Much Asian-style design is inspired by the Japanese and Chinese cultures. The Japanese look is classically minimal, creating an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. By contrast, Chinese inspired design is bright and colourful.

Lighting plays an important part when you are creating an Asian-inspired look. To create a Japanese room, choose one with plenty of natural light. Look for simple paper shades in pale colours, and use with low level lighting. Traditional Japanese shades use mulberry paper which has a natural creased look. If you are craft-minded, you can make your own Akari shades. LED light bulbs are perfect for use with paper lampshades as there is no risk of them catching fire. To maintain the minimal Japanese look, choose cool white LED light bulbs.

Japanese furniture is simple and streamlined, and often low to the floor. Why not complement your design with some simple Ikebana flower arrangements for classic elegance.

Chinese design is dramatic. Think of reds and golds and traditional lacquer furniture. The colour red means good luck in Chinese culture. You will want brighter lights accompanied by bold coloured shades for your Chinese look. Traditional lanterns are widely available. Some are made from paper, others from shimmering silk, often decorated with tassels.

Dark wood and rich flooring and textures complement Chinese design. Bamboo can be used to great effect and is a popular material for both table and floor-standing lamps. Look out too for ornate gold lamp bases which can help create that authentic look.

Choose warm white LED light bulbs to emphasise the rich and vibrant colour schemes.

Don’t forget you can continue your Asian theme outdoors. Paper lanterns round a patio, or hung in trees and shrubs, will make even the smallest garden look inviting. So sit down with glass of Saki, let the evening breeze rustle through the bamboo, and enjoy your own touch of Eastern promise.

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