced by Japanese design is defined by its joinery, with master artisans taking years to learn the construction of these complex, durable joints. Great pride is taken in the general lack of nails or glue that holds the structure together, and in the joint's shock absorbing properties.
Much contemporary furniture owes its inspiration to ancient Oriental designs. The beauty of a piece was found in its usefulness and construction. Simplicity of design was valued more than ostentatious and gaudy overindulgence. The same can be said for today's modern furniture, especially bedroom furniture, where sleek and simple equals stylish and sophisticated.
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