Style success stories: Chinoiserie
Chinoiserie gained popularity in the 18th-century when people wanted to bring scenes from the exotic, far-flung Orient into their homes. Originating from the French 'chinois', meaning Chinese, as the trend grew, designs were created closer to home and the style became increasingly Westernised. Today we use the term to describe a European decorative style which is a fusion of Eastern and Western design, inspired by, and imitating the art and design of China, Japan and other Asian countries.
Above: Harlequin x Diane Hill
This room is a homage to Chinoiserie influences and is styled from the collaboration with fashion-forward design house Harlequin and artist Diane Hill. From her London studio, Diane Hill’s talents and love of ancient Chinese design erupted across social media during lockdown, catching the Harlequin team’s eye, and the subsequent collaboration was announced. Diane’s unique, colourful work is both beautiful and excitingly fresh, her artwork capturing the spirit of individuality and introducing a modern take to traditional chinoiserie influences.
Bold, whimsical nature scenes with birds, butterflies and rambling floral motifs are most recognised as the ‘Chinoiserie’ style favoured by Europeans for wallpapers and panels, which were often hand-painted and expensive. Named after the Eurasian rose with prickly stems, fragrant leaves and bright pink flowers, ‘Eglantine’ is designed in this classic style and works perfectly to blend the traditional and contemporary in this light-filled city apartment.
Taken from our Exclusive collaboration with Sanderson and chosen for its dramatically dark base, this wallpaper is shown to dramatic effect in a contemporary kitchen. We love how this maximalist wallpaper has been used around the room, to fill in the void areas and add stylistic interest to the otherwise monochrome finish. The pastel coloured accessories take their lead from the pink in the flowers and further subdue the scheme.
This classic Chinoiserie has been coloured with the vibrancy of an original work of art and the colour coordinated woodwork acts as the perfect ‘frame’. Choosing colour for trims will always elevate the overall scheme. Picking out a green shade here is calming, whereas matching the red or yellow, for example, would have created more drama. Curated paint colours are key to the finished look.
We are obsessed with large-scale murals! Nothing makes a style statement like a whole wall design with the capacity to transport us into another world that seems to stretch beyond the confines of the space.
This oversized chinoiserie-inspired design perfectly demonstrates the power of the scenic wall.
The delicacy of artwork in Chinoiserie, coupled with the theme of delicate floral branches adorned with birds of paradise lends itself perfectly to feminine decorating schemes. This dressing room is designed to make anyone feel beautiful, with its soft colourway, textural accessories and simple vase of fresh flowers. Smaller spaces such as this, with four-wall wallpaper schemes, create an immersive and enveloping ambience, and the opportunity for a little luxury amongst daily life.
‘Hermosa’ (‘beautiful’ in Spanish) lends itself to styling with a Bohemian take on the Chinoiserie trend. The confident backdrop serves the room well for layering with artwork, lamps and bold textiles. The emphasis is on making the space feel relaxing and comfortable, with surprising little corners of joy.
When you want to go all-in with maximalism, bold colour clashes are crucial to the aesthetic of excess. To keep the look styled (rather than mad!) a great way to provide some order is to break up the walls with panelling. There are loads of demos online to show how to apply fake panelling in your home. Here’s House Beautiful’s guide to DIY the trend.
More like this…
More Chinoiserie choice……
We love the authentic look of this hand-painted style mural wall. The first Chinese wallpapers into Europe were supplied in numerous sets of pieces, each different in design, which would be hung to form a continuous mural decoration around the room. Here, bringing the sofa into the room encourages the focus of attention onto the main stylistic event happening on the wall.
Whimsical multidirectional florals adorn this fabric with both a contemporary and period style. Taken from a beautiful archive design, the vibrant colour and slightly textured appearance brings this velvet design to life. Coordinating wallpaper available.