Once I started down the patterned path, I found it difficult to stop! There are so many beautiful options and so many things to consider that I ended up with a few more posts showcasing the use of pattern in home decorating. If you missed the earlier articles, you can read about the “rules” here, and see some general inspiration photos here.
Working with Toile
Toile (pronounced ‘twahl’) is a very classic pattern originating in France in the 1700′s. Although usually in black and white, toile is available in a wide range of colors and can be found on everything from wallpaper to dishes. Because it’s usually a fairly dense pattern, it lends itself beautifully to being paired with stripes – either very narrow or fairly wide. Often associated with French country or shabby chic design, it can be updated for use in even the most modern looks – look for overscaled interpretations or pair it with a modern stripe or plaid.
The scenes depicted in toile patterns are usually of rural life, animals, children at play or sometimes with an ethnic or Asian twist.
Because the pattern is fairly busy, it’s often calmed by large expanses of a solid color. As you can see, it’s difficult to determine the details of the pattern from a distance.
Toile can be colorful and playful too.
A curtain on a swing arm is a nice touch in a kitchen or over a back door window for occasional privacy.
A length of vibrantly colored toile fabric can be the start of a lively table setting.
How about trying layering toile? It will work if you remember the basic rules - vary the scale. These toiles are kept in a color family and have varying density as well as the size of the scene to make them “play nice” together.
Toile and Other Patterns
The density and organic nature of toile lends itself very well to being paired with stripes or plaids. Ticking stripes (very narrow) or awning stripes (very wide) work best because of the contrast in scale.
The classic use of a classic pattern – of course, from Neiman Marcus!
These hotel suites show the use of toile updated by very modern wide stripes and lots of fresh white.
More About Pattern in Home Decorating
If toile isn’t your pattern of choice, there’s lots more to share so follow along as I move on to stripes, florals and chintz, damasks and more. With each pattern I’ll give you guidelines on how to mix it with other patterns successfully. Make sure you don’t miss anything but subscribing today (top right in the sidebar)!