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Travel, Teach, Live in Thailand

Decorating Influences and Themes from Thailand

Traditional Thai homes were actually built in a manner that allowed the sections of the house to be disassembled and even moved when necessary. In fact, the Thai word for building a house, prung, literally means "assemble." Houses often had to be quickly built, or quickly disassembled to allow them to be moved to a different location. Houses were built from a collection of panels, with the house itself generally being built on stilts as a protection against the weather and seasonal flooding. You can add the aura of Thailand to your home easily.

Thai decorating techniques generally makes strong use of handicrafts. Traditional Thai decorating styles vary between the ornate types of decor used in palaces and among the affluent, to the much simpler styles which are focused on practicality and function that are used in most Thai homes. In fact, traditionally furniture was not even found in most Thai homes, as this was reserved for those who were affluent and in the upper classes. Most of the objects found in the average Thai home were quite practical in nature, although they were often finely crafted from materials that were able to be procured locally.

Natural Themes
The Thai style of decorating tends to focus on natural themes, although these simple natural items are often combined with spiritual and supernatural themes. An emphasis on Buddha is seen in most Thai homes with objects that signify reverence and worship, as well as quiet personal contemplation. Objects, especially those of a spiritual nature, are treated with reference and respect in the Thai home. However, these types of objects are only displayed in locations that are considered to be appropriate. As a result, one would never find objects such as an image of Buddha in areas of a home such as a bathroom or even the bedroom.

Renewable Resources
Materials used in Thai handicrafts often include easily renewable resources such as bamboo, water hyacinth and mango wood. Other materials that are commonly used include natural fibers such as hemp, linen, cotton and silk. Teak is also a popular material that is often used when crafting Thai accessories and furniture pieces.

Decorating for the “Upper” Class
Modern Thai decorating styles often include the types of furniture and decorative effects that traditionally would have been available only to those in the upper classes. Colors, patterns and designs are often mixed, and it is common to find simple natural decorations and furniture alongside more elegant decorations. There remains a contemplative nature surrounding the normal style of design and decorating in Thai homes, with an emphasis on a meditative mood overall, either through the placement of spiritual objects, or something as simple as an incense burner.

Usability and Balance
When decorating a Thai home, there is generally a focus on usability and balance. Items are often quite colorful, and are often finely detailed as a result of the emphasis on hand-crafted items. Furniture items tend to be utilitarian in function, but are often beautifully created from teak wood. Iconography is quite common in Thai decorating, often with an emphasis on Buddha, the mythical lion figure known as "singh", or water-dwelling serpent known as naga.

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