Lauren Liess' Modern Approach to Chintz

Known for using organic elements to relax otherwise tailored interiors, Lauren Liess (laurenliess.com) shares her best tips for decorating with chintz.
Story by Jennifer Boles; Produced by Zoë Gowen
Lauren Liess
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Home Base: Great Falls, VA

I adore chintz because... it reminds me of my mom's and grandmother's houses. I have great memories of helping my mom select and coordinate her chintz sofa with chintz pillows and chintz curtains.

My approach is... to use colorful, busier patterns to add quirky modernness to a room, and a larger-scale, calmer chintz when I want to introduce a touch of pretty femininity.

In this room... the charcoal-and-cream-colored chintz settee (Pyne Hollyhock Print in Tobacco by Schumacher; fschumacher.com) feels casual and down-to-earth, especially with an overdyed denim blue rug and cream-colored walls. Chintz doesn't have to be a riot of vivid colors. When used in soothing tones, it adds lively pattern in a mellow kind of way.

Make it modern by... using it in moderation. Limit yourself to one piece per room, and mix it with solids and tone-on-tone fabrics to keep the look clean.

An old idea that feels new again... is the way Albert Hadley boldly used overscale chintzes on large statement pieces, such as a sofa or pair of chairs.