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.

Shanghai-Living-1600-x-1160-7BODY 2.jpg

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.


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.

What is the interior like?

“We chose our beautiful Nordic decorating theme for the Illawarra Grand Deluxe 45, which is an eye-catching mix of soft pastels, black, white and grey artworks and curvy, sculptural furniture. We installed engineered timber flooring to emphasise the warm, natural feel, which we extended into the study to make the lower level feel more expansive,” says Hodges.

“Texture is key to this look, so we’ve included gorgeous boucle armchairs and dining chairs, ribbed tiles around the fireplace, and a stunning textured feature wall behind the bed in Surround by Laminex, finished off with statement wall lights over the bedside tables,” she says.

“All-white kitchens are making way for a more dynamic, layered look these days, so we’ve used a palette of black, white and oak in the kitchen, with a statement island benchtop in Caesarstone Primordia – a light concrete look with touches of oxidised rust. It’s a classic kitchen look that’s here to stay,” she says.

Meet our Illawarra Grand Deluxe 45, the Perfect Multi-Generational Family Home.

The Illawarra Grand Deluxe 45 features a super-sized master suite with a large dressing area.

Did you find this Home Files blog helpful?
Don't forget to bookmark it so you can revisit it later!

Our brand-new Illawarra Grand Deluxe display home is now open at Meridian Estate in Clyde North, so come along and see how more space and luxury inclusions will transform your family’s lifestyle. Get the details on where to find us here.


Carlisle newsletter

Sign up to get the latest news from Carlisle Homes including exclusive offers, new home designs, and the latest trends and inspiration.