7 ways to bring toile into your decor – the European print that makes any room feel classic

Interior designers on how to decorate with toile, whether you're a maximalist or take a more subtle approach

How to decorate with toile
(Image credit: Tuft and Trim/Little Green/Arte)

Knowing how to decorate with toile in a way that feels tasteful rather than overwhelming can be quite the challenge. But this design has been around for centuries, so there are plenty of places to find inspiring ideas.

Toile fabric was first produced in the 18th century, so it's not unusual to find decor of the style in more traditional homes, although it suits contemporary spaces just as well. This design depicts a repeated pattern of scenes usually featuring people, animals, and nature, most commonly on fabrics, wallpapers, and wall decor items. 

From maximalist schemes decked out in toile wallpaper to more subtle additions through pillow covers and upholstery, this pattern can add an abundance of character when styled right. To find out how to decorate with toile the right way, we've asked interior designers to weigh in with their favorite designs.

What is toile?

‘The toile pattern originated in the 18th century as printing methods allowed for greater detail to be depicted within cloth and paper, as well as a larger repeat. This particular style of decoration celebrates a pictorial storytelling approach, with idyllic scenes of rural and pastoral life delicately depicted as vignettes,' explains Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene.

'Toile patterns bring a wonderful and yet calming sense of storytelling to an interior, that can feel very soft and dreamy. Often depicted in a single color with a patination that feels subtle through gentle brushstrokes, toile patterns are easy to scheme with, working well in more traditional interiors as well as contrasting with contemporary elements for an unexpected combination,' she adds.

How to decorate with toile 

Maximalism is all the rage for 2024, and toile is the perfect print to add playful character to your home. Not everyone feels confident decorating with busier designs, so whether you favor a daring scheme or want to inject a more subtle decor item, there's a way to decorate with toile to suit every style.

1. Pattern drench with matching wallpaper, drapes and bedding

Bedroom decorated with black and white toile wallpaper, matched with the headboard and bedding

(Image credit: Anthony Baratta)

Toile is a wonderful design for creating a maximalist space, and what could be more impactful than a pattern-drenched scheme? 'I have been using toile de Jouy fabrics for my entire career. I think I’ve had the most success with it when I have covered the walls, furniture and drapery in a room in the same toile pattern,' says interior designer Anthony Baratta.

'The prints become a great background and play well with lots of other traditional fabrics. I like to mix it with floral prints, plaids, and quilt patterns. The freshness of the white background of the toile always seems upbeat to me. It can relax a more formal space and give a country house vibe to any interior,' he adds.

In this bedroom design, he has chosen a black and white toile to use across the wallpaper, bedding, and drapes, while hints of blue have been introduced through the carpet, chair, and bedside table decor. The result is an unexpectedly fresh and inviting bedroom that feels timeless.

2. Add toile wallpaper in a hallway

Hallway decorated with toile wallpaper from Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Hallways and entryways can be difficult spaces to decorate – they need to be hardwearing, but they should also offer a preview into the rest of your home's style. Introducing a toile wallpaper is a simple yet effective choice, offering a fun pattern whilst still feeling sophisticated.

'Toile wallpapers add an element of depth and dimension as well as a whimsical ambiance. Avoid combining with harsh whites and instead pair with soft neutrals for a more harmonious finish,' says Ruth Mottershead.

'Or take the color of the pattern and extend this shade across woodwork and the ceiling for a similar approach to a color drench, creating a sense of warmth and comfort that makes for a luxurious and intimate space,' she adds.

3. Opt for toile bedding

Toile bedding

(Image credit: Tuft and Trim)

Decorating with toile isn't limited to wallpaper – for something that feels less permanent, introducing toile through bedding adds an eye-catching detail to your bedroom without costing a fortune.

'Toile is timeless. It has a way of elevating a space with its understated elegance. I try to bring it to focus by incorporating toile patterns through bedding,' says Courtney Davey, of Tuft and Trim.

In this bedroom color scheme, a palette of pink, green, and cream with gold accents has been introduced, inspired by the tones featured in the toile bedding. The result is a calming, feminine space that offers a balance of playfulness and elegance.

4. Upholster a chair in toile fabric

Armchair upholstered in a blue and white toile fabric

(Image credit: Anthony Baratta)

Decorating with toile was originally done with fabric, so introducing textiles into your scheme is a traditional way to add toile. In this design by Anthony Baratta, a classic wing-back armchair has been upholstered in a blue and white toile fabric, adding a bright, uplifting feature to the room.

If you want to take it one step further, decorate with toile wallpaper in the same design and color way, or introduce other matching textiles into the space, whether it be cushion covers or curtains. This creates an eclectic scheme that feels balanced and gives a sense of grandeur to a room.

5. Add a toile accent wall

Bedroom with a toile wallpaper accent wall

(Image credit: Arte)

There are lots of different ways to decorate with toile wallpaper, so if you don't want to cover an entire space from wall to wall, opt for something more understated. ‘Traditionally toile was used as all over the room, across upholstery and walls, and yet I think it also suits as an accent wall, or framed within paneling where it can become its own piece of art,' says Philippe Desart, managing director at Arte.

'It is also important to think about how you wish to view the toile when within the room, considering whether your furniture faces it or not. In the bedroom, you might want to wake up and enjoy the view of the wallpaper from your bed and paper the wall opposite, or you may prefer to have the feature wall framing the bed and headboard behind, which creates a cozy, enveloping feel,' he adds.

In this bedroom design, a warm neutral color palette has been carried throughout the scheme, and an accent wall of toile wallpaper has been added behind the headboard, adding a cozy atmosphere to the space.

6. Create a monochromatic scheme

Toile bedroom

(Image credit: Pickering House Interiors)

A monochrome color scheme offers a sense of luxury to a space, especially in a bedroom. Choosing a strong color palette that feels calming and sophisticated can set the tone for the rest of your scheme, leaving your interiors feeling elevated and cohesive.

'Most of the time, a toile is a perfect setup for a more monochromatic color story.  So, although it may be complex, it begs a simpler approach to a room. I always find that harmony to be interesting,' says Joshua Pickering, of Pickering House Interiors.

The color palette in this bedroom is warm and rich, and every element of the decor feels in keeping with the chosen scheme. Sticking to only using pattern through the toile pillow cases draws your eye to them and makes them a focal point in the space.

7. Wallpaper the bathroom

Bathroom decorated with toile wallpaper

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Perhaps a less expected room to add wallpaper, but a bathroom really benefits from being covered in wallpaper – it adds an abundance of character, and toile's busy design makes it harder wearing than other prints.

'Our Stag Toile is taken from an original 19th Century English linen and features a single-color print of a woodland stag set against an evocative, leafy forest-inspired design, arranged in a much less formal depiction than the typical toile de Jouy,' says Ruth Mottershead. 

If you don't want to wallpaper a bathroom, toile works just as well in a cloakroom or utility room. 'It can be embraced across all four walls and the ceiling for a wonderfully cocooning and enveloping ambiance,' she adds.

Shop toile decor

Decorating with toile doesn't need to be complicated. This traditional design offers timeless appeal to any scheme, and can be introduced to spaces both traditional and contemporary. Whether your a maximalist who pattern drenches with toile, or prefer something more paired-back, there are plenty of ways to introduce toile to your interiors that feels tasteful and elegant. 

Kitchens & Bathrooms Editor

I joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as the kitchens & bathrooms editor. My undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which I studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, I worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to timeless kitchen schemes and the best places to source pre-loved homeware.