Channel the Far East With Short Coffee Tables and Other Accent Pieces

Eidolonai September 19, 2017

Cultures of the Far East have long been respected for their keen eye for design. From Japanese minimalism to Chinese Feng Shui, there are many styles to choose from when decorating your own home. To decorate your own living space in one of these various styles, all you need are a few subtle accent pieces, like short coffee tables. Kitschy Asian knick-knacks are tacky so keep it cool and simple.

Short Coffee Tables

The traditional Japanese dining table sits very low to the ground, and its users must sit on their knees on accompanying floor cushions during meals. While you may want to stick to your normal dining table, you can still achieve this unique look by adding one or a few short coffee tables. Low tables typically sit a few inches beneath regular table height. This slight variation makes for an eye-catching difference. Tables can be paired with matching low seated chairs and give an intimate and casual air to your setting. Or, if you’re really bold you can try the traditional floor pillow method. If you decide it’s not to your liking, you can always switch them out and then just have a few extra throw pillows.

Feng Shui

Short coffee tables and the rest of your furniture can also be arranged in the traditional Chinese practice of Feng Shui. Feng Shui has long played a part in Chinese design and architecture. You can even see modern day skyscrapers in Hong Kong with strange forms and holes cut out of the middle that conform to Feng Shui, rather than attempt at making a bold architectural statement (though it does, to be sure).

The Feng Shui aesthetic means to combine Heaven and Earth forces in a pleasing way that leads to a better life by improving what’s known as one’s qi. Today, Feng Shui has become more popular a pastime in Western cultures, though most of the original meaning has been stripped away in favor of pure aesthetics. Stop by your local library or look online for proper arrangements, or you can even hire a professional who acts as an interior designer, but with the Feng Shui aesthetic in mind.

Screen Dividers

If Feng Shui is a little too extreme of a commitment, you can still get an Asian feel with just some appropriate accents. Remember that overdoing it will make your living room look like a cheesy Chinese restaurant on New Year’s (Chinese New Year’s, that is). For one idea, you can buy one of those old-fashioned and neat looking room divider screens, many of which come printed with Asian designs. These elegant pieces are beautiful and can also separate a single room into different sections, which is really nice for large, warehouse style rooms.


If you want an even more discrete hint of Asian design, you can even find pieces that have been made with building materials commonly found in Asian craftsmanship. For instance, bamboo is an exotic wood to us in the States, but it’s commonly found in Asian structures. Bamboo accents and furniture (think: short coffee tables)are durable and good-looking. This light-colored wood has a tight, interesting grain pattern and makes for strong furniture.


While it may not be convenient to start your own Zen or rock garden, you can still enjoy Oriental plants both in and outside of your home. Lucky bamboo, which isn’t real bamboo at all, is popular and extremely easy to grow. It can survive in soil, stones, or even simply water. For more of a gardening challenge, try a Bonsai tree. The art of bonsai tree designs goes back to ancient Japan and requires skill and an artistic eye.


Speaking of artistic eye, maybe the easiest way to achieve an Asian theme is to purchase corresponding artwork. A few choice pieces will nicely complement your short coffee tables, divider screens and whatever else touches you already have in place. Prints of watercolors, symbols and famous paintings, like those of Ando Hiroshige, are cheap and not hard to find. For a little more money, you can find authentic wood and metal sheet carvings. Or you can look for souvenirs to hang up, like replica Kabuki theater masks, etc.

Tonya Kerniva is an experienced research and free lance writing professional. She writes actively about Short Coffee Tables and Wooden Tables.

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