The Timeless Allure of Chinoiserie Wallpaper


Image credit Emile de Bruijn



Pronounced: ‘shin-waa-zuh-ree’

A decorative style in Western art, furniture, and architecture, especially in the 18th century, characterised by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques.

"hand-painted chinoiserie wallpaper"
chinoiserie objects or decorations.


Chinoiserie Demystified

Chinoiserie. A word that some of us have heard of, that a few are familiar with and for others, it’s a total mystery. 

As I write my first blog of this year, I thought it would make sense to start at the beginning of my design story and explain what chinoiserie actually is (but definitely not in an overbearing lecturing kind of way!) 



That's me hand-painting Chinoiserie designs for Harlequin on silk wallpaper. This magical collection is ready to purchase here!


But Surely Chinoiserie is Chinese?

Surprisingly, it isn’t…

Most people don’t know that chinoiserie is actually a French word. Although it’s spoken about in relation to Chinese design, the Chinese never used chinoiserie in their own homes (they preferred plain walls). 

It was Europe’s elite that developed a fascination with the ‘mysterious’ East, and as a result chinoiserie wallpapers were made in China to meet Europeans tastes. Shipped across continents to great anticipation (and expense!), this interesting mix of cultures could often be found adorning the interiors of 18th century high society homes. 


green-and-white-bird-and-flower-chinoiserie-wallpaper-by-emile-de-bruijn    green-chinoiserie-wallpaper-with-birds-by-emile-de-bruijn 
Image credit Emile de Bruijn

You’re My Inspiration

During my third year at uni, I came across a book which included some of the most beautiful chinoiserie designs I’d ever seen. The more I looked, the more I fell in love. This is where my obsession began.

I knew I wanted to learn all I could about this incredible aesthetic, so I headed off to China and under the guide of some phenomenal master artists, I learnt my craft, absorbing knowledge and techniques like a sponge.

I've channelled all of that knowledge and skill into my Chinoiserie wallpapers for Harlequin. Here's some snippets below!

blue-and-white-chinoiserie-wallpaper-with-blue-peacock-painted-by-diane-hill     green-white-and-pink-chinoiserie-wallpaper-with-blue-birds-painted-by-diane-hill
Harlequin x Diane Hill 'Florence' available in 3 colour ways. 

Past Meets Present

From full flowers to billowing branches and colourful birds, nature never goes out of style. I think this is what makes chinoiserie so timeless. Its panoramic murals have wrapped walls for more than 200 years, with vivid hues and stylised motifs that just make people smile. Chinoiserie is about creating a feeling, and for me that feeling is pure joy.

blue-chinoiserie-wallpaper-in-stately-home-with-white-flowers-and-birds-by-emile-de-bruijnImage credit Emile de Bruijn

Dreams Can Come True! 

I have some amazing news to share… Over the past year I’ve been working on an exclusive wallpaper and fabric collaboration with Harlequin, one of the UK’s leading interior design brands. Now the collection is finally live and ready for you!


Shop the full collection here


Sign up here to win a custom original!


Diane Hill X Harlequin wallpaper collection in pink huesDiane Hill X Harlequin wallpaper samples 'Valentina' and 'Rosa'

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  • Author image
    Leo Wilde: April 24, 2024

    Hi Diane

    Your stunning, beautiful and utterly enchanting work has inspired me to start my own journey of discovery into the world of Chinoiserie. I hope to be able to create something as sublime as you one day and so after more than 50 years I’m going back to school to see if I can paint (it’s a start)!


  • Author image
    dingguohua: August 28, 2023

    hand painted wallpaper

  • Author image
    John Evans: May 21, 2022

    Impeccable. Brilliantly beautiful. Creatively Spectacular. I love your artistic flair, skill, and soul-rendering talent. You are empowering me (an artist), to dig way down into my heart and creative soul to begin anew, and to create the birds, flowers, foliage I love so much! I am sincerely grateful for your creativity. Thank you. John

  • Author image
    Eva Boldt: March 04, 2022

    Please send styles, specs, and full info re shipping of wallpapers. Thank you.

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