Decorating with toile de Jouy fabric adds a touch of luxury to French country homes, French style window treatments and ... well, anything French, really ;-) So here's a closer look at toile for windows.
Traditional toile de Jouy is a densely woven medium-weight cotton fabric.
As a curtain or blind, it will keep some light out, but not a lot. If you want your window coverings darker or lighter, use toile in one of the following ways:
For lighter window treatments, limit toile to the areas above or outside the actual window (e.g. as a pelmet). Here are some examples! For darker window treatments, consider blackout curtain lining or laminated blinds (more about this below).
To really show off a toile pattern, try some of the following ideas for window decorating with toile:
Roman blinds or roller blinds are perfect for toile fabrics. With a light source behind the drawn blind, the printed imagery is illuminated and turns the blind into a picture on the wall.
You could also check with shade suppliers in your part of the world to see if they can laminate your favorite toile fabric to a vinyl blind of your choice.
2. Toile "Shutters"
I've come across two interesting ways of hanging fabric flat across a window - perfect for decorating with toile.
The first version (#1, above) consists of a curtain track/rod above the window, extending to one side, so that the toile panel can slide away from the window during the day and hang on the wall as a 'picture'. To keep the fabric flat and taut, make a tunnel at the top and bottom of the panel and pull a thin rod through each.
The second version (#2, right) uses an L-shaped metal rod that is hinged to the wall and swings away from the window when not in use (this can be a good option when you're dealing with an awkward window).
The L-shaped rod can carry a flat (#2) or a gathered (#3) fabric panel - either one looks nice when you're decorating with toile, but the flat panel shows more of the actual print design.
3. Valances and Cornices:
Toile is perfect 'crowning' material for a window. You can use it for
... and so on. The variety I have seen most in French provincial decorating is a no-frills, straight valance - just the fabric in all its glory.
4. French country drapes
Here in Europe, window decorating with toile often involves two layers: a white, see-through window curtain and heavier, lined drapes that are drawn in the evening.
French country drapes don't need to consist entirely of toile, though.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
... Decorating With Toile Gone Haywire!
Don't feel you have to do this to your own bathroom.
For most contemporary bathrooms, some toile accents are more than enough. For example ...
1. Toile Shower Curtains
For instant bathroom Frenchification, a toile shower curtain is the perfect accessory. Just one caveat: If you're buying a toile curtain that has some white in it (most do), make sure it matches the white of your tiles/sink/tub as much as possible. If the shower curtain looks too grey or yellow, it will appear 'dirty' against a crisp white background.
With toile shower curtains, there's also a very simple way to create your own, 'one-of' design!
2. Toile Towels & Bath Mats
Caution: Be extra careful and stick to just one colorway when you're decorating with toile. In a bathroom, with the usual colorful bathroom utensils sitting around, it's easy to create a "color mess".
This section of Decorating With Toile is about the small things that can make a big difference.
How small? Think cutoffs & snippets. Even the smallest bits of fabric are a goldmine of country French craft & decorating ideas. Here are some ideas for leftover toile:
Check out eBay's selection of inexpensive vintage toile below, too.