Chintzy florals are having a moment. Driven initially by the big fashion houses, the interiors world has adopted this trend wholeheartedly. Not since the 1990s when we were persuaded to ‘chuck out our chintz’ in that infamous advertising campaign have florals been so popular.
Discovered in the 1600s, chintz originally came from India and takes its name from the Hindu word, ‘chint’, meaning spotted or variegated. When the British and French aristocracy first laid eyes on this magical fabric, they instantly fell in love with its flowers and patterns and the saturated colours of its dyes. For the next few hundred years, it went in and out of fashion but has always been seen in the best Country House drawing rooms – with swags at windows and frills on armchairs. In the 1970s and 1980s, it was embraced by all, and no wonder – florals are fun, vibrant and decorative and every home has room for them. Let us guide you through the art of decorating with chintzy florals.
Think about colour
For stylist and author Katrin Cargill the key to decorating with florals is colour. ‘When I created this bedroom for a recent shoot for Linwood,’ says Katrin, ‘I wanted to find a paint colour to really make the fabric – Miji from the new Belleville collection – sing. There’s a beautiful clarity of colour to the design, so I played around with many paint shades before settling on this from Papers and Paints; it not always the most obvious colour that works.’ Matching bedhead and curtains could have felt slightly dated, but the inclusion of mid-century reading lights and an informal rug in a complimentary shade create an inviting room with a contemporary edge.
Just choose one…
After living in neutral homes for the past 20 years, it’s understandable that many of us might be afraid of pattern. To ease yourself into decorating with florals, try upholstering just one armchair or footstool. This chair is covered in fantasy floral, Uhura. The sunny fabric would look charming alongside a chestnut leather sofa; ideally one that has a lived-in feel or consider tone on tone fabrics to keep the look fresh. For something more modern, scatter pretty blooms over an oversized love seat. Louis is the perfect choice, and this linen fabric is available in an array of colours that beautifully highlight the pretty flowers of the design.
Go softly, softly
Floral prints don't have to be a riot of vivid colours, when used in soothing tones they add pattern in a mellow manner. Loseley Velvet, a classic design that embodies the English countryside, feels very understated on this sofa, especially set against the informal, textured rug. Another subtle fabric is Bamboo Garden in Pink – this elegant, tropical design is printed on pure cotton velvet and would look wonderful as curtains or blinds or used as loose covers that could be changed as the mood takes you, from subtle to bold in one easy move.
Embrace the unexpected
Floral-style wallpaper is an easy way to introduce pattern into your home… who could resist the explosive mix of Rainforest Rabble’s tropical birds and colour in a hall or living room? But think about using such a wallpaper in an unexpected manner. Papering a closet in a pretty patterned chintz would provide a fun element to any bedroom or bathroom. Or upholster a piece of furniture such as a modernist daybed in a velvet such as On The River, with its glorious blooms based on an archival document from the 1940s it’s guaranteed to become a talking point, and homes are always much more appealing with an element of surprise in their décor.
Don’t reinvent the wheel
One of the most effective – and traditional ways to use florals – is by piling a summer porch with chintz-cushioned wicker furniture; for many of us it’s reminiscent of our childhoods which feels rather reassuring in the changing world we are living in. Our Arcadia collection, which is printed in England, has seven designs to choose from, all with a lovely, fresh feel. And a favourite sofa never fails to delight in a classic design such as Dalloway; it’s unashamedly Country House in feel and always looks wonderful. For a little drama, place it against a dark, moody wall.
The fun thing about florals is that they can work any room – a living room can be instantly softened by a blousy bloom and a bedroom never fails to look pretty with a touch of pattern. As Ella Richards, our Head of Design comments: ‘Who could tire of bringing the glorious countryside into our homes.’