Using Toile in Interior Design
By Nikki Willhite
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 popular.
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 print.
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 a story.
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
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
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 your home.
You will find Toile prints for upholstery, drapes,
bedspreads, wallpaper, and even on dishes.