Classically Elegant Chinoiserie

Chinoiserie. chi•noi•se•rie (shen'wäz-re') A French term, signifying "Chinese-esque", a creative melange of curiously Eastern elements infused with old world sensibilities, paying homage to Oriental influences but expressed with an undeniable European spirit. The popularity of Chinoiserie peaked around the middle of the 18th century. The earliest appearance of a major Chinoiserie interior scheme was in Louis Le Vau’s Trianon de porcelaine, built for Louis XIV at Versailles. The fad spread rapidly and no court residence, especially in Germany, was complete without it's Chinese room. It declined when it seemed to European eyes the very antithesis of neoclassicism. 

Chinoiserie has made a comeback since the late 20th century. However it seems to be one of those design styles you either love or hate. For those of you who find it exquisite, enjoy some of my favorite examples of this particular design style.

Enjoy as you view the images.

This beautiful dining room is papered in a luxurious aqua Chinoiserie paper. Chippendale furniture was widely used to decorate oriental inspired rooms so these chairs are perfection.

I love this room from floor to ceiling. It is a fabulous mix of colors and pattern.

I love the punch of coral in this gorgeous Chinoiserie room. Once again the Chippendale camel back sofa works so well in this room.

The interesting thing about Chinoiserie is the tremendous range and variety of Oriental scenes and fantastical decorative details – Chinese people in elaborate robes with coolie hats, long pigtails and mustaches.

An example of a yellow Chinoiserie vase.

This interior was created by Gerald Vann Underwood for a showcase home in Atlanta, Georgia. I love the delicate bamboo border at the bottom of the wall and the top border with it's Moorish influence.

A wonderful oriental inspired mirror.

What most people don’t realize about Chinoiserie is that the style doesn’t come from China at all. As trade spread around the globe and Europe’s economy matured, more people could afford decorative goods. To keep up with demand for more ornate works, artisans created designs that were pure fantasy. Chinoiserie decoration has the unique feature of combining real elements with fantasy.

More pretty wall paper!!

Fretwork is common in Chinoiserie style. This bed's headboard is a great example.

A Chinoiserie section of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent's Paris apartment. Harlequin floors are also gorgeous with Chinoiserie.

Most Chinoiserie wallpapers feature beautiful birds.

Pagodas, tassels, and porcelain gives the design relevance even today.

Michael J. Dute' is the designer behind this fabulous Chinoiserie room.

Famille Rose pattern of Chinese porcelain.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, as tourists and traders ventured eastward, a fascination with all things Asian swept Europe. Inspired by travelers' sketchbooks and imported porcelain and lacquerware, designers layered their furniture, interiors, and ceramics with fantastical Chinese imagery.

Over the top Chinoiserie !!!

Wallpaper is a great way to add just a touch of Chinoiserie to a room.

A beautiful example of a lacquered and painted secretary. Sometimes one piece in a room can bring the subtle Chinoiserie feel you are looking for.

Chinoiserie also has the unique ability to look right at home with many different decorating styles.

You can find many oriental accessories similar to this mirror in most home decor stores.

Ebony and of the Chinoiserie style.

In the nineteenth century, entire rooms were created by the wealthy in the Chinese style, or “japanned” with lacquered paintings on the walls. These rooms were used to show off collections of exotic porcelains, and as elaborate stage sets for fancy dinner parties.

One of the most popular accessories in a Chinoiserie room is the screen.

A tapestry is another great way to being a small dose of this style into your interiors.

The style incorporates fanciful imagery of trees, and birds. Many times the background is burnished metallic.

I love the fretwork under the chair rail.

Various European monarchs, such as Louis XV of France, gave special favor to Chinoiserie, as it blended well with the other styles. Now as then, an exotic accent archives the same desired effect. Chinoiserie definitely brings worldly sophistication to a space.

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