This Retro Pattern is Making a Big Comeback—Here’s How to Use it in a More Modern Way

published Feb 21, 2020
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Credit: Ryan Garvin

When you think of contemporary touches for your home, you most likely picture abstract art prints, monstera plants, and cozy faux sheepskin throws. And while all of these design elements are great, sometimes it’s nice to revisit the more traditional side of decor. If your style leans more grandmillennial than mid-century modern, you’ll probably be happy to know that toile, the textile and wall covering pattern know for its depiction of pastoral life, is also enjoying a comeback 2020. This pattern of yesteryear, as shown above in a bathroom by Wendy Joy of W Design, can certainly look modern and even a little edgy. The trick lies in how you style toile with other design elements.

To keep the look fresh, pair toile fabric or wallpaper with pieces that have streamlined silhouettes and modern finishes. Additionally, it’s important to select toile in colorways that appear light and bright, as exemplified by the laundry room above, designed by Alexander Interiors. This sun-filled space could not be more different than the toile-filled parlor rooms of centuries past, and a lot of that has to do with the bright blue color it is printed in.

Maybe the best thing about toile is that it’s always a conversation starter. Once guests take a closer look at these pieces, they’ll want to know all about the story unfolding on your walls, sofas, chairs, and tables. Want to bring a little bit of toile into your space? These items will make sure you’re on the more modern side of the design equation.

Edo Toile Blue Wallpaper

Use this stunning toile wallpaper to recreate a look similar to the one shown in the Nashville laundry room above. To keep the pattern from feeling too busy, we suggest hanging this in a small space like an entryway or powder room. Or use a roll to create a statement wall in a dining room or bedroom. If the light blue colorway isn’t speaking to you, note that the design comes in three other colors, including mint and mustard. We’re also majorly into the styling at work in this install seen here—a contemporary pendant light and sleek brass console keep the room looking warm and welcoming, as opposed to dowdy.

Buy: Edo Toile Blue Wallpaper, $145 $105.00 per roll from Graham & Brown

Westwind Toile Tray

While we always appreciate a good serving piece, this little laminated birch tray from Serena & Lily is making our toile-loving selves quite happy. Use it to serve apps or drinks at your next backyard party or keep it on your coffee table 24/7 for a splash of coastal whimsy. It would also look adorable on a nightstand or dresser, used to corral perfumes, lotions, or jewelry.

Buy: Westwind Toile Tray, Starting at $58.00 from Serena & Lily

Toile Storage Bench

This toile storage bench would look adorable in a playroom or nursery and happens to have been designed in collaboration with one of our favorite photographers, Gray Malin, known for his aerial beach prints. Pair the bench with a fuzzy white rug and a comfy throw, and your little one will be hanging out in style.

Buy: Toile Storage Bench, $425.00 from One Kings Lane

Credit: Target

Pink & White French Toile Throw Pillow

Target has some stunning toile pieces! This affordable pink throw pillow will add charm to a neutral-colored sofa or bedspread while taking you back to simpler times. Pair a few of these patterned cases with solid pieces to balance out the overall look of whatever piece of furniture you’re styling.

Buy: Pink & White French Toile Throw Pillow, $24.99 from Target

Calais Side Chairs

Pair these side chairs with a sleek white tulip table to design a dining nook that marries both modern and traditional elements. Their sturdy wood frames, along with their classic patterned seats, ensure they’ll truly stand the test of time.

Buy: Calais Side Chairs, $450.00 $359.50 for a set of 2 from One Kings Lane