During last year’s trip to Milan, I came across some heavily adorned Asian-inspired wallpaper and home accessories, a collection by Gucci. Alessandro Michele has definitely given chinoiserie details a contemporary upgrade in both fashion and home decor. With a recent Eastern influence on Western aesthetics on catwalks and Gucci’s exceptionally opulent chinoiserie-inspired pieces, there is a resurgence of Eastern-inspired opulence in interiors with a modern twist.
Before we dive into the ways to dress our home creatively that is inspired by this look, let’s look at the history and origin of this style.
The term C H I N O I S E R I E comes from the French word chinois, or “Chinese.” It is the European interpretation of Asian culture and decorative arts. It first became popular in the 18th century when Europe was trading with Asia, and Chinese motifs and techniques were widely used throughout European art, furniture, and architecture. Aristocrats became enthralled with this opulent style, and chinoiserie made its appearances in the palaces of Louis XV of France and King George IV of England.
The major motifs of chinoiserie are foo dogs, dragons, pagodas, and nature scenes. Lacquered wood and faux bamboo are among the most popular materials for furnishings. In a true classical sense, chinoiserie can be very ornate and unapologetically bold. The style has several intricate details, patterns, and colours. The furniture pieces are heavily embellished with hand-painted scenes and motifs.
Chinoiserie can be way too decorative for minimalistic souls, but with a modern interpretation, you can bring eclectic and romantic aesthetics to a space. Let’s look at some ways to incorporate this style into your home.
Create visual interest by using patterned wallpapers, textiles, and ceramics in a balanced way to maintain simple aesthetics while adding a touch of glam. Chinoiserie wallpaper is truly the statement in the room. The hand-painted chinoiserie wall coverings are almost like having artwork adorn your walls. Go for a moody and whimsical pattern and keep the rest of the furnishings simple to achieve a fresh and cohesive look.
Another way to achieve a subtle yet modern chinoiserie feel is simply by adding some pillows, a rug, an upholstered sofa, or a chair in chinoiserie fabric. The minimal amount of chinoiserie decor will add visual interest without being visually overwhelming.
A touch of chinoiserie in blue-and-white ceramics is also a great way to achieve an Asian flair. Ginger jars, vases, decorative plates and bowls, or adding any classic chinoiserie accessory to your room will instantly elevate the look with a little shot of excitement that always looks classic and timeless!
Chinoiserie accents have long been considered timeless, elegant additions to any interior decor. The accents are widespread and work their beautiful, decorative magic in just about any style out there.
My top picks
Flower Market Canister
Heron Print Wallpaper
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