The Difference Between Asian and American Home Design

When choosing a house design people often consider factors such as the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, wall decorations and so on. However, culture as a factor is often overlooked. More often than not, people choose house designs that they are familiar with as opposed to foreign designs. This is a consequence of human nature which embraces the familiar and shy’s away from foreign things. For instance, if you are of oriental decent you will most likely choose an Asian home design. And if you are American or European you are more likely to choose a western design. But once we get out over these cultural constraints and start to embrace diversity. We are likely to experience a much richer aspect of architecture. Here is a comparison between Asian and American home designs to get you started.

1. Maximalist versus Minimalism

American homes are typically inviting and homey while Asian homes often feel cold. This has nothing to do with individual personalities but everything to do with their home design approach. Asian home designs are more minimalistic as compared to American homes. Although for a while more people adopted the minimalistic culture from their European brothers. This design originated from the east. The minimalistic value is borrowed from a Chinese principle known as Feng Shui. This is a traditional practice that claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment. In the Asian culture, clutter is said to bring negative energy consequently blocking Feng Shui. This minimalistic design style is characterized by clear-well defined straight lines as well as minimal furniture and decoration. American home designs are however characterized by oversized furniture and decorations which take up much space.

2. Materials Used

When you think of Asian style the first thing that comes to mind is tranquility. This is because Asian styles are known for exuding serene and peaceful vibrations. They accomplish this by incorporating natural materials into the design process. With the rise of global warming, such designs have become more prevalent in today’s homes. As compared to the typical American tiled bathrooms, Asian themed households utilize stone bathtubs. Other uses of natural materials include the use of stone walls, bamboo plants, and wooden decorations. Besides using natural materials, Asian themed houses are also big on natural lighting. To achieve this, most of them are fitted with an expansive window that allows natural sunlight to seep through. Their doors are also fitted with translucent paper which filters direct sun rays while allowing the light from the sun to get into the room. As previously mentioned, Asians are firm believers of Feng Shui. Feng means “wind” and Shui translates to “water” in Chinese. According to Feng Shui, the sound of flowing water is considered to be both harmonious and positive. Therefore, it would not be a complete oriental-themed design without the incorporation of a water body such as a fountain, reflection pool or a pond of sorts.

3. Decoration

How you decorate your house is a big give away of what your style and preferences are. The same can be said for your cultural inspiration. The American home design is mostly decorated with pottery, carved wood, and paintings. While the Asian home design decorations are characterized by wall panels, Asian scroll paintings, decorative fans, room dividers, pillows covers with Asian motifs, scenic landscapes and deity statues.

4. House Exterior

The outside of a house is very important because it is the first interaction people have with you. Besides people’s perception of you, a house exterior can also encourage you to spend some quality time outdoors. When choosing your home design it is important to factor in this. The Asian and American outdoor designs are both very different. While the typical American yard consists of green grass, a swing set for the kids and a swimming pool. The Asian design includes a Zen garden. The idea of the Zen garden is a Japanese tradition that dates back to medieval Japan. The gardens were first to build by monks in monasteries. The purpose of the garden is to provide a tranquil environment. Zen gardens just like the house interior are made to be as minimalistic as possible. The Zen garden most consist of sand, stones, and pebbles which you can shape into whichever patterns you prefer. The garden may also consist of stone forms that are strategically located a Buddha statue, a water body and some plants.

5. Color Palettes

American designed homes tend to have a muted color palette for their walls and exterior. On the other hand, Asian based designs tend to derive their inspiration from nature. Since their decorations consist mostly of landscapes. It’s only natural that their color palette is neutral to complement the décor which already speaks for itself.

6. Size

When talking about Asian versus American homes, size is a very important aspect. This is because the conditions in both type of homes are quite different consequently influencing the size aspect. Since most Asian home designs tend to borrow from the Japanese style. Asian themed house houses are more likely smaller than American houses. Factually, compared to America, land is scarce in Japan. And if you are lucky to get land, it is quite expensive. For some houses in Japan to adapt to the small space, they build three stories as compared to the conventional two stories. To also maximize on space, they have sliding wooden doors called Shoji. Shoji’s can be opened to create more space – you can simply open a shoji which will make two rooms into one big room.


With these differences between the American and Asian home design, It all comes down to preference. Now with more cultural exposure, you can choose one of the two. Or better yet, steal ideas from both cultures and mix them up to give your home the best of both worlds.

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