Patterned fabric is always a nice addition to your home’s decor. In living and family rooms, stripes are the most common pattern choice, followed closely by geometric options. You will see some florals too. But one of the most intriguing patterns is an old-fashioned choice: toile.
Toile was originally produced in France when cotton fabric was first brought from India. The people of Europe were used to wool and silk clothing, fabric that didn’t wash well and was often hot in the summer. When cotton first appeared with its wash-and-wear sturdiness and cool weight, it was much in demand. The French Government was so concerned that cotton clothing would take over French cloth manufacturing that they tried to make cotton cloth illegal.
That idea soon failed, and printed cotton cloth became extremely popular. One of the first manufacturers used woodcuts and then a printing press to produce over thirty thousand different designs. Many of the designs depicted country scenes or exciting events of the day such as the first balloon ascension.
Most of these fabrics were printed in one color on white or off-white fabric with repeating patterns. The fabric was called toile de jouy which literally translates to cloth from jouy, or the part of France where the factory was based. Over time, the fabric name was shortened to toile.
This style of fabric has enjoyed a new popularity in home decor recent years, and you will see it in bedrooms and kitchens where people want a French country style. The bedspread above in blue and white shows the most popular color combination but you can find toile fabric in colors to suit virtually any decor.
In this series of blogs we’re providing a step-by-step process for decorating your living or family room. With an empty room in front of you it can seem overwhelming to turn it into a comfortable and welcoming space. You can find your feet if you take it one step at a time.
In our last blog we selected a sofa. Now we’re going to add one or more accent chairs. These are the next-largest upholstered pieces in the room. If you selected a sectional, you may want only one accent chair. A more straightforward sofa may require two or more chairs to finish the space. Position your sofa in the room and determine how much space is left for additional seating.
Your chairs open the opportunity to add accent fabric. As a smaller piece, chairs can carry patterns better than a sofa. Take a chance on a floral or stripe. Don’t hesitate to bring some color into the room with your fabric choice. It can easily be echoed later in accessories or window treatments.
Choose chairs that are comfortable and sturdy, and include an ottoman if you have space. You may have your main furniture pieces facing a television or fireplace, but make sure they also create a comfortable space for conversation.
You may already own a nice chair or two. If the upholstery doesn’t work in your new home, consider reupholstering or a slipcover to dress it appropriately. You can use the money you save on other furnishings and accessories as you continue to decorate.
In our next blog we’ll talk about coffee table choices.