Decorating with Toile
by Nikki Willhite - Willhite@aol.com
Description: Tips for decorating your home with toile.
Toile is decorating pattern that has been around since the
1800's. It is a classic. It is good for the frugal decorator
because it never goes out of style. Right now it is extremely
The Toile design came from the French. If you've never heard the
word spoken, it is just one syllable and sounds like "twall".
Using Toile is like using a floral print, but is not as easily
dated as a floral print. You can always recognize a vintage
floral print. They are very abstract. The flowers are not as
real looking as they are in today's prints. The pinks are peach,
and the blues lean toward aqua.
Most Toile fabric is only two colors. The background is usually
white or cream, and the design is printed in blue, white,
black/charcoal or red. These limited colors help keep the fabric
from looking dated.
Toile is often made in a very soft fabric so that it drapes well.
At first it was used for draperies and bedspreads, but now you
will find it on all types of furniture, accessories, and even
Toile is considered an elegant and romantic fabric. You can
decorate very dramatically with Toile by painting your walls a
vibrant color and then using nothing but Toile in your room.
This is often done with red walls and a black and white toile
Toile fabrics picture scenes from daily life, from peasants
working in fields, to exotic landscapes and cherubic angels.
American Toile often depicts historical American patriotic events
and symbols. The scenes depicted on the cloth are meant to tell
There is a lot of rhythm on the fabric, as the scene is a pattern
repeating all over the fabric. Toile has a lot of curved lines,
which is why it is treated as a floral. It goes well with
stripes and plaids.
Toile designs are suitable for both formal and informal rooms.
At one time, they were used extensively in almost every formal
room. Toile blends wonderfully into a shabby chic room, giving
it a sense of age, which people try so hard to get by distressing
You will find Toile prints for upholstery, drapes, bedspreads,
wallpaper, and even on dishes. I put this article up on the
website with a couple pictures. Click here to look at them.
If you want to add a touch of elegance to your home, think about
adding some Toile fabric. Start with a pillow. It doesn't take
much fabric to bring a little elegance and sophistication to you
Reprinted with permission from
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