Interior Design

Chintz gets a contemporary makeover – everything you need to know about this maximalist microtrend

Florals are the future

Chintz prints microtrend, botanical inspired living room
(Image credit: Arlo & Jacob)

The line between indoor and outdoor living has never felt so blurred, and we couldn't be happier. Following a year inside, we are indulging in a microtrend that will celebrate the season through elegant floral prints and overflowing greenery: chintz. 

See: Fabric trends 2021 – the colors, patterns and materials to use now

Searches for chintz prints have recently jumped by 240% on average, while demands for chintz fabrics have increased by 125%. These statistics are unsurprising, however, as we search for ways to inject remnants of faraway travels into our interiors.

While chintz has, historically, fallen in and out of fashion, we have a feeling that this time, it is here to stay. But what makes this microtrend so different from its heritage? These interior experts let us know – while suggesting ways to bring this trend into our homes, for good.

What is chintz?

Chintz: Matthew Williamson light for lighting and interior design tips

(Image credit: Matthew Williamson)

Chintz is printed, multicolored cotton fabric with a smooth, shiny, glazed finish and dull back. Think cottagecore and classic country-style florals. 'Chintz' is used describe fabric for curtains and upholstery, but also wallpaper designs.

What is chintz in history? Chintz was a calico either stained, painted or woodblock-printed. Originally made in Hyderabad, India, between 1600 and 1800, it was manufactured at scale by the Victorians, who liked that it could be wiped clean. 

Its popularity waxed and waned in the 20th Century – and by the 1980s was generally agreed to be unfashionable. Until now.

Is chintz coming back into style?

'Chintz is certainly coming back into style. In fact, we are seeing a real surge of nostalgia for historical designs all round this year,' says Homes & Gardens Editor in Chief Lucy Searle. 'The use of chintz in contemporary interiors isn't at all restrained – it is fashionable to repeat the same design on walls, at windows and in furnishings, such as upholstery and accessories. The modern twist is that colors are bolder than ever.' 

Expert advice on decorating with chintz

You can use chintz to make any room prettier in an instant. These are just some of our experts' favorite ways...

1. Choose chintz for an investment piece

Chintz prints, living room with botanical decor

(Image credit: Arlo & Jacob)

Chintz has come a long way since its resurgence in the 1940s and again in the swinging sixties and seventies, as people embraced chintz's nostalgic allure and striking patterns. Today, however, homeowners are prioritizing sustainability and are investing in larger, more lavish pieces that will remain in their homes for longer. 

British-based furniture designers, Arlo & Jacob, are among the interior manufacturers who are paying homage to this wholly aesthetic microtrend, as Laura Barnard, buying and merchandising manager, shares: 

'We are confident that chintz's popularity is lasting and impactful. Chintz, greenery (above) is a botanically inspired large-scale motif of ferns. The beautiful foliage plants add softness and movement in a variety of leaf green hues. 

'Forget small home accessories, when it comes to green, our customers want big-ticket items like chaises and whole suites.'

2. Indulge in chintz fabrics for cushions

Chintz: Kit Kemp X Andrew Martin Chintz fabric collection

(Image credit: Kit Kemp X Andrew Martin)

If you're thinking of indulging in the natural beauty of chintz, but are not quite sure where to begin, then look no further than the queen of maximalism, Kit Kemp. The celebrated designer has teamed up with global design brand Andrew Martin who has just launched a timely chintz collection. 

The Kit Kemp for Andrew Martin Collection (above) merges a selection of contemporary fabrics with 'one eye in the past and one in the future, bringing us squarely up to the present.' Their collection also embodies a lyrical spirit that will turn any space into a botanical paradise – whether you are in an urban jungle or the heart of the country. 

See: Kit Kemp's interior design tips – a masterclass

'It's fun bringing an old material like chintz bang up to date,' Kit explains before sharing how this fearless subversion is an ethos both herself and Martin share. 'Martin can really take something ordinary and make it extraordinary.'

'And Kit's trademark is courage with color,' Martin adds. 

3. Cover a headboard in chintz

Chintz: Headboard ideas on a floral bed

(Image credit: Future)

'Large-scale chintz prints used over large-scale furnishings are on trend for 2021,' says Lucy Searle. 'You can see how, in this H&G bedroom shoot, chintz has been matched with graphic motifs and a rug with an Oriental appeal. This is the contemporary approach to chintz.'

4. Dress up your walls with chintz


(Image credit: Future)

Parallel to the rise in demand for chintz fabrics and soft furnishings, nature-inspired wallpaper has seen a 462.5% increase recently – another image from our photo shoot displays the contemporary approach to chintz, above. 

The study, by UK-based wallpaper design brand I Want Wallpaper, further celebrates the growing adoration for chintz furnishings amid a time when the longing for verdant pastures and faraway lands remains at the forefront of all our minds. And you will even see quite contemporary country wallpaper ideas for kitchens featuring chintz.

'If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we often underestimate how important nature is for our mental health and well-being. We're all looking for ways to incorporate natural touches to our homes,' shares Alex Whitecroft, Head of Design.

5. Choose chintz for curtains


(Image credit: Future/Polly Eltes)

Bold colors in even the most traditional of chintz patterns is the trend we're seeing for 2021 onwards – and the perfect furnishing to use this type of design is in curtains. Even country style cottages will look stylish with this contemporary approach.

See: Cottage curtain ideas – inspiration for a pretty, cozy home

'A space with a good visual connection to nature can be calming, help improve our mood and have a positive impact on our well-being,' Alex Whitecroft adds.

We're persuaded. It's time to bring the great outdoors, inside.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.