Interior design in the Chinoiserie style

A significant cultural shock was previously generated by the chinoiserie style, which was initially foreign and incomprehensible. However, as a result of cultural and historical interventions, Western civilisation has learned to respect Asian art and culture. They developed an interest in these “strange” cultures and started making their own interpretations of East Asian styles.

Background of Chinese art

The traditions and motifs of mediaeval Chinese art are used in the oriental style known as chinoiserie. Chinese-inspired design is known as “chinoiserie” in French.

The Dutch East India Trading Company’s trade with China and other Asian nations helped the style get its start in Europe around the end of the 17th century. The business shipped fabrics, furniture, ceramics, artwork, and a variety of other goods to Europe. The only people who could afford the pricey goods from the East were the very wealthy. But despite their high price, Europeans were drawn to Chinese items because of their creativity.

Chinese goods became so well-liked in the 18th century that it would be advantageous for European artisans to start their own production. The cost of so many products would drop, meeting demand.

European artisans quickly learned how to produce items by copying Chinese technologies, including how to lacquer furniture, create a distinctive painting on goods, and create porcelain. Over time, it was discovered that the homes may contain both genuine Eastern antiques and European objects designed in the Chinese style. A Chinese screen with traditional paintings and a European artist’s landscape picture, for instance, could be used as room decor.

Thomas Chippendale, a British cabinetmaker, was inspired to create chinoiserie and rococo furniture by Chinese furniture-making methods. The Gentleman and Cabinet-Director, Maker’s which translates to “Index for clients and cabinetmakers,” is a book he published.

Pagodas and pavilions in the Chinese style were added to the gardens of several emperors and their favourites. Also known as “tea houses,” they. The most well-known tea shop is found in Potsdam’s Sanssouci Park. In 1764, the mansion was constructed in accordance with King Frederick the Great of Prussia’s drawings.

Charles Cameron was the designer of the Chinese Blue Living Room. The formality of chinoiserie and the restraint of classicism are mixed in this room. The Chinese style is represented by blue walls with floral embellishments, big porcelain vases over the hearth, and tables. Classical motifs include the stucco moulding on the fireplace, the artwork on the door, and the gilded frame of the mirror above it.

Europeans’ view of China and the Rococo style diverged substantially from the actual Eastern traditions. Although the paintings were created in the style of Chinese artists, they depicted the lifestyle of European nobility.

Initially, craftsmen replicated Chinese objects with oriental designs. Then, individual stories were developed by European artists. The pictures occasionally deviated greatly from the rules of Chinese painting.

The popularity of chinoiserie decreased throughout the 19th century. Oriental styles other than the Chinese orientation also emerged. Egyptian and Turkish, for instance. The popularity of the Gothic style also increased during this time. And the modern style, which was avant-garde by those standards, emerged around the turn of the 19th and 20th century.

Chinoiserie in a contemporary setting

In the 20th century, chinoiserie elements were frequently employed in Art Nouveau and Art Deco designs. Chinoiserie components can take the shape of frescoes, paintings in oriental styles, combining multiple oriental interior design styles, and contrasting colour schemes. Today, it’s common to find reproductions of the 1930s and 1960s shabby chic and Hollywood regency styles, which frequently incorporate elements of chinoiserie. 

Some designers are skilled at fusing authentic Chinese artefacts with restrained classic design. This gives the area a distinctive flair and a unique vibe.

Use of chinoiserie’s defining traits in interior design

Let’s examine the characteristics of the chinoiserie style in more detail, as well as how they are used in various areas of the home.


Motives receive special consideration in style. The ornaments are asymmetrical and feature flowers and other vegetation crafted using an imitation eastern method. 

The colour scheme is strikingly different. Its signature hues include crimson, ruby, deep blue, and gold. These hues frequently contrast with the beige, soft pink, white, milky, and salad hues that are frequently employed by renowned designers.

These ornaments can incorporate pictures of exotic animals, birds, or legendary creatures from eastern cultures. As an illustration, peacocks, hummingbirds, cranes, tigers, Chinese dragons, and Chinese lions (shisha) are frequently depicted on them. Every component has a specific meaning in China. The peony represents a hope for good fortune, the dragon represents prosperity, and the shishi represents defence against naysayers.

The life of the imperial court, the weather in a lovely oriental garden, or mountainous scenery could all be themes in a painting or fresco that has an image with a specific narrative. Murals and wallpaper are frequently used to decorate living rooms and offices because elaborate ornamentation and a vibrant colour scheme look nice in large spaces. Brightly contrasted paintings can be exhausting, therefore patterns in calming pastel colours are preferable for bedrooms. In a large bathroom with hand-painted walls, you can create the sense of a tropical island.


A screen can be used to divide up space and add decoration because it serves both the purposes of furniture and panels. Chinese canons dictate that a screen must always have an even number of wings.

Screens can vary, including having several wings, being low, and having various plots. It can be used in a variety of ways, including hanging as a panel on the wall. The head of the bed can often be seen on televisions. Oriental designs can be used to embellish some contemporary closets, giving the illusion of a screen.

Ceramic vases

Porcelain vases were frequently presented as wedding presents to newlyweds because they represent peace and prosperity in the East. They were used to house oils and spices, which were items that cost as much as the vase itself.

Tea or ginger vases are other names for porcelain vases. They were frequently used as containers to ship ginger to Europe. The most common component of a chinoiserie design is tea vases. Many designers get their inspiration from the colour scheme of vases, and they paint the entire room in colours that are comparable to the vases’ colours.

The classic and most common vase painting is blue on white porcelain vases, however any color combination is acceptable. Frequently, the base of table lamps with cloth shades is made from tea jars. The vases fit in well in both the living room and the kitchen thanks to their enormous size and round form.