Want a quick way to add a charming, exotic look to your décor? Look no further than Chinoiserie. Kripa Kataria & Pearl Mathias tell you more about how to incorporate the chic trend at home
The flair of Chinoiserie décor remains just as relevant in modern design, having gained popularity during the French Rococo period in the early 18th century and in the court of Louis XV. The trick is to decorate with fabrics and furniture that use ornate motifs sparingly, so that they don’t overwhelm the space. Chinoiserie décor instantly adds a touch of history and an old-world charm to a room and all it takes is a few striking pieces to add a sophisticated flair to your interiors. But, before you begin, here are a few ways to incorporate the elaborate style into your home.
ELEMENTS OF CHINOISERIE
To distinguish Chinoiserie from attractive furniture of different cultures, you should look for a few elements that have been incorporated with symbols borrowed from nature and the mythological stories of China.
The sweeping lines of the roofs of Chinese pagodas were incorporated into a wide range of Chinoiserie objects. Thick door frames with beads hanging down to the floor or wood-panelled windows with opaque glasses, beds with huge pagoda tops and see-through drapes are some essential elements of Chinoiserie-themed interiors.
Chinese and Japanese dragons summed up all that was strange and wonderful about the East. These mythical beasts have become common Chinoiserie motifs. Dragon doorknobs with oversized loops are a huge hit in restaurants and add a touch of ethnic luxury to an artsy space.
Curling ends transforming into cherry blossoms, fine roots, buds and leaves are basic elements in traditional Chinese artistry. However, it is not bound to these elements alone. As Chinoiserie is incorporated in modern day décor, several changes have been made to modernise and convert traditional elements to more subtle styles.
MODERN DAY CHINOISERIE
If you’re looking to incorporate chinoiserie into modern day interiors, here are a few tips you could use.
Play it safe
If you’re not sure about unleashing the hidden dragon (if you want to stay a little Yin and still go a wee bit Yang), remember that hidden details are a saviour! “Pastel colours are a good representation of Chinoiserie. The designs are often asymmetrical and have a touch of East Asian culture,” says Monika Doshi, creative director at luxury home brand, Anna Simona. Pastel colours set a subtle mood for the room. Embroidered pastel cushion covers and drapes are a great way to enhance a light-coloured room with these minimal interiors.
Small things count
If you want to make a statement with abundant details in a room, you can opt for Chinoiserie cutlery. With print detail as fine as needles and pins on spoons, tea cups and dinner plates, you are sure to get compliments at your Diwali get-togethers, as these detailed porcelain perfections bring a different level of sophistication.
Lay it out
Since the 17th century, blue and white Chinese porcelain has been coveted by collectors. Some of it is still crafted and painted by hand. Chinoiserie vases, pots and relics are a great way to add that special something to a showcase or an antique cupboard in your home.
Keep it colourful
Chinoiserie wallpaper, cupboards and side tables are some of the most popular products in the market. The wallpaper usually consists of flora and fauna that is hand painted or printed along with the ancient traditional pagoda-roofed Chinese houses. Some of the prints include peacocks, dragons and women dressed in Hanfu (the traditional Chinese dress) on an otherwise plain background.
WHAT WE LOVE
Crafted cushion covers
We love the pastel work on these cushion covers from Anna Simona for Rs 1,999 to Rs 2,500, which transport us to a calm, breezy afternoon in a park. Add them to your décor to accentuate the minimalistic styles and shades in your home.
This beautiful Craftghar Pottery Set for Rs 7,366 from Fab Furnish has rich, elegant work. Use this dainty set for dinner parties.
Sip in style
This Chinoiserie serving set with dainty flowers, priced at Rs 735 from Sweetcouch, will lift the mood of a space instantly and make you feel like you’re part of British High Tea.
Beauty in black
Who said Chinoiserie was restricted to blue hues? We absolutely love this gold hand-painted Chinoiserie lamp by Besselink & Jones from Polyvore (price on request). The intricate work isn’t too catchy, but is elegant.