Instant Expert: Why You Need to Know What Chinoiserie Is

chinoiserie credenza
Jonathan Adler

Chinoiser-what? This hard to pronounce, say it with me: Chinoiserie (Sheen-wahz-erie), is the European styling of Chinese décor (think high lacquer, gilded and lots of blue and white pottery) that became popular with Western communities during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Go modern: Think this style is too traditional? Think again. Modern designers are taking Chinois lines and lacquering to contemporary furniture for a totally new look. Our favorite versions? High-shine dressers with sharp detailing and gold hardware or coffee tables with Ming dynasty leg detailing. Another favorite to try in your home: classic Chippendale chairs done up in a funky color or a faux bamboo style headboard.

Blend it: If you’re not ready to go all-out with your furniture, you can easily bring it into your home with little bits of modern pottery, a cool shiny jewelry box (who doesn’t need more organization?!), or even hot pink Foo dog bookends to keep your favorite reads protected in style. A little goes a long way and this trend is not only timeless and chic, it can easily be blended with other decor styles for a cohesive look that’s all you.

The Royal word: This interiors trend became the style to have, especially after the king himself, Louis XIV, brought it to Versailles.

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