Design by the Details: Chintz


WHAT: Glazed fabric usually with a floral or bold pattern.

HISTORY: Chintz originated in India, strictly speaking it is a glazed fabric, but modernly it is known more for the grandmotherly floral patterns rather than the glaze.  The Indian woodblock was printed on the calico (muslin) fabric and put through a process called calendaring to get the shiny glaze.  During calendaring the fabric is put through rollers that put pressure and heat on the fabric resulting in a glaze.  The glaze is not permanent and fades with time & use.  Chintz was being imported from India into Europe at an alarming rate for the government, who banned chintz imports in France and England.

USES: Not to worry, chintz is no longer contraband and has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the past few years.  Now, you can do a lot of chintz or just a little with a pillow or lampshade.  Keep it modern by mixing it with animal prints or ikat.  Also works great with fun, bright colors and geometrics.  Can add a wonderful amount of history to a room, like a chair passed down from your chic English grandmother, because who’s to know your Grams was born in New Jersey?

1. Tree Poppy Union by Colefax and Fowler 2. Chintz Indian Textiles for the West 3. Christies  4. Meredith’s Mercantile 5. Design for Chintz by William Kilburn 6. Elizabeth by Schumacher

Michael Smith Bel Air in Elle Decor
Also visit last month’s installment of Design by the Details: Cloisonne.

Up next: Faux Bois!

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  1. I’ve loved Chintz since I saw one of my favorite designers and authors using it years ago. I hope it is making a comeback, because it’s so durable, only gets more beautiful with age, and so pretty!

  2. Chintz is just so lovely. There’s something so cheery about it.

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