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Living Space: Chintz is back, but forget about boring

By By Kathryn Weber
June 5, 2014 at 1:05 a.m.

Whether you go with today's new patterns or traditional florals, decorating with chintz adds a warm, welcoming touch.

Chintz has been making a comeback after decades of banishment. Once a standard in interior design, especially for upholstery and drapes, this glazed fabric usually featured floral prints on a light-colored background.

Things have changed.

Today's chintz can feature any number of patterns, from basic floral to vivid Chinoise or toile. Waverly's Empress Chintz Lemongrass fabric marries chintz fabric with a fresh design in yellow, gray and cream that would be at home in a contemporary living room.

Of course, those classic chintz designs are still around. Take the classic patterns of Brunschwig and Fils Elspeth or Tessa. There's a romantic style to chintz florals that can't be duplicated by any other fabric.

The timelessness of chintz is part of its appeal, adding softness to any room. Whether you go with today's new patterns and colors or traditional florals, decorating with chintz adds a warm, welcoming touch. Particularly in summer, a bright floral against a white background feels cool and crisp.

Once upon a time, chintz fabric was splashed across every chair, curtain, couch, ottoman and even the walls of many homes - literally bathing the rooms in a single design. Today, using chintz for a single sofa or pair of chairs is enough to bring a fresh lightness to a room. In the bedroom, use chintz for a canopied bed - and let it take center stage rather than fade into the background against floral walls.

For a simple decorating project, try recovering your dining chairs with chintz to bring an old world feel to the dining room.

Mix it up

A combination of chintz patterns can make a room feel more balanced and trendy. A striped chintz pattern on a sofa with floral-patterned chairs looks fabulous and chic in the living room. Not ready to commit? Why not try chintz slipcovers? You'll create and new look and add years of use to your upholstery at the same time.

For the budget-conscious, try adding chintz throw pillows for a dash of floral elegance. For an eclectic look, fill a sofa with chintz pillows in different patterns.

To lend a romantic softness, hang pairs of chintz curtain panels that softly puddle on the floor, or create a colorful chintz slipcover for your headboard.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.

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