With their exquisitely detailed scenes of colourful birds nestled among the blossom of cherry trees, or of elegant Chinese ladies fanning themselves beside a bubbling stream, rich and lustrous chinoiserie wallpapers were once the preserve of palaces and stately homes. Today, these wallpapers are as likely to adorn the walls of metropolitan apartments and suburban terraces. Chinoiserie (from ‘Chinois’ French for Chinese and meaning ‘decorated in a Chinese style’) is a look that has captivated our imaginations for over 300 years, and as the current trend for the wallpaper and other pieces such as ceramic birds, blue-and-white china and lacquered boxes and furniture shows, it is one that is still going strong today.
Discover how to celebate Eastern elegance in your own home with these 7 tips.
An eye-catching wallpaper in soft tones of blue and green can be used to great effect, creating a soothing backdrop for an assortment of oriental ceramics in complementary shades
Update your shelving with a subtle chinoiserie-style wallpaper, perfect for offsetting your collection of fine china
Green and pink are a classic chinoiserie combination. A soft metallic sheen to the wallpaper, seen close up, gives the dining room an extra-sophisticated look, without being over-dramatic.
Make an eye-catching display by mixing your best and most decorative pieces together, juxtaposing large and small
Painted birds feature heavily in chinoiserie design. Add a modern bird-print cushion, a huge palm plant and a quirky sculpture to stop it feeling too traditional
If the budget won't stretch to the beautiful handmade silk panels, display a fabric-printed wall hanging instead
Combine large and small patterns to bring a chinoiserie-inspired scheme up to date. Here, hand-blocked prints are intermingled with geometrics of varying degrees and a simple, oversized oriental wallpaper
The full feature on decorating with chinoiserie appeared in the May 2017 issue of Homes & Antiques.
Photographs: Katya De Grunwald Styling: Anna Malhomme de la Roche