Travel Design Inspirations: Vietnam & Thailand

Aged brass door handles on a bright yellow door, Minh Mang Tomb, Hue, Vietnam

Every month I check out my pile of shelter magazines and inevitability find an article where a designer talks about how their newest design, fabric, furniture line, etc. was inspired  from their latest exotic trip.  When you travel do you see the world like a designer?  Keeping your eyes open for new color combinations, textures, patterns and ideas?  I’m still trying to train my eye to look for these inspirations.  Part of the trick, I’ve discovered, is to just take a picture of anything that you like — be it a color, tile design or pattern.  In November I took my own exotic trip through Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Here are a few of the things that inspired me in Vietnam and Thailand.

Bright yellow doors, Minh Mang tomb, Hue, Vietnam

Why not paint your front door a bright yellow?  And let everyone know that an emperor lives there.  In Asian cultures yellow is believed to be from the earth and generates Ying and Yang meaning that yellow is the center of everything.  Is your house the center of everything?  How about a yellow front door?

Pendent lanterns, Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

How about hanging a series of pendent lanterns outside within a covered porch?  Or several down a long hallway or passage?   The lanterns aren’t the only inspiration in this shot.  Look at the ceiling beams.  What if you painted, covered in wall paper or fabric your ceiling beams?  Don’t have any ceiling beams?  I’m digging that pattern — that would be a great print for summer patio pillows.  How does one go about getting their own fabric made

Oversized silk pillows whisper luxury, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok.

Not all inspiration has to be ancient.  I love these oversized silk feather pillows on my bed at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Bangkok.  I am stealing this idea inspired to make this my own.

Iron trellis awning covered in vines, Hanoi, Vietnam

Another contemporary inspiration.  This awning spanned the length of the building with vines planted every 5-6 feet.  Big impact that really transforms this building (I’m sorry I didn’t get a long shot of the building).  How about an iron trellis over your door or garage?

Walls, Temple of the Reclining Buddha, Bangkok

Perhaps my favorite inspiration; the beautiful aged, muddied pastels of the walls of inside the Temple of the Reclining Buddha.  Wouldn’t a powder room wallpapered in a similar pattern be fantastic?  Or how about being inspired by the color combinations and decorate a room with golds, greens, blues and corals?

Walls, Temple of the Reclining Buddha.

Have you been inspired?  What will you try at home?

For more photos from my trip please visit my Flickr account.


6 responses to “Travel Design Inspirations: Vietnam & Thailand

  1. I wonder what an orange front door means – that a crazy lady lives there, maybe? 🙂 Love the idea of covering beams in fabric, too. We might be able to do our step risers in a fun pattern….

    • I’ve seen some really cool ideas for risers — stensils, painting each one a different color or repeating several colors, hanging unmatched vitage house numbers in the center of each riser, counting the steps up. I once covered a dresser in fabric, think I used gesso to apply and then you’ll want to use some type of trim piece on the edges — braid, ribbon, painted wood trim, etc. Good luck!

  2. What a great post and a great eye. I have a great shot of the reclining buddah, but have no recollection of the walls. I guess I missed the details, but you didn’t

    I love that yellow door and the covered beams as well. I’m inspired alright — to get back to Asia. I have been thinking that a trip to Vietnam and back to the Philippines will be my substitute for Food Blogger Camp this year. Time to take off the “training wheels” and get out there with my camera and computer. 🙂

    • Thanks Fran. I really tried to drink it all in at each location — hard to do when there is so much to see. I almost posted my shot of the reclining buddha with a comment about how in my opinion, you can NEVER have enough gild! 🙂

  3. Great post! I love the iron trellis with the vines. I’ve been planning out my garden want several trellises, they’re just so beautiful!

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