Thursday, January 10, 2013

Decorating with toile

Home decorating fabric

In the first of her new series, interior designer Jenny Blanc takes a fresh look
at the decorating with toile, the classical fabric favorite, Toile de Jouy, and creates a sophisticated interior decorating scheme that reflects its best qualities yet feels in tune with today’s home interior

When approaching this new series on the topic of classic fabrics, it seemed only right to start with one of my most favorite and enduring decorating styles, a style which has been loved by many for centuries. Toile de Jouy has always appealed to me, and my love of all things French. Many of the original designs, and indeed some of the most recently produced fabrics, provide a unique pictorial view on French history and rural life exquisitely printed onto cloth. However you decorating with toile, Toile de Jouy brings a wonderful touch of femininity to interiors.

What is toile fabric

I would like to give you some ideas on what is toile fabric. The fabric was given the name Jouy from the French town where the fabric was first printed in the 1700s to compete with the rare and expensive printed cottons being imported from India. The most commonly known Toile de Jouy has always been printed using a one color print for a repeat design on a white or cream ground cloth. The most familiar print colors of toile fabric are red, blue, black and grey.

Over the centuries there has always been a demand for the look toile creates with Toile de Jouy wallpaper being introduced to give yet more design possibilities. Historically, interior decorators have used both toile wallpaper and fabric in one room, which produces an ornate, highly decorative look. Today, by using less of the fabric pattern in a scheme and blending it with sophisticated plains, Toile de Jouy can offer more versatility and breadth of appeal. Looking to their archives as the starting point for the design, many fabric companies are recoloring favorite toiles to bring the style right up to date. They are also producing designs in reverse so that the background color is the stronger color in the print. This gives so many new options to explore from a design

point of view.

Toile de Jouy, whether in the classic traditional style or as a new interpretation, always looks good combined with a complementary checked or striped lining fabric, helping to break up the print as a rest for the eye. Toiles also suit being trimmed with a matching plain fabric or a decorative tassel, braid or bobble trim.

With each part of this new series, I’ll be introducing you to a room scheme that celebrates a classic decorating style, yet shows you how to integrate it well within a home that will be elegantly now. Overleaf, I have chosen to use toile for a bedroom scheme as it has long been associated with this room where a romantic look is often required. I have used a beautiful new design on a high quality cotton from a collection by Manuel Canovas as the starting point. This collection comes in a wonderful array of vibrant hues including a burnt orange for strikingly contemporary looks, but I have chosen this lovely color combination of chocolate and blue and used it in a more restrained way to emphasize its beauty and create a sophisticated, modern, yet still

timeless decorating style setting.

Decorating home with toile

On the moodboard (which has been drawn to illustrate all of the furniture to scale) you will find plain and textured toile fabrics to temper the pattern as well as paint and flooring. I have included some beautiful accessories, from drawer handles to blind pulls, which illustrate the importance I place on attention to detail.


Employ the right finishes in the correct proportions for a successful decorating result



It is important to use a Toile de Jouy fabric so that you can view the beautiful print well and there is no better way than when used for curtains or a blind. By combining full-length Toile de Jouy curtains with a contrasting Roman blind, these windows are dressed with an interesting layering of fabrics. Fully interlined curtains provide warmth and darkness at night, whilst the blind can be used to shade the sun by day. This smocked curtain heading adds a feminine touch and the curtains are hung from an imposing pole with beautifully modern classic finials finished in nickel and twine. I’ve suggested adding a blind pull for a decorative finish.


Decorating home with toile and use a bench stool placed at the end of the bed and covered in the Toile de Jouy adds an imposing interior design element and provides a link with the curtains. This particular decorating style is buttoned, although it could be simply upholstered using either a decorative braid or piped-edge finish. I recommend varying the types of materials you use within a scheme, so here the stool has cherry legs, the bedside cupboards have a sophisticated paint finish and are finished with handblown glass knobs, and the Louis-style chair, which is covered in a contemporary cut velvet, has a chalk-onwood antiqued paint finish.


The bed should be the most important decorating statement. This bed head provides an eye catching design as well as giving comfort. Work at layering the bed with different fabrics. Here, a box pleated valance neatly conceals the bed base. A quilted throw covers the bed yet allows the valance to show, and a bespoke throw neatly folded at the end of the bed adds a decorative, warm feature. Bespoke square linen pillowcases in two shades of tactile linen add the designer look and link the blue touches.


A beautifully warm paint shade sets off the Toile de Jouy, and is the perfect foil for the mirrors and china inspired toile fabric prints. The carpet, a wonderfully thick cut pile in a high quality wool and a rich chocolately brown shade, adds a luxurious enveloping feel every time you step into the room.


Pairing elements can work well in most decorating style schemes, but particularly in a bedroom décor where you want to create a sense of calm and sophistication. The glass table lamps with off-white shades are elegant yet light and reflect beautifully in the mirrors.

We hope that professional interior designer tips and ideas on how to decorate home with toile fabric will help you to create beautiful interior in your home!

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