the color palette

A midtone palette of pinkish reds to lighter purples and greens has the faded feeling of an antique Chinese silk or glazed porcelain.




The term Chinoiserie, pronounced “shen-wah’-zeh-ree,” describes European interpretations of Chinese style from the 17th and 18th centuries. In this case, it encompasses a Western fascination with China—which soon will host the Olympics—and more Americanized, and at times even playful, interpretations of its designs.




A mix of antique and reproduction pieces on a dramatic red backdrop immediately conjures the mood. This arrangement features the full range of the “Chinoiserie” hues.


MATERIALS: ‘Holland Beauty’ and ‘Prince Promise’ O.T. lilies and rose hips from The Sun Valley Group; Cymbidium orchids from Tayama Greenhouses; Anthuriums from Ever-Bloom; Hydrangeas from Ameri-Cal Floral; pomegranates from Dos Osos Multifloro; chrysanthemums from favorite supplier; Shanghai Bird Cage from HomArt; rice basket and antique Chinese advertising poster from personal collection.  


key flowers to consider


Focus on flowers represented in Chinese fabrics and artwork. Expressive singular blooms, such as the peony, rose, orchid and spider mum, lead the list.



arranging tips


Rather than mimic Eastern arranging styles, imagine your design to interpret a Chinese wallpaper with the iconic blossoms linked with distinctive contorted willow or linear bamboo branches. Also don’t be afraid to add a touch of fun, such as a pair of chopsticks.


merchandising tip


Take advantage of this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, Aug. 8-24, to tie this theme into your store. A beautiful Asian screen—borrow one from a furniture or antique store, or create one yourself with authentic fabrics—would be the perfect backdrop alongside Asian-inspired containers, perhaps a Buddha or temple outline and some samples of your designs. Hang lanterns all around to further set the mood. 

accents and motifs


Chinese floral patterns


embroidered silks

birds, butterflies and koi

classic Asian vases

traditional woven baskets



A clear takeout box and faux chopsticks reflect an Americanized vision and clever reference to the culture.


MATERIALS: Cymbidium orchid from Tayama Greenhouses; Gerbera from Ever-Bloom; miniature callas from CallaCo; chinaberries and grass stems from Dos Osos Multifloro; clear takeout box from restaurant or craft store.











This diminutive design echoes the Chinese print of a painted rice bowl.


MATERIALS: ‘Phoebe’ garden rose from Green Valley Floral; ‘Shanty’ roses from Eufloria Flowers; Cymbidium orchid from Tayama Greenhouses; rose hips and scented geranium leaves from Dos Osos Multifloro; rice bowl from burton + BURTON; saucer from Jackson Pottery Ltd.  





A reproduction “wicker” urn and the intricate lines of the varied branches capture the “Chinoiserie”  sensibility.


 MATERIALS: ‘Juliet’ garden roses from Green Valley Floral; ‘Blue Bird’ and ‘Shanty’ roses from Eufloria Flowers; Cymbidium orchids from Tayama Greenhouses; miniature Leucadendrons from Ameri-Cal Floral; permanent staghorn branch from Sullivans; permanent pussy willows from Tapscott’s; Fiberglass Wicker Oval Pot from Autograph Foliages.



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