Design | 18 August 2020

Shanghai Living: How to Create an Opulent and Luxurious Look 

by Carlisle Homes

Evoke the look and feel of an exotic, boutique hotel with one of the season’s most dramatic new looks – Shanghai Living.

With its dark timbers, plush furnishings and touches of gold and lacquer, Shanghai Living is an aesthetic that speaks of unbridled luxury – and it’s guaranteed to add Far Eastern flair to your home.

“This look gives you the opportunity to incorporate family heritage or pieces you’ve collected on your travels into your home,” says Danielle Taylor – Interior Design Manager at Carlisle Homes.

“The main base of the scheme is neutral so you can personalise it as much or as little as you like with artwork and decor items. And when creating this look, don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.”

Here’s how to achieve the Shanghai Living look in your own home.

The interiors at the Redcliffe at Eliston Estate are inspired by the Shanghai Living theme.

Start with a warm, neutral base

Lay the foundation for this sophisticated scheme with a base of rich neutrals – think charcoal, deep brown, greige and fawn for flooring, cabinetry and key pieces of furniture such as the sofa and dining setting. Add layers to your scheme with cushions on the sofa and rugs underfoot in luxurious materials, such as silk and silk-weave in the same earthy hues.

To keep your interior bright and welcoming, balance deep hues out with crisp white on the walls and ceiling.

Opt for darker finishes

This dramatic scheme calls for mid-tone and dark timbers, such as walnut, wenge and teak. Consider dark timber joinery in the kitchen, a moody vanity in the bathroom, a rich, timber-clad feature wall in the entry and deep tones for furniture, such as the coffee table, dining setting and hallway console.

You might look to incorporate darker tones elsewhere too, such as a black or near-black benchtop or tiled splashback in the kitchen, black window frames, a feature wall lined with deep and dramatic wallpaper behind the bed, and black light fittings.

Dark timbers are an important design element in a Shanghai Living interior. Finishes such as Laminex Natural Walnut are ideal for kitchen applications as seen at the Redcliffe at Eliston Estate.

Mix classic and contemporary pieces

Channel the sophisticated vibes of a boutique Shanghai hotel by combining classic pieces with ones that are sleek and contemporary – for example, a rolled-arm sofa or a plush wing chair alongside a minimalist coffee table, side tables and lighting.

Formal detailing, such as structured pelmets and contrasting piping to the sofa and armchairs, adds to the chic, tailored effect.

Video Body Blog Image 1 Play button

Take a tour of the Shanghai Living inspired Carlisle Homes Redcliffe at Eliston Estate here.

Play up textural contrast

Layer your scheme with a medley of different textures to convey depth and a sense of sumptuousness. For example, light linen sheers at the windows, thick and luxurious carpet in your living spaces, and a selection of high-gloss, lacquered accessories dotted throughout your home.

Introduce a textured, natural element with dark, woven cane and rattan pieces in your living and dining spaces, rugged stone tiles to bathrooms and tactile, grasscloth wallpaper to the walls of a formal entry.

Combining different textures and finishes will help create an oriental feel to your space. Consider pairing lacquered rattan with contemporary lighting and dark timbers for a contemporary take on the Shanghai Living look.

Touches of bling

Up the luxe factor with accents of gold in decor items, vases and tableware. For a bolder introduction of bling, consider adding a decorative folding screen or metal wall hanging with elements of burnished gold.

Oriental-inspired artworks and accessories

“Personalise your interior with a mix of different artwork types, including interesting pieces you’ve picked up on your travels throughout the Far East,” says Danielle. You might, for example, combine Oriental sculptures and fabric wall hangings with box-framed canvases, carved wooden pieces and modern, abstract prints.

For a sense of cohesion – and to keep with the scheme’s palette of rich, neutrals – limit your artwork palette to black, charcoal, grey, black-brown and stoney neutrals.

Don’t be afraid to accessorise. By adding orientally influenced homewares and objects you can add your own personality to a Shanghai Living interior. Seen here at the Redcliffe at Eliston Estate.

Incorporate traditional foliage

“Complete the Shanghai Living look with traditional foliage, such as potted bamboo and orchids,” says Danielle. Charcoal-toned pots and planters with simple lines look chic and modern, and create a striking silhouette when filled with your favourite foliage.

Learn more about the Shanghai Living theme here or take a virtual tour of the Redcliffe at Eliston Estate here. For more inspiration see our many other interior themes.

Carlisle newsletter

Get the latest news from Carlisle Homes regarding exclusive specials, lifestyle and interior trends.