The other day, a girlfriend and I were reminiscing about Laura Ashley and old Ralph Lauren. There was a time when we loved decorating our homes with their florals, paisleys and stripes on the walls, beds and furniture. We even wore them on our dresses and skirts! We couldn't get enough. In the 80s and early 90s, chintz was BIG. The whole Sister Parish, Mario Buatta, English country thing was huge. After two decades of solids and "ethnic" prints like Ikat ruling the roost, there is a rumbling resurgence of the happy exuberant florals.
Chintz is a cotton fabric, typically glazed, that comes in many color ways and can be used on upholstered pieces, draperies and bedding. Here are some classic patterns that still look gorgeous today:
Back in the day, we even had it on our lampshades. I know that "Granny Chic" is becoming a popular style among the millennials, but as someone who experienced the full blown chintz thing in the 80s, it's hard to see going back there. But, these patterns are beautiful and I am feeling the itch to incorporate them into my rooms in a fresh way. But how do I make it feel new and fresh and not like I entered a time warp? I turned to the internet for inspiration and here are some ideas for ways to use flower power today:
Blue and white is classic and always feels fresh, particularly if you live on the coast or in the country. I love how the designer used the white background pattern just on the bed wall while leaving the other walls white and then used the reverse print on the pillows and bedside table skirts.
Here is another predominantly blue and white scheme that works:
Albert Hadley had a way of taking Sister Parish's beloved chintz and making it feel modern. This is a photo of his living room and I love the white walls, floor and white slipcovered chairs paired with the chintz covered settee. Upholstering just a small sofa or settee in an otherwise subdued room is a great way to use the fabric.
Here is another room done by Albert Hadley that is timeless. I love the bare wood floors and creamy white walls here with the chintz covered chairs.
This living room contains several prints and still feels fresh because of the white walls and the sisal matting on the floor. It also happens to be Tory Burch's living room and clearly she is an expert at taking old classics and tweaking them to feel new.
Another way to use chintz in a way that feels modern is to use strong color on the walls and choose a more subdued pattern. I love the way there is one pattern on the sofas and chair.
If you are not ready yet to commit to upholstering your sofa, maybe just a touch like a pillow on your bed or sofa is enough.
What do you think of bringing back chintz into your life? I'd love to hear your thoughts...