Decorating ideas for an oriental party

Written by sarah rogers
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Decorating ideas for an oriental party
Chinese lanterns are an easily recognisable element of Chinese culture. (Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images)

Whether you're looking to add an exotic feel or simply a touch of elegance, the Orient can be a fun and inspirational theme when hosting a party. One idea is to select a specific Asian country, such as India, China, Japan or Thailand, and decorate in that style. Another idea is to combine several elements you find attractive from different Oriental countries for an international Oriental fete.

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Red is a traditional Chinese colour with positive associations. Try to use the colour red as much as you can, including for tablecloths, napkins and invitations.

Decorate the party area by stringing up individual or groups of round paper lanterns, which are suitable for both indoor and outdoor parties, and you can use either electricity or batteries to illuminate them. You can use traditional red and gold paper lanterns or more contemporary-looking paper lanterns, which are available in a wide variety of colours, patterns and sizes.

Use small bamboo plants as a centrepiece for a dining table or a decoration on an auxiliary table.


To evoke the rich colours and spices of India, use a combination of bold colours in your decorations. Bright orange, however, is especially valued in India and is one of the colours on its flag.

Using small wooden incense holders, burn incense at different strategic places of the party space. You can use any scent you like, but Nag Champa incense is particularly associated with India.

In Hindu-majority India, Ganesha the elephant-headed god is one of the most popular gods. Appropriate for all kinds of Indian-themed parties, decorate the party space with a statue or wall print of Ganesha.


Japan is known for its elegant aesthetic and crisp, clean lines. Lend a Japanese air to your party with a few strategic touches in white and black. Think simple, but design for maximum impact.

Set the party scene with a couple of portable Japanese shoji screens, which typically look like white rice paper set between dark wooden frames, although modern shoji screens may be printed with decorative floral elements.

Decorate the dining or auxiliary tables with sprays of fake cherry blossom flowers. Serve food in black lacquerware dishes, or in bento boxes, accompanied by chopsticks.


Thai tradition associates a colour with each day of the week, so choose a colour scheme for your party depending on the day of the week it will be held on: yellow on Monday, pink on Tuesday, green on Wednesday, orange on Thursday, blue on Friday, purple on Saturday and red on Sunday. Use this colour for the tablecloths, napkins, glasses or other elements you will need.

In addition, you can give your party space an instant Thai touch with a statue or wall print of a seated or standing Buddha and elaborate Thai wall tapestries, or prints of them, featuring elephants. Add a couple of Thai-style pointed hats to decorate a wall or a table, or else encourage the guests to wear the hats.

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