Nothing sets the French Country mood like fabrics. Buffalo check, toilles, damasks, and linens are my favorites.
Buffalo Check and Toile
Traditionally, this fabric is a cream mixed with another warm, soft color such as light yellow, blue, green, pink or tan. These look great on pillows, curtains, small furniture pieces, and bedding.
I used blue and cream buffalo check for my kitchen valances and a coordinating toile and grainsack stripe for the sofa pillows in the adjoining den. Toiles were originally produced in Ireland in the mid-18th Century before becoming popular in England and France. The word toile comes from the French word for linen cloth. It is shortened from the full name “Toile de Jouy” meaning “cloth from Jouy-en-Josas,” a town in the suburbs of Paris where a specific type of linen printed with romantic pastoral scenes in a single color on an unbleached fabric. Nothing says French country quite like toile.
I took this same buffalo check used on the kitchen curtains and used it on the back of these chairs in the living room. This gives a sense of continuity to use some of the same fabrics throughout the house. It also gives you the ability to move items from room to room because everything will match.
Opposite these chairs in the living room, is this Victorian sofa which has the same buffalo check on a bolster pillow. I also used the blue and white damask from the valances in the dining room (shown in the next picture) and another coordinating fabric with French wording for the pillows.
Looking from the dining room into the living room, you can see that the damask used on the valances matches the pillows in the living room. Since the pillows in the den and the living room are all the same shades of blues and creams, I can swap them from room to room to have a new look for free. And best of all, toiles, damasks, and buffalo checks are classic patterns, so they never go out of style. French country decor is the same way; it is always fashionable and can be updated with a few accessory changes.
Do you have a favorite French fabric type or pattern?