Are you looking to infuse some authentic Asian charm into your home? Look no further than the traditional Chinese medicine cabinet.
With roots dating back hundreds of years, this practical and beautifully crafted piece of furniture brings a touch of antique elegance to any interior.
Let's explore the fascinating tale behind these unique cabinets and share some styling tips to add a touch of Singapore Trading Post charm to your space.
The Origins of Chinese Apothecary Chests
The Chinese apothecary chest, also referred to as a medicine cabinet, has been used in China for centuries to store an array of medicines, herbal roots, and tonics.
Each chest features an array of drawers, ranging from 30 up to 100, often embellished with painted labels, which are read clockwise to identify the contents of each compartment. The drawer typically contains three to four sections, ensuring careful organization of these vital remedies.
Remarkably, these medicine chests were not only limited to apothecaries but also adorned the homes of wealthy individuals.
One notable distinction in the use of these cabinets lies in the fact that Chinese physicians traditionally conducted their business at floor level, contrary to the western practice of standing behind a counter. This tradition explains why apothecary cabinets often feature shorter legs.
Craftsmen in China commonly used elmwood to create these cabinets, a material highly regarded for its porous nature that enables it to hold coloured lacquered finishes.
Additionally, elmwood often features a captivating wave-like pattern in the grain, further adding to the appeal of these intricately designed chests.
Styling Your Chinese Medicine Cabinet with Singapore Trading Post
Now that we've delved into the rich history of these mesmerizing cabinets, here are some styling tips to seamlessly incorporate these antique pieces into your home.
Embrace a Chic Entryway: Place a Chinese medicine cabinet as a focal point in your entryway or hallway, providing a stylish space to store keys, mail, or other small everyday items. Accentuate with a mirror and some decorative pieces for a warm and inviting first impression.
Create a Unique Home Bar: Transform an apothecary chest into a sophisticated home bar, using the various compartments to store barware, glasses, and spirits. Add a tray with cocktail equipment on top, and you've got yourself an inventive and practical piece that's perfect for entertaining.
Fashion a Statement Display Case: Situate a Chinese medicine cabinet in your living area, providing storage for books, remote controls, or other living room essentials. Top the cabinet with an elegant lamp or a vase filled with fresh flowers, creating a gorgeous conversation piece.
Craft an Inspiring Home Office: Integrate an apothecary chest into your home office to store stationary, paperwork, and office supplies. Not only will this bring organization to your workspace, but it will also infuse a sense of historic charm, elevating your working environment.
Design a Serene Bedroom Sanctuary: Utilize a Chinese medicine cabinet as storage space providing a calming solution for your personal effects. Pair with a soft, ambient light and your favourite bedtime reads for a peaceful and cozy living space.
With these styling ideas in mind, we invite you to explore Singapore Trading Post's collection of Chinese medicine cabinets and other furniture options. Add a touch of history and elegance to your expat home.
Shop online or visit our store today to find the perfect apothecary chest for your living space.