When designing a room in your home, it can be difficult to know how to add bursts of personality or interest. Especially, because finding something unique that also fits with current trends can be a difficult balance to get right! Chinese Decorative Arts can be brilliant pieces for this balance. They have a timeless elegance but are not readily available in high street stores. If you’re not sure how they could fit into your home, here are 5 tips of how to seamlessly integrate them into your interior design.

But first, why Chinese Interior Design?

The beauty of Chinese Decorative Arts lays in its distinctive designs, shapes and colours. The figures on famille verte pottery or the colours in blue and white designs are immediately recognisable as Chinese. Our ability to identify them so readily, is because of the long tradition of using Chinese pieces in western interior design. Since the 17th Century, Chinese porcelain especially has been highly prized in Europe. The origins of the craze for ‘white gold’ is said to have begun over 400 years ago when a Dutch ship raided a Portuguese ship of Ming Porcelain in 1603.

Chinese Art’s popularity did not subside. In the 1850s and 1860s you get what is known as ‘Chinamania’ in Britain following the Aestheticism movement. The pieces become a standard piece of interior accessorising, with sideboards, cabinets and sometimes whole rooms dedicated to the display of Chinese art. In fact, contemporary designers celebrate this art, for example PPG’s colour of 2021 is Chinese Porcelain.   

Read more about the History of Collecting Antiquities

An 1886 British interior featuring Chinese Art, from At Home again Verses [Illustrated by] J G Sowerby and T Crane © British Library Board, F60087-06

TIP 1 – Add Softness to a Bathroom or Kitchen

Styling bathrooms and kitchens can be difficult, as they’re messy spaces that we use daily. Especially, making them feel more personal and less clinical can be hard. Unlike any other room, you cannot simply add soft furnishings, as they would be dangerous or impractical! Therefore, the shine of porcelain and its intricate natural designs become useful. They add a sophisticated and softness, as well as a focal point, to these well-loved spaces. Finally, being ceramic vessels, they can also have a practical purpose – such as storing cosmetics or tea or being used as a vase.

chinese interior design, porcelain in a kitchene
Lot 156 – Use in a Kitchen – Photographed by the Pax Romana Team

TIP 2 – Let them Invite Nature into your Home

Something that Chinese art is often renowned for is its stylised depictions of the natural world. Towering bamboo, water lilies and rolling mountains, along with the fauna that inhabits them, are common in designs; and in our urban world we nearly always want more of it. Using Chinese painted scrolls and statues can be a brilliant way to introduce these serene landscapes into your home in original ways. Additionally, using motifs helps tie plants and greenery into the scheme of your home. It is truly a way to bring to outside, in.

chinese bronze buddha in bedroom

TIP 3 – Add Height or a Focal Point to a Space

When arranging a side board, shelf or table centrepiece, it can be difficult to know what to include. Wanting to create depth and interest is a significant part of this, and Chinese porcelain can help you achieve this. Much Chinese porcelain might be easily classed as ‘oversized’ in comparison to everyday crockery but that’s what makes it so useful for this purpose. You want a focal point to be striking, and to draw your eye in. A large, tall piece like the Celadon vase below invited your eye in and up – in a way you might not have expected.

This is also where we should say, when thinking of Chinese decorative arts, expand your thoughts from just blue and white porcelain. Included in this category are paintings, snuff bottles, seals and stamps; as well as ceramics that come in a wide range of monotone palettes and detailed designs. It’s this diversity that allows for Chinese art to fit into a wide range of home designs. Whether your style is more modern or traditional, there will be a piece that works for you.

View our general collection of Chinese Art here.

celadon porcelain on dining table
Lot 45 – Celadon Porcelain – Photographed by the Pax Romana Team

TIP 4 – Use Chinese Bronzes to add Warmth to a Bedroom

Our bedrooms are our sanctuaries and at the end of the day you want to enter a space that is warm and inviting. To achieve this atmosphere, Chinese bronzes can be perfect as the material reflects a warm and cosy light. These bronze pieces also come in diverse forms, such as wide bowled censers or regal statues of Buddha’s. The censers especially can have a practical form such as jewellery or accessories holders, like we’ve demonstrated below. If you’re anxious about a specific colour scheme in your bedroom that you want to link the piece into, bronzes are perfect as many come with coloured enamelled designs. Take for example this Buddha, that has enamelled embellishments of red and green but still has an inviting bronze face.

chinese bronze in bedroom with candle and scroll painting
Lot 185 – Chinese Bronze Censer with Elephant Handles in Bedroom – Photographed by Pax Romana Team

TIP 5 – Bring you Personal Touch to the Office

Once you’ve thought about the spaces in your home, it’s worth casting your mind further afield. A great example of this is the office or workplace. We know for many of us at the moment we’re unable to go into our offices. However, when we return, we’ll want them to feel as welcoming as possible. Part of this will be bringing parts of our personalities back to the office with us, through the use of accessories and small furnishings. Chinese art can be a great part of this and can introduce your love for art into your work environment. Try grouping them with books on your work interests, as well as plants and practical pieces such as stationary.

Read more about the History and Significance of the Buddha

chinese interior at the office, using jade buddha
Lot 177 – Jade Buddha at the Office – Photographed by the Pax Romana Team

Want to see more about using Antiquities in Interior design? Why not have a look at our Instagram where we often talk about intertwining antiquities into your home.

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