Get The Look: Modern Oriental in 1/12th Scale for the Dolls House

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21 July 2012
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Jane Kubiesa takes us on a Far Eastern adventure to create the latest trend in 1/12th scale for the dolls house. ...

Taking inspiration from the Orient is by no means a new thing; people have been bringing this style into their homes for many years. The combination of traditional and contemporary Far Eastern design in Modern Oriental style adds a new dimension to creating an exotic interior scheme in your own miniature home. This style mixes the clean lines and neutral colours of Japanese minimalism, with the traditional forms of Chinese furniture and the bright shades and intricate carvings of Thai design for a truly exotic result.

Modern Oriental is all about creating a calm retreat from the outside world and it draws heavily on nature and natural colours and materials. Using Far Eastern looking plants against a backdrop of olive or mossy greens or natural browns is perfect for this look. Combine this with natural materials in finishes such as wood, bamboo and wicker and your look is almost complete. The icing on the cake comes in the form of the vibrant colours associated with exotic blooms that are used to brighten the space and bring warmth.

From the selection at The Dolls House Emporium (, the Modern Low Table is inspired by Japanese design. Its clean lines and simple shape bring a contemporary edge to this piece. It is priced at £3.88.

With these things in mind, the wall covering of choice might be a combination of those earthy tones in paint or 1/12th scale wallpaper - perhaps with a feature wall of natural stone paper, craft card depicting bamboo, a vibrant paint colour in red or orange or a zingy miniature wallpaper or wrapping paper with a small scale lotus flower print. Following the Japanese angle of Modern Oriental style would mean having shoji screens, which are a framework of wooden battens backed with white tissue paper, as walls. This versatile idea could also be used for dressing screens, paper lanterns and window blinds.

Just like the other elements in this scheme, keeping things natural is key, so flooring featuring wood or bamboo is a great starting point. Sheets of cork could also be used as an unusual alternative to standard wooden floorboard finishes, while still sticking with the natural theme.

      No Modern Oriental interior would be complete without a bonsai and now thanks to Ceynix Miniature Trees ‘n’ Trains, your miniature room box or house can have one too. Ceynix ( have a vast array of mini bonsai trees and no two are the same, so your space is sure to be individual. They come snow-covered, with tiny figures, growing from logs, flowering or shading animals. Prices range from £5.00 for a small bonsai to £95.00 for a bonsai table display. Trees can also be made to order.

Lighting in a Modern Oriental room is almost invisible and is mainly used to illuminate a space through the paper of shoji screens, using small light fittings hidden behind items of furniture or by adding cabinet lights to bookcases and display stands. The exception to this rule is for Chinese style paper or hall lanterns which add an authentic feel to this look.

This beautiful set of rice bowls is handmade by RJT Miniatures, based in Canada. They make a selection of Japanese-style items for the 1/12th scale collector, including nesting bowls, turned pots, stools and vases in wood and stone. For further details, visit

Furniture really adds the ‘wow’ factor to Modern Oriental style and as long as it’s Far Eastern in design, whether this is Chinese, Japanese or Thai in inspiration, it is perfect. Pieces in highly varnished dark, mahogany-coloured wood, lacquered in black or painted with oriental designs all bring an edge to this kind of interior style. Features to look out for include the shortened legs of Japanese-style tables, dragon lattice-work and stylised flowers in carving details.

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This lovely Japanese-style table from Mini Square’s ( combines a dark cherry wood top with metal legs and a perforated metal panel. This table can be extended and it costs $38.00 (around £25). The dark colour of the wood would be perfect against a zingy oriental wall hanging or rug.

Key colours: Olive greens and natural tones, hot reds and oranges.

Key features: Bamboo, polished and carved wood, shoji screens.

How to customise:

  • Brocade fabric with a miniature pattern is perfect for this look and can be made into cushions, bed covers and blinds to add luxury.
  • Re-use old household items: bamboo table mats make an ideal floor or wall covering and raffia can be plaited to add detail.
  • Create a themed seating area by trimming the legs of a coffee or dining table down to create a Japanese-style low table. Add mini floor cushions to use as seating.
  • Paint items of white wire furniture a brown tone to mimic wicker or bamboo to add a natural look to your 1/12th scale room.
  • Make a simple shoji screen by gluing strips of wood together to create a framework. White tissue paper can then be glued to the reverse of this for a simple, yet effective finish.

Where to find inspiration:

If you’re lucky enough to have visited the Far East, you’re sure to have a wealth of ideas for creating this style in miniature. Travel magazines and books are probably the next best thing to actually visiting or for a sneak peek into boutique hotels visit the Asia section of the Chic Retreats website -

For inspiration from full-sized furniture specialists, has a range of contemporary and traditional oriental furniture, specialises in classical and restored Chinese furniture, whilst stocks furniture from around the world, particularly Thailand and China.

This feature was originally published in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine. If you like making miniatures, why not buy yourself a copy of the magazine. Or better still take out a subscription so you never miss an issue. For fans of Facebook and Twitter, or to email, print or comment on the feature, please use the buttons above to share with your friends.

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