The Chinese New Year is one grand event celebrated in every Chinese community around the world. The occasion has been made more festive through a range of colourful traditions that mark the turn of the lunar year.
Aside from preparing Chinese cuisines that are served for families to share over dinner, as well as using lucky charms with the hopes of attracting good luck and fortune, Chinese New Year preparations won’t be complete without decorating the home with ornaments.
Chinese ornaments will not just beautify your home, but also bring luck and good fortune. Below are some useful tips to help you decorate your home taking inspiration from Chinese New Year celebrations.
Image: Finch Photography
Colour themes for Chinese New Year
Yellow- is highly regarded in Chinese tradition and is considered as the most important and prestigious colour. It is the colour of the earth, which implies that it symbolises treasures or wealth, neutrality and balance.
Red- is the most widely used colour in China as it evokes joy and symbolises good fortune. It drives away bad luck and attracts positive vibes.
When decorating your home for the Chinese New Year, pair the two colours together, either of which as the base colour or the accent colour.
8 home decor ideas for the Chinese New Year
1. Red paper hand fans
According to Chinese traditions, Chinese paper fans can be used as good luck charms and are perfect for the Chinese New Year. They graciously evoke an oriental – inspired style and also serve as beautiful ornaments for the home.
Here’s how you can make your own paper fans in six easy steps.
What you need:
- Popsicle sticks (for round fan)
- Paper (wrapping paper, craft paper, magazine paper, book paper, etc.) or red and yellow paper
- Hot glue gun & hot glue sticks (for round fan)
- A sturdy stapler (for round fan)
- Binder clips, exceeding 1” (for round fan
Folding paper fan
Image: The Purple Pumpkin Blog
- Cut two strips of yellow paper about 2cm thick.
- Glue the strips on both ends of red paper about 2cm from the edges.
- Fold 2cm thick pleats like an accordion from edge to edge.
- After you have a strip of folded pleats, fold the paper in half.
- Glue the middle together, then open the pleats.
- Tie a ribbon around the bottom pleats, and you’re ready to use your fan for Chinese New Year.
Round paper fan
Image: Naturally Educational
- Prepare a 90cm by 12cm paper strip.
- Fold 2cm thick pleats accordion-style.
- Use a stapler to secure one end of your paper fan.
- Now glue two popsicle sticks parallel on both faces of the folded paper. With a few centimetres of the stick sticking out beyond the edge. The stapled edge of the paper should be at the top of the stick. This serves as the paper handle.
- Clip the fold & popsicle stick with a binder clip until the glue dries.
- Open the folds by the sticks, and voila! You now have a round paper fan ready to decorate your home.
2. Paper lanterns
Paper lanterns are a must-have décor piece for Chinese New Year. It’s one of the most favourite and highly-regarded Chinese ornaments. The lantern symbolises a wish for a brighter future while its red colour signifies joy and happiness. It’s easy to do and customisable. Use this DIY guide to decorate your place in no time.
What you need:
- Gold and red sheets of paper
10 easy steps:
- With your pencil, trace lines on a red sheet 2cm apart, from edge to edge.
- Cut the paper along the lines and leave 1cm of the top uncut.
- Tape the cut edge of the sheet, opposite the uncut side, with clear tape.
- Cut strips of gold paper 1cm thick and glue them on each of the bar on the red sheet to serve as accents.
- Fold the uncut edge and the taped edge of the red paper to form a crease.
- Make a paper tube using a gold paper sheet. Glue one end to the other end.
- Cover the gold paper tube with the red paper. Glue one edge of the red paper to one edge of the gold paper tube. Keep the other side loose.
- Form a balloon shape by adjusting the loose edge of the red paper.
- Cover the edges of the red paper with gold strips.
- Cut the excess gold tube at the bottom of the red balloon to make tassels.
3. Kumquat trees
Image: Pottery Barn
If you wish for a fruitful and abundant new year, decorate your doorways with mandarin or kumquat trees. A popular new year ornament, these fruit trees welcome good luck and fortune. The fruit and its colour resemble Chinese money or gold. Orange is also associated with the sun and implies uplifting spirit or positivity. It is commonly placed on both sides of the doorways.
5. Money tree with hong bao
Image: Flickr by Jimmie
If you can’t plant or buy kumquat trees to decorate your home, instead make a DIY branch money tree. Gather some dried tree branches and place them on a large vase. Use red Chinese envelopes or hong bao to decorate your money tree along with coins tied with red ribbons. You can place this DIY money tree along with some Chinese-inspired flower arrangements.
4. Lucky flowers
Match your ornamental ‘lucky trees’ with Chinese inspired flower arrangements. There are a number of flowers that bloom during Chinese New Year to choose from. Generally, they symbolise new growth, and abundance. However, each is regarded for a specific significance:
Image: Rizzoli New York
Plum blossom- This beautiful pink-purple blossom signifies endurance, perseverance and courage. Often it’s arranged along with bamboo and pine sprigs that together formed ‘The Three Friends of Winter’. It is used for wishing for strong relationships, happiness and perseverance.
Peach blossom- A bright peach blossom is highly regarded in China as the most powerful weapon against evil spirits. It symbolises longevity, growth and prosperity.
Peony- This gorgeous bloom is the symbol of love, affection and femininity. It is also called the ‘Flower of Wealth and Honour’ and believed to bring good luck and good fortune.
6. Fabric fortune cookies
Image: Let’s Go Fly a Kite
Add a modern touch to your Chinese new year decor with fabric fortune cookies. This sleek and elegant decoration by Martha Stewart makes a perfect centrepiece for your dinner table. All you need are some fabrics with festive patterns and some words of wisdom to fill your fabric fortune cookies.
7. Faux firecrackers
Image: Chinese American Family
Along with the lion and dragon dance, firecrackers take centre stage during Chinese New Year, adding a festive vibe to the celebration. Cracking noise is said to drive away bad spirits and bad luck. But if you don’t want the noise, you can make faux firecrackers. Just follow these easy steps.
What you need:
- Red and gold paper
- Gold gift ribbon and curly ribbon
- Cord or string
- Hole puncher
7 easy steps:
- Cut out 10cm by 10cm squares on a red sheet of paper.
- Cut strips of gold and glue them on the opposite edges of the red squares. You can also add more accent.
- Roll the squares to make paper tubes and glue them.
- Punch holes at one end of each tube and thread the cord through the holes of one tube.
- Place the tube at the middle of the cord and hold it with a knot.
- Add the second tube and hold it with a knot. Repeat this step with the remaining tube.
- Add some ribbons and twirls to make it more festive.
8. Fu character
Image: China Highlights
This Chinese character is commonly used to decorate windows and front doors. Fu means happiness, blessing and good luck. It’s commonly placed upside down to signify the pouring out of blessings and happiness. Print off fu templates onto a red, diamond shaped paper and hang them on your door and windows to welcome blessings and happiness.
What other decorations do you use to celebrate Chinese New Year? Let us know in the comments section below.