Last week, when I was thinking about the Mark D Sikes post (please go here if you missed it.) I also thought of the times I’ve written about Chinoiserie murals and panels. These posts need to be updated at least every three years because much changes in that time.
And, yes, there is also a post about beautiful landscape murals; there’s some overlap, but I’m dividing them up.
In the end, I decided to do Mark’s post and then do the Chinoiserie murals that many of you are swooning over.
Beautiful – Mark D Sikes with Gracie Chinoiserie Mural wallpaper via La Dolce Vita
Chinoiserie panels by Gracie
Anyone reading my blog for at least a year knows that I adore Chinoiserie— everything!
But, what ARE Chinoiserie Wallpaper Panels?
The Chinese Garden by Francois Boucher
If you see the original art, you’ll see where it all stems from. We’ve discussed Chinoiserie which had its roots in the 18th century. It originated in Europe as a fanciful depiction of this exotic eastern culture. Much of it was taken, however, from the original Chinese art. The Europeans were fascinated and adored these beautiful designs, as many of us still do today.
Remember this post from several years ago about the Chinoiserie vase that was 7.66 MILLION DOLLARS?
No, of course, you don’t recall that post. I know you don’t remember it because, like, 16 people read it! haha.
Above is a mid-eighteenth-century painted silk panel – Chinoiserie wallpaper panel – via @nicolefabredesigns – Instagram
It’s a short history lesson today about Chinoiserie murals and art. :]
Now, some may think these Chinoiserie murals are “trendy.” However, that is not really the case. They are a classic design element, and many designers have used them for decades. Yes, they have taken on a broader following, but they are not a fad.
Up until a few years ago, if you wanted one of these exquisite Chinoiserie hand-painted murals, the only way you could get one for yourself was to purchase through an interior designer/decorator/architect with access to places, like Gracie, DeGournay, Fromental, Paul Montgomery, and Zuber. Although, the latter primarily deals with landscape murals.
The only thing is, they came with a price tag that few can afford.
Above, is another beautiful Mark D. Sikes vignette.
Mark’s work has been featured numerous times on this blog. You can see those posts here.
Or, please visit Mark’s portfolio and terrific blog for more of his style.
Here are some other posts which feature Chinoiserie wallpaper panels and murals.
When I’m speaking of Chinoiserie murals and wallpaper panels, that means the paper could be used on all of the walls.
Or, the individual panels could be in frames. I like that look a lot, and if they are separate frames from the wall, then, of course, they are easily portable.
Michael S. Smith – Photo – Ricardo Labougle
Well, Laurel, I have two questions. One, how much are these super-expensive panels? And, two, are the cheaper versions as nice?
Those are both terrific questions.
As for the price of the super-expensive murals, I tried to find the answer. They are still only available to the trade, and I don’t have an account, so I am not privy to that information. In addition, if you see a price mentioned somewhere, we don’t know if it’s the designer’s net price or the retail price.
I did find one quite interesting article in the New York Times from October 6, 1996. So, that was exactly 26 years ago. It was also just a few months after I started Laurel Bern Interiors.
The article talks about a starting price of $350 for Gracie and $550 for other brands.
I say that because back in the 1990s, shortly after I began my business, I walked into a showroom selling Gracie, to inquire and was told that the least expensive wallpaper was $1,200 a panel. Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that today, we can expect to pay at least $2,400 a panel.
After that, we’ll need a prescription for some Valium to take the day the paper hanger comes to install it.
I’m joking about the Valium. (but never about mental health issues, to be clear.)
But, seriously, if you were to paper an entire dining room, you’ll need about 20 panels, plus installation. Therefore, prepare to drop at least 50k.
This is why you often see these murals separated into framed panels. Sometimes you’ll see two flanking a fireplace or doorway. That’s a great way to “get the look” without spending a hefty sum on wallpaper.
This Chinoiserie mural wallpaper was from the Brunschwig showroom from eons ago. It might be Gracie. I’m not sure.
Fortunately, there are far more affordable sources for all of us Chinoiserie mural and panel aficionados who don’t have the deep pockets necessary to purchase the others.
We’ll be getting to that shortly, and I’ll share some observations about which sources are the best for far less expensive Chinoiserie murals and panels, plus, some things you need to look out for!
But, first, I’ve found a few new (to me) designers who are doing lovely work with Chinoiserie wallpapers.
Love this new-traditional dining room by M and M Interior Design
Another beautiful dining room, this time with framed Chinoiserie panels.
via @jessicalevantiques @jenniferbarroninteriors on Instagram
I think that these panels are so pretty. I’m not sure if they are hand-painted or not. They are from Natural Curiosities via The Well Appointed House. I featured N C’s cool art and furniture in this post.
I think the price is too much. ONE of them framed is almost $3,200. Yes, they are prints.
These framed panels are only $1,799 for the set, which I think is quite reasonable. They have only a few styles so far. Their website is here.
Let’s look at some more affordable sources for Chinoiserie wallpaper murals and panels in the manner of Gracie and De Gournay.
One of the sources I adore is The Mural Source, formerly Mural Sources.
Paul Montgomery, the fantastic artist, has created a line of printed murals created from his originals. The quality is superb! No, wait. It’s beyond amazing. I owned a mural, as many of you know, in my Bronxville bedroom.
I took these in November 2020, shortly before I moved to Boston.
The paper even looked and felt like silk fabric.
The print was so clear and nuanced that I would’ve sworn it was the hand-painted original. I am positive that paper is what caused the apartment to get an offer to buy practically the day it went on the market.
Photo: Stacy Zarin Goldberg – Room design – Gills Interiors
Above and below – Maysong Spring by the Mural Source
However, the most extensive The Mural Source collection is on 1st Dibs. And, the price is very fair. I realize that 1st Dibs has a rep for being overpriced, but they’ve changed.
1st Dibs also has items no one else has.
After that, the venerable Schumacher is always good for a fabulous rendering of everything. They’ve employed Mary McDonald and Miles Redd to create some instant classics.
I’ve seen these in person, and they are lovely– and removable.
- Another source to consider is York Wallcovering. They’ve come a long way to creating some less expensive Chinoiserie murals.
- You can find these on Wayfair/Perigold, Burke Decor, and Bellacor.
- Oh, and Caitlin Wilson also has some designs from The Mural Source.
Now, let’s talk about Etsy and the numerous sources for printed and hand-painted Chinoiserie panels.
I feel obligated to caution you about purchasing these hand-painted Chinoiserie murals.
Some of the sources look good; however, I probably wouldn’t order from some of them.
If it’s a print, you’re buying, it’s not a problem. However, it would be best if you always got a sample first. No sample. No order.
BUT, for the hand-painted Chinoiserie murals, besides a sample, here are some things to look for.
- One, are there reviews? If there are no reviews, you don’t need to look further. Please move on.
- Two – Consistency. Many times you’ll see images that are not of their work. They ARE the images from Gracie, De Gournay, etc. Sometimes, some images are clearly studio images or taken just before they’re to be shipped out. These aren’t as slick.
- Three – Are there CLEAR detail shots? If not, again, I wouldn’t work with them.
- Four – On the Reviews, are they using their own pics, OR are they using the customer’s pics. If they are using their own pics– See Number One.
- Five – Look carefully at the customer’s pics. Please ignore lousy composition, bad lighting, etc., and focus on the Chinoiserie panels. Do they look like the slick ones in the vendor’s portfolio?
They don’t? Something seems off, but you just can’t put your finger on it.
Please allow me to intervene with the most common issues.
- The renderings look like they were done by fairly talented five-year-olds. You know what they say about quacking ducks.
- The colors seem “off.” Yes, indeedy. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Believe what you SEE. The colors are sometimes quite barf-worthy. (but not all of the time)
- And the BIG enchilada? Uh-huh, SCALE. Please watch this one carefully. Sometimes you’ll see things blown way up. In other words, the design is the same if you order 48″ high or 96″ high. In other words; you don’t get more of the design, or even more sky, you get the design blown up, sometimes more than double what it should be.
Here’s a brilliant example from a one-star review. The customer complained about the colors, but the scale is cartoon-like, as is the rendering. That is, unless this is a mural for a pre-school.
This is what it’s supposed to look like.
So, Laurel, tell us what companies do hand-painted designs that are okay to purchase.
Okay, but I don’t know for sure. If you want to play it safe, don’t use any hand-painted sources online. Or, get a good sample and then decide. However, below is my (very) short list of companies that look like they’re doing a beautiful and authentic job painting Chinoiserie murals.
After a scathing and honest review by Cathy, a customer of ChinoiserieHomeDeco, I am taking them off of the shooooooort list. Please read what she said in the comments.
That leaves only one for hand-painted Chinoiserie Murals.
EC Wallpaper on Chairish
and 1st Dibs
I would probably avoid
Two terrible reviews and inconsistent work.
Also, inconsistent work that is stylistically all over the lot. Plus, they’re ripping off the Mural Source’s panoramic designs.
There are some companies on Etsy that do printed murals that look pretty good. Please get a sample before ordering.
Below is a revised widget of some beautiful Chinoiserie murals from several sources.
Hope that gave you some new insights and sources for Chinoiserie Wallpaper Panels.
P.S. – Please check out the newly updated Hot Sales Pages. This is a big weekend, and there are many fantastic sales going on right now.