Toile de jouy fabric originated in France in the 1760s. The original patterns usually depicted pastoral scenes; today there are many pattern choices and colors available. Here are dozens of ways to use toile to enliven a room, including decorating tips.
The French patterned cotton fabric known as toile de Jouy got its start in 1760 at a textile factory in the village of Jouy-en-Josas, southwest of Paris near Versailles. "Toile" simply means "cloth" in French, so that toile de Jouy literally means cloth of Jouy. But known more commonly by its shortened name, toile doesn't refer to just any cotton print from that region of France. Toile has a distinct look, even though it is available in a range of colors and patterns. The original 1760s patterns usually depicted pastoral scenes of the French countryside. Then more exotic Chinese themes became popular, as did famous moments from history. All were hand-drawn in a curvaceous style with fine detail that was then etched onto wood blocks and printed onto the fabric.
The red-on-crème toile that covers this guest bedroom's walls and accents its daybed as a skirt and neck-roll pillow incorporates hunting dogs into a leafy background, which repeats as a lattice grid to give the pattern a geometric order.
Tip: Take toile to the walls to create major character in a plain box bedroom, then repeat the pattern in tiny doses--on the neckrolls and bedskirt--to knit the space together.
By Candace Ord Manroe