Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Lavish Prints: Pros and Cons

We all know what a few colorful prints can bring to our wardrobes; they inject verve, flair and a sense of fun, but rarely offer the mileage of a little black sleeveless dress. However, when it comes to upholstery, wild multi-color prints can be surprisingly versatile.

A lush paisley such as "Riviere's Enchantee," used above by Todd Romano, is loaded with possibilities. (House & Garden sourced it as Brunschwig & Fils.)

When a print contains five or more hues, you can pull any one of them for wall color, side chairs, pillows and so forth. An added bonus: in my experience dense patterns beautifully camouflage smudges from tiny fingers.

You can also layer pattern upon pattern, as Peter Dunham does so masterfully.

The downside of prints? For one thing cost. It typically takes 26 yards of a large-scale print to upholster sofas similar to the ones shown here. Nice simple solid cottons and linens are also easier to find at budget friendly prices. (This is why I tend to choose prints for ottomans or benches and opt for solid sofas.)

But if you have a sharp sense of your own aesthetic, know you truly love a certain print -- it's not just a crush -- and can afford the fabric, lavish prints can be an investment that will endure.

Fun link for textile fans: the Leman Album.

Credits: Milly tote shown top available through Shopbop; Milly dress is from Neiman Marcus; 1960s "It Girl," Penelope Tree, photographed by David Bailey for Vogue, February 1969; Todd Romano photos by Michael Mundy for House & Garden, March 2004; Dunham photo by Miguel Flores-Vianna for domino, April 2008.


Mrs. Blandings said...

Have I missed the bench? I keep thinking we are going to get a viewing.

Style Court said...

Yeah, I posted it while you were on vacation. I'll email you the link :)

pve design said...

In regards to prints, I have always love Etro for fashion, Hermes for silk scarves and one day will frame my collection or better yet, it would be very chic to have a couch slip-covered.
Court, your post for prints makes me print crazy!

Style Court said...

Patricia the artist,

LOVE your examples and ideas! Totally agree.

cotedetexas said...

Courtney this is a wonderful post! I"m loving your fabric lessons, very interesting!


Style Court said...

Joni, just my little perspective. You certainly know your prints!!