Often thought as more of a traditional style, Chintz is now commonly featuring in our modern homes in a colourful and exciting way. Whether it is an appreciation of nostalgia as we have all been at home in lockdown or this ‘Granny Chic’ style coming squarely back into fashion right in time for Spring – we are absorbed with all things Chintz. Vintage and upcycled pieces that tell a story, teamed with floral botanical prints and bright colours resulting in a touch of retro comfort that evokes a sense of fresh cosiness and all lend themselves to Chintz Style.
What is Chintz?
Although we most commonly think of Chintz as an interior style defined with floral patterns and frilly fabrics, it is technically a printed cotton. Chintz is manufactured by a tight knit plain cotton weave being glazed with a vinyl resin glue or starch that results in an elegant ‘polished’ look. The fabric is handprinted and dyed bright vibrant colours, most often imagery including flowers, wildlife and plants. Chintz was originally manufactured in the 16th century in China and India before being exported to Europe, however when this threatened the European mills which could not reproduce the dying processes, there was a ban in importing Chintz fabrics. Eventually the ban was lifted in the 17th century when European mills were able to dye and generate their own Chintz materials which subsequently increased the fabric’s popularity.
Chintz is synonymous with old fashioned, English country style within interior design, however it is having a very modern comeback and featuring in our homes in surprising ways. This homely style is having a ‘moment’ and proving to be a hit with those that prefer a maximalist space. Chintz is being utilised within modern homes rather than traditional and brands such as Liberty and House of Hackney are encouraging us to use Chintz in a fun and striking manner. Chintz features spirited and feminine inspired imagery with bright, lively colours so is a great accent piece within an interior space. It is often used for draperies, curtain, canopy beds, cushions, furniture upholstery and headboards, and within this you can either introduce smaller subtle touches of Chintz or be adventurous with large scale representations of this elegant style.
If you want to inject some chic into your space you could start small by layering accessories such as cushions or bed drapery seen in the home of blogger Julia Berolzheimer. Julia manages to create a fresh yet romantic feel to the home through soothing blue colours and botanical patterns. As she says herself they used decor touches to add personality with the end goal of having a space that was “to be a reflection of our lifestyle and passions and to feel bright and cheerful, while remaining cozy and inviting”. Chintz is a wonderful way of developing a home that is romantic yet encourages you to settle down, unwind and relax.
If you are not sure about whether Chintz will suit your space or personality, integrating minimal touches can help you along with the decision process. Try adding some Chintz inspired wall art and play with imagery and colour hues to see what feels best. This can be easy and cost effective, I suggest sourcing some Chintz wall covering samples from suppliers such as Colefax & Fowler and placing them in frames. You will also find lively and unique wall art by exploring handmade pieces on Etsy such as these simplistic hanging brass frames with authentic pressed flower displays.
If you are feeling brave Chintz can feel dynamic and daring in larger doses, whether you layer prints and patterns or go big with long length fabrics for you window treatment or as bedroom canopies. However, it is important to remember that too much of Chintz can feel outdated and overly garish so you have to strike the right balance – you want to enhance not overwhelm! In modern interiors we are seeing an energetic clash of classically floral patterns with moody hues and contemporary furnishings. This clever combination makes a statement and can result in a space that is as blousy as it is vigorous.