Love the Chinoiserie chic look? Not so enthusiastic about the price tag? Create the Chinoiserie look for less with these shopping sources for Chinoiserie decor on a budget!
Y’all know I have a special place in my heart for Chinoiserie decor! I love the whimsy, the color, and the tradition it exudes. Just think about the charming interiors of Mark D. Sikes, de Gournay, Sarah Bartholomew, Bunny Williams who often embody the best of Chinoiserie!
If you feel like I do about this decor style and researched it then you probably realized just how pricey this style can be to attain. Chinoiserie wallpapers and fabrics command major dough and of course the more antique (i.e. the older) you go for Chinoiserie decor (porcelain, lacquerware, cloisonné, etc.) the higher those prices climb. So can you get the Chinoiserie look for less?
Yes, You Can Get The Chinoiserie Look for Less!
The great thing about Chinoiserie chic is its whimsical flexibility that encompasses eclecticism and maximalism, which means there is a variety of decor, fabric, wallpaper, and furnishings to choose from that can be mixed and matched to create the look. The two best methods:
No. 1 The Collected Approach – A slow accumulation of Chinoiserie decor sourced over time from auctions, antique hunts, thrifting, etc.
No. 2 1950’s & 60’s “Reproductions” – Much of the affordable Chinoiserie decor on the market today hails from the 30’s, 50’s, and 60’s when Asian art, styles, and decorative arts garnered renewed attention. You can think of these as vintage vs. antique (antiques are at least 100 years old).
The first method takes patience and a great deal of hunting in order to get a true bargain, while the second approach means valuing the look or style over the accumulation of an antique collection or sometimes quality. Both methods require that you educate yourself about Chinoiserie decorative arts and the differences between reproductions and true antiques. Start your study with my article about Chinoiserie Decorative Accessories.
There is also a number of charming modern decor in the Chinoiserie style, using themes and patterns common to the trend. Think modern renditions of Blue Willow or pagoda landscapes with Chinese figures. For those styles shop Amazon, T.J.Maxx (coupon available), Home Goods, Etsy, and Pier 1.
Now on to the good stuff: where to find affordable Chinoiserie decor that won’t break the bank!
Where to Shop for Affordable Chinoiserie Decor
Our First Stop – Vintage, Thrift, & Antique Shops
I have a list of thrift stores and antique shops and malls that I regularly visit. Take a Saturday to visit the Karms, Goodwills, and antique shops in your area to find the best ones. Talk to friends and neighbors whose style you love and find out where they are shopping locally. To find that steal of a price tag you are going to have to do some leg work and go a’hunting!
In East Tennessee, I regularly visit:
- KARM in Oak Ridge,
- the Habitat Re-Store off Kingston Pike,
- the Peddlers Mart off Broadway,
- Blair House Antiques in Knoxville,
- and the Staffordshire Spaniel in Clinton
In Western North Carolina, I regularly visit:
- the Habitat Re-Store in Asheville near Biltmore Village,
- the Screen Door,
- Sweeten Creek Antiques,
- Balsam Antique Mall, and
- Second Blessings Thrift Store in Waynesville
Try to visit thrift stores during the work week to find the best items before they are picked over. I try to go on a Tuesday or Wednesday. Think of it this way: people clean out and organize during the weekend and drop things off at the thrift store, so by Tuesday or Wednesday the store’s staff have priced and put things out.
Of course hunting from the comfort of home with your computer in your lap and a glass of wine at hand is rather luxe too! Below are my favorite online venues for Chinoiserie chic decor. I’ve created searches for you using those websites’ keyword and style categories sorted by price, so click on the links below to start your search!
Chairish is a curated vintage marketplace aimed at designers and decoristas. All merchandise is consigned from sellers all over, so Chairish is really the middle man orchestrating the sale of the item; they also take care of arranging shipping. The best feature is the “make an offer” option that allows the buyer to negotiate with the seller to buy the item for less than the listed price (offers have to be at least 50% of list price).
Think of Ruby Lane as antique dealers and vintage shops coming together to sell their merchandise online. You can find everything from collectables to high end antiques.
To search for Chinoiserie ceramics on Ruby Lane click here.
Y’all know about Etsy I’m sure. While it started as mainly handmade goods, crafts, and art there are a lot of vintage and antique sellers on the site now. Etsy also sells some really chic contemporary decor in the Chinoiserie style. Check out this search for handmade Chinoiserie decor like pillows, ornaments, and linens. For vintage Chinoiserie decor see this search.
For those of you looking to splurge or who truly want the Chinoiserie antique, I recommend checking out 1stdibs. It is also an online antique marketplace of dealers and does have the “make an offer” option.
1stdibs is searchable by style. Head here for Chinoiserie chic.
Many antique shops and dealers are using Instagram these days to sell their antiques and vintage decor using a flash sale model, including yours truly. You can catch my sales most Thursday evenings at 8PM EST. Other vendors I recommend are @curatedandcompany, @shopturnerandmoss, @ksweigartcollection, and @chathamcollection.
I also shop online for affordable Chinoiserie decor at One Kings Lane, World Market, Amazon, and Wayfair (coupon available).
My Picks for Chinoiserie Decor on a Budget:
Next Stop – The Auction World
Auctions are an excellent source to get the Chinoiserie look for less. They are a treasure-trove of quality furnishings, decor, and art. Plus with everyone moving online, you can participate in auctions world-wide from your sofa.
Do a bit of research about the auction house before bidding; you want to make sure they are reputable and knowledge about art and antiques. You will also want to read their terms and conditions very carefully. Most have strict policies when it comes to payment, pick-up/shipping, and they do not allow returns.
Also be aware of these financial considerations:
- The buyer’s premium – this is an auction house fee that you pay on top of the hammer price, usually between 15% – 30%
- Shipping costs
- Repair costs, including re-upholstery
No explanation needed, right? Here are two searches you should use to find Chinoiserie furniture: click here for chairs and click here for lamps. Bear in mind that Ebay is not curated, so you do have to weed through some junk and irrelevant items.
Regional and Local Auction Houses I frequent:
Many of you may know, this is where I use to work as a director, so of course I am a bit biased, but that doesn’t change the fact they have some amazing Asian art and porcelain that would fit perfectly in your Chinoiserie inspired space. They primarily deal in investment quality antiques. Check out their spring and fall sales for bargains.
Brunk is another great regional auction house for Chinoiserie antiques. They have been in business for 30 years, so they are a well respected and trust worthy house. You can bid online with confidence.
This is a great little local auction house in Ridgeway, S.C. I’ve bought several major pieces of furniture at unbelievable prices from here, including my dining room table and the bookcase/desk in my living room. R.H. Lee usually has auctions twice a month with a mix of antique, vintage, and reproductions. They always have furnishings and accessories that are Chinoiserie chic!
A small auction house in Weaverville, NC selling antiques, vintage decor, and home goods. They regularly have decor and furnishings that will help you achieve the Chinoiserie look for less. I recommend attending a live auction here versus bidding online.
These online auction platforms allow you to join auctions world wide and bid online in real time sales. You can search both these sites by auction house, style, medium, and geography.
Last Stop – Estate Sales
Estate sales are honestly one of the best sources for affordable Chinoiserie decor! That’s why I saved the best for last! Usually, estate sales run over the course of a weekend (Thursday – Sunday) and depending on the size of the estate may continue for a few weeks. My favorite method of locating sales is via EstateSales.net. Just type in your zip code and it will show you a listing with the sales near you. Most sales feature images and a description of items for sale, so you can determine if it is worth going or not.
I recommend going the first day to scope things out and nab anything you can’t live without then head back on the last day because that’s when the deep discounts happen and the haggling is easier.
Craigslist also lists estate sales and you can of course cruise around good neighborhoods early on Saturday morning looking for signs.
So What Am I Looking for When I Go Shopping?
Now that you know where to shop, here’s a list of the things to hunt for the Chinoiserie look for less:
- Asian ceramics: Rose Medallion, Imari, Famille Vert, etc….
- Blue & white ceramics
- Bamboo & rattan
- Chinoiserie textiles featuring fanciful animals and romantic florals
- Pagoda statuettes
- Anything with a Chinoiserie motif
- Decor or furnishings with intense colors
To learn more about decorating in the Chinoiserie style check out this post! Looking to craft your own Chinoiserie decor? See my tutorial on DIYing a Chinoiserie panel here.
More Picks for Chinoiserie Decor on a Budget:
Get the Look of My Chinoiserie Bar Cart: