I love Chinoiserie–but some of you may have no idea what I am talking about, so, at the risk of boring you to tears, let me explain (and maybe I will convince you to love it as much as I do!). Chinoiserie comes from the French word “Chinois” which means Chinese. It was a popular decorative arts style in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. During that time, trade was booming between Europe and Asia, and the Europeans were interested in Asian culture and began to produce their own Asian-inspired art and furnishings. Chinoiserie is still very popular in decorating today, and many traditional-style rooms use Chinoiserie inspired elements.
Asian elements often used in decorating Chinoiserie themed rooms include pagodas, sculptures of foo dogs (those fierce looking lions that are used for protection), bamboo furnishings, blue and white Chinese ceramics like ginger jars, scenes from gardens and nature, images of birds, exotic animals and dragons, scenes from everyday life, and lacquered wood furniture.
Here are some rooms inspired by Chinoiserie.
In the foyer above, notice the nature-themed wallpaper, the pagoda on the top of the mirror, the blue and white vases, and the Asian-inspired table design.
In the entryway above, the wall panels featuring birds in a garden, faux bamboo gold table lamps, blue and white ceramics, and the Asian inspired ceiling light fixture are all Chinoiserie elements.
Asian elements in the dining room pictured above include the white lacquered bamboo chairs, the white ginger jars on the table, the bamboo shades, and the lamps on the sideboard.
This is quite a cheerful and colorful dining room! The dragon upholstery on the lacquered bamboo chairs, the wallpaper, the pink pagoda chandelier, and the ceramics on the mantel are all Chinoiserie features.
Intricate Chinese scenes adorn the black highboy dresser shown above, and the collection of blue and white china is very pretty on top. This room is a lovely mix of traditional and Chinoiserie.
There is an abundance of interesting Asian elements in this dramatic and colorful living room: yellow foo dog sculptures, bamboo coffee table, elephant and orchid on the table, leopard print pillow, and pagoda light fixture. Red is a common color in Asian design, and this room plays on that with its bold shades of hot pink, eggplant walls, and red accessories.
Here, we see wallpaper featuring plant images and a blue and white ceramics collection–and that red chest is something, too!
So, what do you think of Chinoiserie?
header image from Town and Country Living magazine April 2016, styled by Parker Kennedy Living