You may have been surrounded by it your entire life, subconsciously decorated your home with it (as I did) yet never had a clear definition of what ‘it’ is: Chinoiserie.
Chinoiserie originated in the 17th century in Europe, (the word comes from chinois, French for Chinese) and is the European interpretation of Chinese and East Asian style. Chinoiserie first appeared in interior design, furniture, pottery, porcelain and fine arts and created a surge of interest in decorative arts across Europe.
Today, chinoiserie is both a classic and a trend, and can be very ornate and bold or more subtle, natural, and fresh. It enjoys enduring appeal is because it works throughout your home, in bedrooms, halls and living rooms, adding a pretty and sophisticated element that is the definition of timeless elegance.
Adding chinoiserie into your home is simple and lifts the vibration and energy of your space immediately.
Wallpapers: Classic chinoiserie wallpaper, vibrant, full of life and colour is making a comeback after years of minimalist neutral interiors. It can be an explosion to the senses, making your living room lively. Toned down chinoiserie is more versatile, with calming colours and imagery, soft greens and blues with cherry blossoms or magnolia that work in bedrooms as well as living spaces.
Fine Art Prints: If you are reluctant to commit to wallpaper, beautiful chinoiserie art prints are for you! Versatile in size, colour, and image, you can easily shift the look of your room with one well-placed piece. Many pieces are rich in symbolism and promote good feng shui in your home, increasing your energy, joy, luck and focus.
Ceramics: Perhaps the most well-known and accessible décor item in the chinoiserie style is the gorgeous blue and white ceramic canister or ginger jar. These small and purposeful accents are both practical and beautiful additions to your home, and can be easily found at thrift stores, estate sales or online.
Textiles: An easy, comfortable update to any space is new throw cushions. By mixing your cushions in size, shape and varying your grouping with neutrals, geometric patterns and chinoiserie design you will instantly add a fresh pop of interest and colour into your room.
In my home, chinoiserie is reflected in some of our furnishings and especially in art collected from our travels. We have a chinoiserie cabinet in our entrance hall, with a pagoda and forest scene on the front panel. There are two beautiful Thai Lanna carvings, the protector Garuda who watches our entry, and a welcoming dancer in our kitchen, our social hub of the home. Paintings from my husband’s trips to Nepal adorn the living room, and our gorgeous Chinese Zodiac animals created by Chris Chun, bring good feng shui into our space. I love the interest these beautiful pieces create, how they evoke feelings of peace and harmony, and, in these days of no travel, transport me to the other side of the world.
- Karen Short