Feeling Chintzy

Style :

I have always loved chintz.  Maybe it's from wearing countless Laura Ashley jumpsuits as a child, or the fact that I still wear my Laura Ashley No. 1 perfume, but I love it.  Granted, Ms. Ashley is likely one of the culprits behind all the bad chintz that flooded so many homes in the 1980's.   But a good floral chintz is timeless and chic.  My talented friend Nick Olsen anchors the living room of his FABULOUS apartment (check out the New York Social Diary article here) with a chintz sofa.  This room is the perfect example of how to use chintz in a modern room.  Lacquered red walls, a cheetah pillow, graphic modern art- I would love to live in this living room. 

Nick Olsen

We've all seen chintz gone awry, and it probably scares a lot of people away from using it.  But here are a few tips for how you can make chintz work in a modern home.

1.  Accessorize with animal prints. 

White House designer Michael S. Smith uses a chintz sofa in a subdued color palette, but he perks everything up with tiger striped pillows.

While I have never been a huge fan of country style, if I had to choose, it would involve a zebra rug and chinese desk like this room in House and Home. 

2.  Pair chintz with modern furniture. 

A tufted chintz chair adds welcome femininity to this sleek, masculine room pictured in Domino.

3.  Use stripes to restore order.  

Of course, a blog post on chintz would be rather chintzy (sorry) if it didn't include some references to the queen of chintz herself, Dorothy Draper.  Many of her designs pair busy chintz with orderly stripes. 

Washington designer Kelley Proxmire unabashedly uses chintz in her designs, and she doesn't try to tone it down. I adore the round table covered with bright chintz, surrounded by striped walls.

4.  Avoid roses. 

A black and white chintz armchair in Mark Hampton's New York home adds a touch of traditionalism to this eyecatching room.  But there is nary a rose to be found on his floral chintz chair.   Rose patterned chintz can look tired and dated, so find a chintz with something other than roses.

5.  Choose a chintz with a dark-colored background.

If chintz makes you nervous, choose a chintz with a dark background to incorporate it smoothly into your home.  Chocolate brown and coral chintz works beautifully in this Kelley Proxmire bedroom.

  Here are some of my favorite chintz patterns with a dark background.

Clarence House Carla

Clarence House Mergellina

Do you have any chintz in your house?  If not, are you warming up to the idea?

Save Feeling Chintzy on social network: