I love Koreatown in the springtime…

Wherein I blog about all things Korean in Los Angeles

Home Decor November 12, 2007

Filed under: furniture & housing — Raven @ 1:46 pm

Everything I know about Korean interior decorating comes from kdramas. Well, pretty much everything. I like how mobile some Korean homes are, at least in the kdramas: you can pick up the bedding and put it away, you can pick up the table and carry it around. The same space becomes so much more multi-functional. It’s way more practical than having a bunch of heavy furniture that mostly just takes up space (although that seems to be what the richer folks in the kdramas prefer). Too bad I didn’t decorate my apartment Korean-style.

Speaking of which, I was recently at KCC and took a stroll through their exhibit on Korean history, which included a full-size model of a sarangbang (์‚ฌ๋ž‘๋ฐฉ), the room used by the man of the house (I’m soooo tempted to translate it “lovenest,” but I know that’s not what it means). I could totally live in a room like this:


Here’s another view of it. Despite the different lighting, both pictures were taken at the same time with the same camera, just on different settings. Nobody told me I couldn’t take pictures, so I snapped away. Granted, I looked around first to make sure nobody was watching. ๐Ÿ™‚


This type of simple decor is very appealing, I think, and it’s probably very feng shui, too (this is LA, you know I had to bring up feng shui). Now to see if I can modify my apartment to look like this…


13 Responses to “Home Decor”

  1. youngkim Says:

    How many pyongs is that?

    Koreans measure room size by pyong. I don’t actually know what a pyong is.

  2. Raven Says:

    20 pyongs.

    Actually I have no idea what a pyong is either, but I’m going to stand by 20 until proven wrong. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. JT Says:

    Hi there,

    Nice blog! We were having a discussion on Ask a Korean on plastic surgery….

    As for how large the room is… well, lol… 20 pyong is way off! One pyong is about 36 square feet. Judging by the pics (it’s hard to determine precisely the width of the space) I would say that room is 360 square feet maximum. That would make the room 10 pyong. I hope L.A. is bright and warm!


  4. Raven Says:

    Hey JT, glad you found your way over here!

    And oops, looks like I’ve been proven wrong! I meant 10, really I did. ๐Ÿ™‚

    LA has been unseasonably warm the past day or so. And today was a beautiful sunny day. I keep wondering if it’s actually going to rain this winter.

  5. JT Says:

    Right, sure you did… lol… as for feng shui, you’re definitely right about the old Korean nobility incorporating elements of feng shui in their large country homes. In Korean, feng shui is called “poong soo chi ri”. “Poong” means wind and “Soo” means water. Chi ri is a reference to geography.

    The rich Korean nobles of yesteryear, the yangban, traditionally divided their homes into male and female quarters. The male quarters always incorporated the eastern side of the house while the female quarters took up the west. Ideally, there would be running water in front of the house and a large mountain behind it. Also, most houses were built with a southern exposure, as the south is considered an auspicious direction. One last note, building schemes in Korea tend to be very monotonous because a great many of the houses and tall apartment buildings face south, leaving little room for variety and interplay of architectural structures.

    Sorry if that was too much information!

    By the way, I went to school in Southern Cali, so I know how the rain situation can be. Have a good one! Lunch break is almost over!

  6. Raven Says:

    No need to apologize, that’s fascinating information!

    If the houses and apartment buildings tend to face south, I guess you can’t really end up with what we in the west think of a neighborhood street. I mean, if all the houses face the same direction, they can’t face each other. Or do the houses tend to be in gardens behind gates, so the gardens might face each other along the streets but the houses themselves wouldn’t face each other?

    Now I’m going to be attuned to this while I’m watching kdramas.

  7. JT Says:

    The residential neighborhoods that we’re familiar with here in the US–rows of houses that overlook onto a common street–don’t exist in Korea. People in the bigger cities mostly live in high rises although a few of the extremely wealthy–as you must have seen from K-dramas–exist in houses behind high walls. And yes, many of the apartment buildings that are built in self-contained complexes DO face in one direction.

    So where do people socialize then? Traditionally, the marketplace was, and in many smaller towns continues to be, the place to meet. Comparatively speaking, Koreans do little entertaining at home (the home is the place for the family, not outsiders) and tend to meet friends and acquaintances at coffee shops or bars or restaurants (as you must have also seen from all those k-dramas!)

    Raven, you MUST go to Korea. I think you’d appreciate it a lot! I can’t believe you’re not Korean… lol…

  8. Raven Says:

    Yup, I’ve seen a lot of coffee shops, bars and restaurants in kdramas, as well as some in real life.

    While watching an episode of Dae Jang Geum this afternoon I was wondering if the buildings in the herb garden were facing south…

    I’d love to go to Korea, but I won’t let myself go until I’m able to communicate in Korean better. Right now if it doesn’t involve saying hi, I love you, I’m sorry, excuse me, sit down, or good-bye, I’m kind of out of luck!

  9. JT Says:

    LMAO, Raven… it seems like you’ve mastered all the important Korean at any rate!

    Raven: Hi!
    Chul Soo: Hi!
    Raven: I love you!
    Chul Soo: I’m sorry?
    Raven: Excuse me…
    Chul Soo: Sit down…
    Raven: Good bye!!!

  10. JT Says:

    OMG… you know, I just read your profile and learned that you became a fan of things Korean from watching My Sassy Girl! I interpreted for the lead actress Jeon Ji Hyun when she gave an interview to the Singaporean media in Korea. A bunch of reporters and photographers and writers made a BIG fuss over her since the movie was very popular throughout Asia. Anyway… I got to sit next to her for close to an hour and have coffee and cakes and what not. She was striking in person and the consummate professional! There, now I have to be your best friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Raven Says:

    You’re definitely my best friend. That’s awesome! She has such range. I loved her in Il Mare, too (although that one didn’t make me cry until the second viewing). It’s such a different character you’d never guess it was the same actress as in MSG (well, except that she has the same appearance).

    BTW, the Korean dialogue you came up with up above cracked me up!

  12. William Parr Says:

    One pyong = 1 chok and 1 chok is ~30cm

    There is also one other measurement you may like to know this is the Kan.

    The Kan can range from 6-10 chok (180 cm-300cm).

    The length of a Kan varies greatly due to government restrictions on the size of a home during the Chosลn dynasty.

    During this time a homes size was dependent upon you class ranking and thus you were only permitted to have a home of a certain size and was measured in Kan.

    In order to get around these restrictions the length of a Kan was gradually increased over time in order to build a larger home.

  13. Raven Says:

    Cool info. Thanks for posting!

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