House & Garden image by Simon bROWN


OK folks it's a new year, a fresh start, the chance to go crazy and do things you've spent the last year talking about but didn't get around to making happen. I'm referring to myself here by the way, but nevertheless I feel now more than ever, and the same goes for lots of people I've spoken with, the coming year has to be about DOING stuff, less of the chat and more action-packed.  

For me, last year really was full of "thinking" - I did so much of it, I almost went bananas, but it had a purpose and I have been able to home in and focus on my true interior loves, one of which most certainly is, CHINTZ.   I hear you, I hear you, what am I talking about.  I realise for many this word conjures up horrifying flashbacks of floor to ceiling prints with matching bedspreads and ruched blinds (festoon blinds if you want the technical term).  But, I'm pretty sure, I hope, for at least some of you, chintz reminds you of the days of Laura Ashley in the 80's when her small-scale prints were everywhere and that warm, cosy and sumptuous feeling of being surrounded by pretty prints was rather pleasant? It certainly was for me.  I remember after we moved from the white walls and giant modern canvases which adorned our house in London, the country abode quickly got filled to the brim with terracotta rag-rolled walls and patterned lampshades, which matched the wallpaper, which matched the curtains, which matched the contrast patterned pelmet... you get the idea. 


When IKEA launched their "Chuck Out Your Chintz" TV campaign in 1996 (nooooooo) - we all got so excited at the thought of creating a fresh and modern look in our homes.  Very quickly indeed, skips lining the streets were full of the stuff, literally the advert became real life.   This movement paved the way for simple living and the minimalist wave.  Understandably, it was a chance to breath new life into one's home with affordable and funky homewares and get rid of the clutter.  There was, however, a backlash amongst folk with more traditional tastes who stuck to their chintzy guns and avoided IKEA like the plague by opting to keep their homes entirely Sanderson - these guys will now be shouting "I told you so" from the rooftops, as the chintz revival looms. 


I feel we have already entered into the chintz time warp with the current abundance of wallpapers like we had back in the 80's and big bold floral designs which are everywhere.  And because of this we are probably ready for the next level.  I do feel the need to action (crucial word here) some nostalgic decor in the form of chintz and have started with my first chintz purchase of 2018.  This is in the form of a teeny tiny second hand floral frilly sofa I bought last week on the Kings Road for £60.  I've just got to work out how I'm going to get it back here to Herefordshire, but at least I have made a start on the chintz campaign.  This is the first step at chucking IN some chintz and I know it's going to look glorious in the living room next to our glass cube side table - gulp, or at least I hope it does. 

If you fancy bringing back some 80's frilly nostalgia but with a modern twang, there are two obvious ways to do this, detailed below. 



This is, I think, where the chintz route will take most of us, just adding a little hint here and there of the frill or floral.   This lovely country style room set above right, styled by Gabby Deeming, using Farrow & Ball heritage paint and a Bowood fabric covered sofa works well with an otherwise plain and simple interior.  Also above is the beautiful floral sofa to the left, a collaboration between Anthropologie and Liberty merging heritage with contemporary, set against a modern backdrop. 

Adding in super modern elements like this, with chintz, is a fab look (we're also going down the granny chic route here).  If you don't fancy the frill just yet, add in some fringe on say a lamp, which is a little more contemporary and hipster at the moment.  For a light and fresh approach try adding some contemporary florals like the above into the mix which is a good gateway into chintz, read my Ways to Add Florals to Your Home article from last year for more on this.  For more traditional chintz inspired looks check out the House & Garden archive HERE which is totally fabulous and full of old school looks.    


 House of Hackney Nursery 

House of Hackney were brave enough to start this whole maximalist vibe with their victorian gothic signature look, which I totally adore.  In this camp, clearly the way forward is to go full on chintz-tastic, as matchy-matchy as you possibly can.  Entry level may be a children's bedroom or nursery like this example from Little House of Hackney where you can afford to risk the full look a bit more.   


I think, or at least hope, we are on the brink of a more broad and accessible chintz revival.  It's my goal to have an entire room matched to the hilt including carpet, but for now I'll see how the new sofa looks....

So what are your thoughts on chintz and it's mighty comeback?

Join me on my mission to #ChuckInSomeChintz and let's bring back that 80's pattern-tastic heaven.  

(I predict a riot) 

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Images:  Simon Brown for House & Garden |  Jake Curtis for House & Garden | Anthropologie