Book Review and Feature: Decorating Asia

5 stars
If you wish to decorate your home in the Asian style, this is the book for you. It goes beyond the usual gaudy, much-hyped Asian themes, and presents ideas to recreate an original Asian feel. Tips include the right colors, the right curios to pick up on Asian trips, and excellent ways to present them. A book worth picking up, because you will read it once, then read it over and over again!

Decorating decorate your home in the Asian style Asia is one of the few decorating books that not only lives up to expectations, but goes beyond – to surprise, stun and delight the reader! The book is the brainchild of Tatjana Schantz Johnson, and she has collaborated with writer Marion Bravo-Bhasin and photographers Alan Lee and Edward Hendricks.

The book is all about decorating homes in the Asian style, and ‘visits’ most of Asia – with chapters dedicated to China, Singapore, India, Cambodia, Lao, Vietnam, Mongolia, Thailand, Japan, Philippines and Indonesia. The collaborators have managed to bring out the essence of each country’s decor styles and put them together with helpful suggestions. In the book, they also ‘bring out’ colors for each Asian country, indeed a very handy hint for those who want to start somewhere in their attempts to decorate in this style!

An interesting aspect of the book is how unexpected the content all is. The section on India, for instance, skipped the predictable handicrafts, carved furniture and Tajmahal memorabilia ideas. Instead, it focused on the colors that naturally come across in India’s everyday life – pictures depicting quiet country scenes, village women in colorful saris, red hot chillis arranged on a cool blue platter, the beauty of Bollywood posters, etc. Simple, yet unconventional ideas for wall paints, living room decor and creating unconventional India corners in your home (including redoing an old cupboard with Indian colors, and a stunning idea for a living room that doesn’t scream India, yet portrays it in a gentle, dignified and harmonious manner).

Click on the image below to buy the book right now!

The book itself is anything but conventional. It is all about moving away from stereotypical decor ideas, and focuses on a more positive, modern way of integrating the styles of Asia into any home. It does not dictate, but gently nudges readers to think for themselves, and incorporate fresh new ideas for decorating their own homes. It is also a good idea to read this book, if you are traveling to an Asian country, because once you have read it, you will stay clear of the over-hyped souvenir shops, and look in smaller, more real places, for real pieces of decor to carry back with you.

When I look at the book very objective ly, it is difficult to say what it lacks. I found though that some countries seemed to have been better researched than others. The chapter on Singapore, for instance gave a lot of coverage to artist Ketna Patel’s interpretations of this cosmopolitan land. Of course, this does encapsulate the essence of Singaporean style really well, but it left me disappointed.

All in all, it’s a beautiful book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is thinking of doing up their spaces in the Asian style.

Key Bunch Verdict: Unique, thoroughly enjoyable!

Some of the pictures from the book follow, and this is an exclusive especially for The Keybunch readers.

All photos are courtesy Page One Publications, and cannot be distributed or reproduced without written consent from them.

Desert Tone, Living room, Rajasthan, couches, red. yellow, Decorating Asia
This contemporary desert toned seating area takes
its lead from the sandy, orange and yellow shades of
the Rajasthan scene depicted in the painting.


Bed, Four Poster, Teak, green, Bedroom, Decorating Asia
A teak four poster bed plays up its jungle allure with
vivid shades of green and uplifting prints.


Book Case, Kimono belt, flower print, statue, Decorating Asia
Beautiful textiles such as an Obi or Kimono belt can be
used to dress up a bookcase or a table.


Low Couch, velvet, embroidery art, Middle East. Decorating Asia
Moghul Luxe – Soft velvet, deep tones and an embroidery
art form that the Moghuls picked up from the Middle East.


Dresser, orange, Ikebana printed glass vanity table, Knowles and Christou, blossoms, Decorating Asia
An old Ikebana printed glass vanity table and
glass table lamp by Knowles and Christou pays tribute
to the delicate beauty of a single branch and blossoms


Table setting, Japanese, Decorating Asia
A delicate balance. Look for simple and subtle items
that will add a Japanese feel to your home.


Kimono, Japanese, chopsticks, Decorating Asia
A simple table setting for two. For the Japanese,
presentation is everything when it comes to food.


Maxi pattern, Living room, masks, statues, Decorating Asia
Maxi pattern living. Pattern on pattern on pattern works when
the colors are coherent such as this violet toned seating area.


Singapore, Ketna Patel's, Lampshades, lounges, eclectic, Decorating Asia
In Singapore, artist Ketna Patel’s studio is a visual testament
on how to live with art. Lampshades and lounges are just a
few of the vehicles she uses to display her vivid
and eclectic collages of Asian life.


Contemporary, Living room, Natural Light, plants, Asian accents, Decorating Asia
This light and airy contemporary living area also
evokes old world charm with its large,
dark furniture and Asian accents.


Red, Grey, Teapot, overhead painting, bedroom, Decorating asia
Simplicity, balance and color instantly ooze the
Chinese aesthetic in this bedroom.


Bedroom, paintings, vivid colors, lampshades, headboard, Decorating Asia
This bedroom balances out the bright tones with a simple
patterned bed spread, symmetry and the serene
vibe of the monk painting overhead


Orange, Altar table, crown, fruits, vintage, Decorating Asia
The orange colored altar table lends itself
beautifully for a unique display.


Luxurious, bedroom, drama, flowers, satin, lampshade, metallic, Decorating Asia
A little drama goes a long way in creating an
inviting and luxurious bedroom.


Thai Cow Pull, tea lights, flowers, flower holder, Decorating Asia
An old Thai cow pull gracefully comes into the home
when transformed into a votive and flower holder.


Sitting Area, Majestic Hotel, Singapore, Artist Justin Lee's, national flag, montage, tropical flowers, Chinese character "xi",double happiness, Decorating Asia
A sitting area from a room at the new Majestic Hotel in Singapore.
Artist Justin Lee’s rendition of the national flag is actually
a montage of tropical flowers and the Chinese character “xi”,
which represents double happiness.


Just another reminder that these images are not to be copied or reproduced without explicit permission from Page One Publications. The book has many more stunning images, and you can buy the book here



  1. The book sounds like a fantastic buy Sharon – thanks for the great review! I was hoping to see a pic of how the Bollywood posters decorate the house too – I’ve got a fair idea on it, but would have loved to see it in action somewhere! I also loved the desert toned seating arrangement. India alone has so many decorating concepts that span the obvious and the mellow – I’ll surely be looking out for this one at the local bookstore – thanks again!

  2. Sharon,
    You have outdone yourself this time … this post sure combines a lot of personal style elements all in one … so much inspiration all bundled in one. Love it. 🙂

  3. Sharon,
    You have outdone yourself this time … this post sure combines a lot of personal style elements all in one … so much inspiration all bundled in one. Love it. 🙂

  4. Living in America, we are always on the look out for Indian artifacts. Most cost an arm and a leg here but in World Market, sometimes you find something small and really authentin Indian things.

    LOVE the Rajasthan painting. I am sure it costs a lot may be I will paint one myself! ;D

  5. great decorations…

  6. I fell in love with purple colored living room and green colored bed room..not to mention that I went green 😀 blush blush…Lovely post Sharon

  7. Sorry I am so late acknowledging all the comments, I have been doing a fair amount of traveling, and it’s lovely being back home!

    *Pat, these were images sent by the publishers. However, I guess I could send u a pic of the bollywood arrangement 🙂 it will come to your inbox soon!

    * Rajee, Asha, Lakshmi, LG thanks…so glad you all liked it 🙂

    *Le@HC, I believe this is the first time you are posting on this blog..welcome! and you have a lovely blog too, in fact I will be trying out the mung dhal recipe tomorrow!

  8. Sharon … .
    Beautiful post –
    really love that Maxi Pattern Purple room !


  9. wow..where ever we are ..I think one painting with an Indian is it needs to ignite the feeling of “At Home”.

    For sure I am inspired to bring back my painting hobby alive this summer 🙂

  10. Beautiful post Sharon. Awesome colorful photographs. I simply love the black and red bedroom with the Asian Teapot.

  11. The Mughal luxe room with the gorgeous embroidery is so beautiful!! So many ideas, so few walls is my current rant!! Great work!

  12. Sounds interesting, I would love to have this book in my collection. – Rekha

  13. Thanks for the recommendation! This book does look like a genre different from the current decor books available in the market.

    I am going to add this to my collection 🙂

  14. Judith, thanks!

    Smi, do send us pics of your paintings. Perhaps we could feature them and you, here sometime!

  15. Sri, yes I love that one too. In fact you should pick up the book, cos the whole of China is in these colors, and very very lovely!

  16. Rekha, you can borrow my copy 😉

    Bhavna, you are welcome!Great to see you back on the blogosphere.

  17. hi sharon!!!

    absolutely lovely post!!! brightened up my day:)
    thank you!


  18. Thank you Shwetha! 🙂

  19. Asian art prints make great anchoring pieces in an Asian themed decor.