I fully realize this is a category that encompasses many things. I could have very easily done “yes to faux bamboo” or “yes to ginger jars,” and I probably will in the future. But I love the whimsy of all the different pieces together so here we are: chinoiserie.
Chinoiserie is a French word that means Chinese-esque. (The French are very creative). I’ve been researching 18th century decor this year, and chinoiserie pieces pop up quite a bit, but it entered the Western design consciousness in the 17th century. Europeans attempted to recreate Chinese porcelain and wallpapers, and the result was a blending of Chinese and European styles. Lacquered tables, painted tin (tole), fretwork–these are all a result of Europeans imitating East Asian artisans.
The style eventually fell out of favor in the late 18th century, but in the 20th century designers like Dorothy Draper infused their rooms with Chinoiserie elements. Chinoiserie can have a very society feel in a formal apartment, but when mixed with mid-century pieces in modern interiors, its whimsy is in full effect.
I have at least one chinoiserie-inspired piece in every room. They add lightness and humor–there is nothing serious about faux bamboo or rattan. So if you ever find yourself with a room that feels too stuffy and formal, get thee some faux bamboo.