Afro Chinoiserie – Dining Room Reveal

Jamala W
by Jamala W
3 Materials

How I created an Afro-Chinoiserie Dining Room

What can I say to start things off other than woo-wee!! Yippee!! and all that other hip-hip-hooray stuff!! If you’re new from the challenge – Welcome to my cyber corner and I hope you enjoy your visit here. If you’ve been following my blog, thank you for hanging around with me. In most recent posts, you’ve heard me mention how I’ve struggled with my dining room trying to find the right look and not to mention getting it done. Well I’m thrilled to say I found the perfect style (for me) and created a new sultry look for my dining room and I love it. Before I jump into the eye candy, I first want to say a big thanks to Linda at Calling It Home for creating the One Room Challenge and it’s official media sponsor Better Homes & Garden for the providing the social media outlet for many designers, creatives, decorators and diy-ers to come together and share their projects. Honestly speaking, it’s really awesome to participate in events like this, because you don’t feel so alone working on projects. Ok so let’s talk a bit about my dining room and why I chose this room to do the challenge. When I first purchased this set 20+ years ago, I always had black art displayed on the walls.

Over the years, as I searched for inspiration pictures from designers using afro-centric pieces mixed with ming/chinoiserie furniture I couldn’t find any. Every décor style associated with chinoiserie had blue&white, flowers, plaids and more Chinese items. Nothing with black art, afro centric or afro-boho. So, trying to make it work, I played along and used some of those items to decorate with but I was bored and a realized – it’s not me. Needless to say, with this challenge, I tried to create my own Afro-Chinoiserie Chic style and hope to inspire others to infuse a bit of cultural inclusion to create a more eclectic style for their home. Here is how the room looked before.

This was the look in 2020. It was at this point when I decided.. something’s off, the look isn’t cohesive and it’s not giving me the wow factor. However, I loved all the pieces and knew they were all from different styles.. I had chinoiserie -ming- style dining furniture, then I brought in the art deco glass cabinet and then the mid-century mirror. So you see, I have a lot going on. My goal was to add some character to the wall, not alleviate any of the furniture pieces, make the room balance and give it a more sultry afro-centric vibe. I set a budget at $200 but no more than $400.00 (and that’s pushing it). I purchased the cheetah rug last year and it was definitely a keeper for the room.

So without further ado, please step into my moody Afro-Chinoiserie Chic Dining Room – (Fore note: Photographing this room was a bit testy for me.. can’t tell if it was my camera or just me not catching the light right.. – but oh well)

The wall color is my moody vibe and the chandelier gives me the wow factor I’ve been wanting. In fact, those are the first things you’ll notice when you step in the room. Painting the chairs back to black made my entire set feel new (to me) again (lol).

I rotated the furniture and moved the bar cabinet to flank the wall along side the art deco cabinet. That gave this side of the room more balance. I’ve been digging the look of layered rugs, so I chose to layer the area rug with a cowhide rug for a bit of drama. This was a last minute addition when I ordered one for the living room from ICowhide, they had a sale so I bought one for this space. Once I laid it, I felt it was perfect.

Added some plants to the bar area. The planters added additional character on the cabinet (it was pure luck the Gonder USA pottery planter matched the lampshade)

Shopped my home and found this mid-century gold striped vase which is great for flowers (and in this case, fresh cut gardenias from my yard)

I absolutely love this wall color and can’t get over how adding the molding made such a difference. As art for this wall, I hung my “bit of differentness”. I saw this original oil painting of the rocky cliff at a thrift store (where I purchased the bar cart) for $5.00. This is not a norm for me, but there was something about the detailed the painting is and it caught my eye. The fact it was professionally matted in velvet and framed so well made me even more happy because I think it was a fine piece of art work.

Here’s a closer look and it’s all hand painted – the painter left no stone unturned painting this portrait.

Opposite that wall hangs my favorite piece of art by Alonzo Adams “The Kiss”. The antique gold frame looks more elegant against the dark green wall.

Over the art deco glass cabinet, I hung a black juju hat and layered a gold wire basket to create a more interesting definition. The chinoiserie brass vase became an incense holder (another thrifted find)

Black and gold vibes all in this corner – lol. If you’re new here, you can see the before and after of the the cabinet here.

The drapery from the Brick Cottage looks wonderful (and even the $5.00 rod adds a bit of elegance) and were perfect for the space. At first I thought the panels might be a bit too masculine, but paired with the rug and seat fabric, it brings another pattern tone into the room, besides, the chandelier brings back the feminine touch.

The trolley cart will hold my plants while not in entertainment use. I’m so glad I scored it. Also the DIY mudcloth added to the planters blend well with the curtain panels for the afro touch.

As in any African décor, an African statue is a must.

The vintage Woodland dishes were a great thrift find from Restore Habitat and they compliment the china cabinet for a more cohesive display (instead of my flower pattern Victorian Limoges)

The pampas grass wall hanging made it’s way back in the room as well. I layered another jute medallion rug on this corner edge of the rug. The lady statue is more visible at the corner of the china cabinet. Before it was tucked behind the table and chairs.

The speaker in this corner holds my massive peace lily plant and couple other plants relocated from other areas in the home.

Hanging on the wall tucked in the leaves is a hand carved African mask (also from the Brick Cottage bedroom) playing peek-a-boo.

Given it gets little light in this corner, I used plants that tolerate low light.

Having two tall items flanking the off-centered door and rotating the table doesn’t make the odd door stand out as much

sidebar note: if you’re wondering.. pictures with the hydrangeas were taken at the last minute (they finally bloomed and I clipped some to mix in with the faux tulips)

and now the view in the dining room from my kitchen makes me smile looking at this mission accomplished.

Well, that’s pretty much all I have to show. I hope you enjoyed the reveal and perhaps inspired you to infuse you decor with more of your personality vs the norm. I can’t be more happier especially since I spent a little over $300.00 for the entire new look with the bulk being the molding, paint and a rug. Decorating your home does not have to break the bank nor set you back thousands, it all starts with paint and then you thrift :-).

Remember – Happy hunting while you thrift your house into a home and live the Lifestyle of the Thrift and Famous! Don’t forget to check out the designers and other guest participants and give them some cheers too! Thank you again for following along and Be Inspired!

Suggested materials:
  • Paint   (lowes)
  • Fabric   (gift)
  • Wood molding   (lowes)
Jamala W
Want more details about this and other design ideas? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 9 comments

    Beautiful 😍 🤩

  • P P on May 07, 2024

    Historically accurate to combine the two cultures! The Chinese sent out great sailing vessels which traded with EVERY inhabited continent including Africa, in the 1400s! Read: 1421: The Year China Discovered America by Menzies, Gavin & 1434 : the Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance,