Expert Tips to Prepare Your Home for CNY

Attract good fortune with these helpful hints—from spring cleaning to home styling.

Updated on January 30, 2018 11:01 am

Jerni Camposano

Cromly asked interior designers and decorators, home stylists, and a feng shui expert for tips on how to spruce up the home to welcome the new year.

Spring Cleaning

It's been a tradition for families to give their home a thorough cleaning before ringing in the New Year. For the Chinese, it signifies clearing the home of bad luck.

1. Throw away all empty containers.

Sharon Fong, principal geomancer at Circle 96 LLP, advises homeowners to take this opportunity to clean up their spaces. "This is because empty containers are yin. Houses that are too yin cannot gather wealth," she says. "Hoarders are not rich folks and rich folks don't hoard."

This minimalist HDB flat in Dover is devoid of clutter.

2. Go the minimalist route.

Chinese New Year is also the best time to adopt the minimalist approach to living, suggests Keith Ng of The Minimalist Society. "Minimalism is all about simplicity and essence. It also advocates the absence of clutter. Everything that can be stored should be stored and out of sight. Imagine a home with less stuff—it creates a calming effect for you and your guests. Cleaning is simple too, and promotes lesser time and energy spent in house chores. "

3. Refresh your space by rearranging furniture pieces or creating new cosy corners.

"The smallest change can make a big difference sometimes. Go through existing decorative items and reconsider finding new placements for furniture. Creating a new cosy corner or updating the living room can refresh any space in the house," muses Melissa Anne Kow, design director at Design Collective Studio.

CNY Decors

After getting rid of clutter and anything that is not pleasing to the eyes, it's time to display the decorations and create a festive mood.

Pussy willows help create that CNY mood in your home. Photo courtesy of Egg3

1. Play up the floral theme.

According to home stylist Mike Tan of Haus of Egg3, pussy willows provide any space with a CNY-ready mood.

2. Liven up your entryway with kumquat or peach blossom stalks.

Shane Ng of One Stop Builders suggests using festive plants with a dash of CNY decor—potted plants like kumquat or a standing vase filled with peach blossom stalks are sure-fire ways to beautify your entryway.

Accents in Chinoiserie style can also create a festive mood. Photo courtesy of Audrey Lee

3. Go non-traditional with your accessories.

Interior designer Audrey Lee of Audrey Lee Interiors says it's fine to be non-traditional with the Chinese New Year decors. You can still stay true to the occasion by using accessories that sport Chinoiserie style (the European interpretation and imitation of Chinese and East Asian artistic traditions).

4. Do not purchase any CNY decors with animals or Chinese zodiac.

Feng shui expert Sharon warns, "Every animal represents one of the five elements. Hence to avoid complications, we suggest you buy decor without animals."

Did you know you could DIY some of your decors like pineapple, Golden Monkey King, and Chinese lanterns?

5. Get crafty through DIY decors.

Shane furthers, "Do not be afraid to DIY. Handcrafting your own decor will create conversation pieces with your visitors and also make your CNY experience more personal." Some DIY ideas include pineapple, monkey king, and Chinese lanterns.

Home Styling to Welcome Guests

Bai Nian remains to be an important activity in the celebration of CNY. People go around visiting relatives and friends' homes to wish them a Happy New Year. Welcome loved ones to your stylish homes with these tips.

Flowers in bright golden hues liven up this space. Photo courtesy of Audrey Lee

1. Inject touches of gold.

Audrey suggests displaying gold accents on the table as they lend a touch of luxury to a traditional reunion dinner. Also, blooms in bright golden hues add cheer to any space.

Red and gold colour combo for the Chinese New Year. Photo courtesy of Arete Culture

2. Stick to one or two main colour themes.

"Playing up colours is the best way to celebrate CNY. However, don't go crazy," cautions Mike. "Punch out with gold or red accents for that CNY touch."

3. Style the dining table.

Families gather round the dining table for the festivities, so it's essential to keep this part of your home picture-perfect. To create a strong statement, try using geometric printed runner in red and white.

Caroline Chin-Geyler of Arete Culture suggests, "Use tall pussy willows in an oversized, textured vase for a more modern feel. A metal vase is a good idea, as it will lend an industrial feel to conventional Chinese decor. Add hanging Chinese knotted ornaments to the pussy willows and finish with white pebbles from the garden. To avoid clutter, make sure to corral the vase and pebbles in a tray. Add mandarin oranges, or for an extra luxe touch, you can also spray paint the white pebbles gold."

Beautiful orchids are also a nice way to welcome guests to your home. Photo courtesy of Arete Culture

4. Display an elegant centrepiece in the entryway or living room.

Caroline advises creative ways to create a centrepiece: beautiful orchids (preferably in soft pink, vivid fuchsia, or a yellow-and-pink combo) in a pot or displayed on a round tray, accentuated with inexpensive embroidered red silk bags from the market, mandarin oranges (always display in pairs for good luck), and gold ingot chocolate.

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

How are you prepping your home for CNY? Share with us at

Cover photo courtesy of Egg3


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