Home Ownership

Chintz Is Back: How to Use It in Your Decor

Chintz, that bright, floral fabric that often has a glossy finish, has been around for centuries – but its popularity has waxed and waned over the years.

In recent history, chintz had a real heyday in the 1980s, when it was widely used on everything from couches and curtains to wallpaper and clothing. Somewhere in the 1990s, as grunge fashion took over and home decor switched to neutrals, however, it had a big fall from grace. Once it was out, the term “chintzy” even became slang to mean something that was of questionable quality or distinctly old-fashioned.

Well, like most things in fashion, chintz’s popularity has cycled around again. Minimalism and modernism seem to have lost their allure, and experts say that the “Grand Millennial” or “Grannycore” aesthetics are “in.” Experts also speculate that the popularity of nostalgic television shows where chintz is a distinct part of the set designs (think “The Crown” or “Bridgerton”) has also spurred on the trend. Plus, the florals tap into the overall collective shift people have made toward incorporating more natural and “green” elements into their surroundings.

Whatever the cause of the shift, decorators are once again using chintz quite freely – and people seem to love its energy and eclecticism. It’s forecast to be one of the biggest interior design trends coming.

So, how can you incorporate chintz into your home’s decor? Here are some ideas:

Use Chintz to Cover a Couch or a Chair

One of the most common ways to ease chintz into your home’s decor is to start with your couch or favorite chair. 

Look for a floral pattern that prominently includes the main colors in your living room. If your walls are uniformly neutral, you don’t have to repaint, just incorporate any accent colors that you’ve already got in use. Large, bold flowers on cream or white backgrounds automatically look elegant and fresh to modern eyes, while a solid-color floral design on top of a solid-color background is tastefully understated.

The best part about this tactic is you don’t even need to totally commit to the look. If you’re not ready to replace your couch or easy chair, you can get chintz slipcovers that are absolutely lovely. That can allow you to experiment with the style without any big expense or effort.

Use Chintz in Your Window Treatments

This is another low-commitment way to add chintz to your decor elements – and you can take things in several different directions very easily. 

If you want to create a sense of subtle luxury in your living room, for example, you may look for curtains with warm colors or a floral pattern that’s textured instead of brightly colored. If you want to recreate the romance of a different time in your bedroom, instead, go with a purposefully faded chintz that has a vintage feel. 

If floral curtains feel a bit “too much” to start with, consider using chintz sheers under your existing curtains, in complementary tones. Soft florals that seem “barely there” can actually transform the look of a whole room without feeling overwhelming.

Use Chintz on Your Pillows and Seat Cushions

Instead of going for big, bold florals, why not focus on small-scale patterns that are more adaptable for use with an eclectic assortment of other fabrics and designs? Small-scale florals look great and have a relaxed feel that can convey comfort and warmth anywhere people gather, like the dining room, the chairs on your back deck or your reading nook. 

Adding chintz to your decor this way makes it easy to experiment with a look without a huge investment. Once again, if you choose a floral design that works with your existing color scheme, you can simply mix the chintz throw pillows in with your existing ones. Covering a seat cushion is also inexpensive, especially if you make it a DIY project.

Use Chintz on Your Accent Wall (or All Over)

Are you ready to make a bold design statement? If so, it may be time to put some chintz wallpaper up – but be very conscious of the size of the florals you choose. 

If you want to add chintz to the walls of a small room, large florals with bright colors can be very overwhelming, while dark colors can leave a room a bit claustrophobic, so stick with small-scale florals, instead. Save the big, splashy florals for a room that feels very open, as they can easily add warmth and a sense of comfort. 

Thanks to the popularity of “peel-and-stick” wallpaper, you can start with an accent wall to see how the pattern you’ve picked affects the mood of a room. From there, you can either change it, leave it be or expand the pattern to the remaining walls. 

Use Chintz in Your Bathroom or Kitchen

People are already getting creative when it comes to using chintz to update the overly spartan looks that were so prevalent in home fashion for so long – and it’s easy to do that in your bathroom or kitchen.

That ultra-white bathroom may have had a “spa feel” when you first designed it, but now it may simply feel utterly devoid of personality, so update it with a chintz shower curtain and matching towels. Add in a few floral baskets to hold makeup, brushes and other bathroom items, and you have a complete mini-renovation.

Open cabinets in kitchens are another modern look that has already lost its charm for many, precisely because they’re very hard to keep organized in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. Chintz drapings hung over the open cupboards can allow you to be a little messy without worrying about how it looks.

The floral prints used in chintz make it exceptionally practical for use in the home, simply because they hide dirt and don’t show their wear very easily, but a lot of people aren’t sure how to mix and match design elements without creating chaos. If you’re worried that you may go too far or you simply don’t have the eye to make everything work together, an interior designer can definitely help.