In recent years we’ve seen a resurgence of a popular style and fabric pattern: Chinoiserie. Chinoiserie is a unique and beautiful decor style that has been popular for centuries. It’s inspired by Chinese art and culture, and when used in the home, it has a luxurious, slightly traditional look and feel. Most recently, you’ve probably spotted it in the “Grandmillennial” style spaces that took over Instagram a few years back.
What is Chinoiserie?
Chinoiserie (pronounced “sheen-wah-seh-ree”) is an elegant style of decorating that originated in Europe during the 18th century, but is heavily influenced by Asian decorative arts. The term “Chinoiserie” comes from the French word “chinois” which means “Chinese.” This look was seen as a luxurious decor style and often paired with rococo designs of the time in Europe. Chinoiserie design adorned the residences of monarchs and aristocrats in the 17th and 18th centuries, including the palace of Louis XIV of France and King George IV of England.
Chinoiserie Furniture and Decor Elements
Chinoiserie furniture typically features intricate carvings, motifs inspired by nature (such as birds or florals), bright colors, and gilded accents. Lacquered wood and faux bamboo are often associated with chinoiserie furniture. Thomas Chippendale, a well-known 18th century furniture maker, was a fan of this intricate style, and you can still find chinoiserie Chippendale-style furniture today.
Often we see this chinoiserie furniture and decor in living rooms, but this style can be added to any room in your home or apartment. Ceramics are an easy way to bring this element into a space —you’ve probably seen modern interpretations of those blue and white patterned chinoiserie-inspired jars and vases. Today, you can find affordable reproductions at most furniture stores. Alternatively, chinoiserie-style upholstery, like our Jade and Mint Cherry Blossom prints, are a great way to add a pop of pattern to your home.
How to Add Chinoiserie to Your Home
In addition to decor and upholstery, chinoiserie wallpaper can be used to create an eye-catching look in any room. Hand-painted varieties by brands like De Gournay or Gracie are perfect examples of beautiful chinoiserie-style wallpaper, and are a favorite among interior designers. If you’re looking for a more cost effective way to get the look, try The Inside’s Jade Cherry Blossom Wallpaper.
Another great way to incorporate chinoiserie into your home is through screens. Screens (or room dividers as we often call them) are great for studio apartments or open floor plan homes to create separation between “rooms.” Room dividers can also function as fun pin boards for home offices, libraries, or craft spaces — try a matching desk chair for an enviable Zoom backdrop!
Chinoiserie decor style has been around for centuries but it still remains popular today because of its timeless beauty and elegance. Adding a touch of chinoiserie will help elevate any interior design project. So don’t hesitate – go ahead and start incorporating this classic decor style into your home today.