Celerie Kemble's Fresh Approach to Chintz

Known for her whimsical combos of colors and patterns, Celerie Kemble (kembleinteriors.com) shares her best tips for decorating with chintz.
Story by Jennifer Boles; Produced by Zoë Gowen
Celerie Kemble
Celerie's Tip: Pull a room's color palette from your favorite chintz fabric. It will give you a complete range of harmonious hues.
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Hometown: Palm Beach, FL

I adore chintz because... it's like a feminine voice that's always graceful, never shrill. Using even a little of the floral print sets just the right mood for a room.

My chintz approach... varies by room. I practice restraint in more public areas, such as living rooms, and work in the pattern through accent pieces such as pillows. But in private spaces, such as bedrooms, I use it all over on the curtains, headboard, bed skirt, and chair.

In this room... all of the colors bloomed from a vintage remnant of chintz. The fabric's acid green, teal blue, and plum tones were exactly the colors I wanted. Then, I piled on a fresh combination of additional pillows with more chintz (Hollyhock Block in Lemon/Aqua by Lee Jofa; leejofa.com) and graphic ikat patterns as well as a bold geometric dhurrie rug.

Make it modern by... using it in all forms except in a balloon shade or heavy valance. Chintz has been sidelined for the last 20 years. I think it feels incredibly fresh now.

An old idea that feels new again... is to mix multiple chintz patterns. Colefax and Fowler knew that the more chintz there is in a room, the less any one fabric will dominate.