Most people don't have neutral feelings about chintz: they either love it or hate it. Regardless of your feelings, it's undeniable that the floral patterned glazed fabrics are utterly Victorian, utterly romantic, and perfect to appreciate on Valentine's day. Damask roses, primroses, and rounded florals of every variety characterize these glazed calico fabrics that originated in Europe during the 1600s. Modernized and updated in bold, bright colors, chintz was all the rage in the 80's — designers would do entire rooms nuts to bolts in the same fabric. Chintz is usually seen in small doses when used in contemporary interiors.
It's always fun to graze the pages of International shelter magazines and inevitably see images of vintage, aged Victorian furniture covered in faded chintz fabrics that seem a perfect fit for the antique-filled old spaces they occupy (image 1). Also popular is to use chintz in frilly slipcovers or window treatments, pairing the soft appearance with more tailored upholstery and traditional artwork (as in images 2 and 5). Designers use it as a way to add a casual touch, or to break up the formality of a room. There's a unofficial theory amongst old fashioned decorators that chintz goes with anything.
Traditionally, using the same chintz for the drapery, chairs and pillows was the way designers went about it (images 3, 4, 8). The look is romantic, warm, layered, and slightly feminine. For a sharper aesthetic, these days usually a single piece of furniture, such as a settee or a single statement chair, will be covered in chintz, and be the only piece in the room with that particular fabric (images 7, 9 and 10).
Do you have any chintz in your space? Was it inherited or is something new? How do you use this romantic fabric?