Sunday, January 22, 2023

Decorating In Modern Chinoiserie Style

There are those who like the serenity of Asian inspired décor with it's balance and soothing neutrals. And then there are the rest of you who like your Chinoiserie to include bold colors, whimsy, and a taste for the exotic. This blog post about Modern Chinoiserie is dedicated to you!

Chinoiserie, from the french word that literally means ‘chinese-esque’, is being discovered and embraced by a new generation. This Modern Chinoiserie is being seen in contemporary spaces everywhere. Although the style is especially associated with the 18th century, the following present-day rooms being demanded by Grandmillennials embrace a similar mixture of East and West. The allure of this exotic style is as strong as ever and this modern take on an old classic still continues to be exhilarating.

If you want to be part of the resurgence, remember modern Chinoiserie is edgy and eclectic, mixing elements in a juxtaposition of old and new. And if you are looking for a style to have fun with, Modern Chinoiserie may be just the ticket.

 The Grandmillennial style empowers a homeowner to reflect their personality. The fact that it allows such individuality is why this trend has become so very popular. The modern elements that Modern Chinoiserie style brings to a traditional interior makes it exciting and fresh, something Grandmillennials demand from their interiors.

Design Legacy Mandarin Dragons

Characterized by several key motifs, including Chinese figures, fantastical landscapes, dragons, pagodas, and romantic florals, Modern Chinoiserie patterns in fabric and wallpaper still follow the traditional elements of this enduring classic. The colors are still bright and bold and now the fabric is showing up more on painted and distressed chairs as well as the typical lacquered variety. 

In the past Chinoiserie was used in more traditional homes but now we see it being used in conjunction with more modern looks. Here the classic chrysanthemum pattern is being presented in a fresh way on the ottoman. Metallic painted garden seats also give the room a more modern feel. Leaving walls and window treatments plain will ensure a look that retains the glamour glamor of Chinoiserie but feels thoroughly current.

Modern Chinoiserie is exceptionally adaptable and almost effortless to work with when incorporating other styles.

Whether you’re saturating your whole space....

Charlotte Moss via
......or simply embellishing your room with Oriental accessories and art, Modern Chinoiserie style is the ultimate style for versatility.

Of course blue and white Chinese export porcelain has always played an important role in Chinoiserie decor. And it is no stranger to Modern Chinoiserie. 

Blue and white Chinese export vases, ginger jars, planters, and plates will definitely create a visual feast in your home.

However You needn’t be limited by just ceramics. There are many wonderful Chinoiserie inspired prints, cushions, accessories, furniture, and wallpaper available today offering a timeless elegance that is chic and sophisticated enough to create a modern Chinoiserie look.

In the Modern Chinoiserie styled room one colorful piece like this ottoman and elements like the lacquered sofa and chair frames is enough to set the stage. Rather than going overboard with a variety of Chinoiserie-inspired pieces, begin with a strong patterned fabric and build your room around it.

 If you don't want plain walls colorful, exotic wallpapers provide for a fun play on patterns.

Make sure you keep it colorful but don't get stuck on traditional Chinese colors when there are so many great color combinations to choose from that lend to the look. Fretwork wallpaper is a good choice for Modern Chinoiserie interiors.

Timothy Whealon Inc.

Typically, Chinoiserie wallpapers are full of bright colors, often accented with black. However, these modern choices can also accomplish the same elegant look with tone on tone or softer colors.

In the past there was more layering of Oriental accessories and pattern. Modern Chinoiserie rooms don’t have to be busy because the look is more eclectic and crisp than before. 

Wallpapers in new colorways are great at incorporating an exotic influence to interiors.

Modern Chinoiserie will still benefit from the use of Chinese panels. These are usually hand painted Chinese wallpaper and they look great over sofas or beds. Also use your painted and distressed furniture alongside lacquered, more streamlined versions.

Modern Chinoiserie style is still glamorous but the sense of luxury it conveys is less formal than interiors from the past.

Traditionally busy walls meets more streamline modern styling in this living room. A stylish mirrored table richly layered with Chinese accessories helps marry culture to contemporary design.

 Chinoiserie decor is a charming way to instantly add a sense of history and travel to a present day room.

Southern homeowners love Chinoiserie! The south has a long history with this exotic and historic style as more imported goods from China and the Orient entered the colonies through Charleston, SC than through any other seaport in the country.

A blend of traditional Eastern motifs and graphic patterns will create a coordinated look for a Modern Chinoiserie space. A few striking upholstered pieces or a rug in bold pattern will do the trick.

I love the 60's sputnik chandelier used alongside more ancient motifs like the fish and antique porcelain plates depicted in the wallpaper. This is what Modern Chinoiserie is all about.....a playful mix!

Chinoiserie was a favored design element during the Rococo period. You now see rooms that still incorporate Chinoiserie elements with French furnishings like these chairs and the Louis XV mantle. However, today all is wonderfully mixed with contemporary furniture and art.

decorator unknown but source of toile covered chair is

In a reaction to the minimalism trend that has been so prevalent, there is now a return to glamorous, colorful interiors. As designers embrace luxury and pattern, Chinoiserie has once again become a trend. If you don't want to be overwhelmed, the trick is to decorate with fabrics and furniture that use ornate motifs sparingly. This room is a great example of Modern Chinoiserie.

People tell me they like the light-hearted, playful feel of a Chinoiserie styled interior. If this wonderful, sunny fabric doesn't make you smile, nothing can.

The trend for scenic wallpapers and murals has helped push this decorating theme.

The lacquered bamboo chair is as popular in Modern Chinoiserie styling as it was decades ago.You can't go wrong with one of these.

Chuck Fischer Studio for 2012 Kips Bay. photo: Trevor Tondro for The New York Times

A small touch of Chinoiserie can make even the smallest corner come to life with its nature inspired patterns and gorgeous colors.

Eclectic Modern Chinoiserie interiors might even incorporate animal prints like leopard......

or tiger.

One thing that will really help you in pulling off the Modern Chinoiserie look for your interior spaces is learning some of the key design elements for this style. Here a cherry blossom covered headboard that is reminiscent of Chinese panels and a fan collection invoke the feeling of the Orient.

Chinese panels are perfectly suited to inspire the color palette in any Modern Chinoiserie room. Adding in some Orient inspired wallpaper lends an air of elegance to modern interiors. Pink and yellow seems to be a popular choice for a Modern Chinoiserie color palette.

via Pinterest

Chinoiserie is a charmingly exotic decorating style and I am delighted that being reinterpreted in fresh materials, pattern, and colorways, is making it as relevant today as it was centuries ago.


This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I will be glad to correct it.

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