The saying goes that the earth laughs in flowers, and your interiors will too.
The English are probably the true experts when it comes to floral fabrics and botanical prints in the home. Lady Sybil Colefax and John Fowler of renowned fabric house Colefax and Fowler brought their essentially English look to the rest of the world back in the 1940s - and it's as relevant and enchanting today as it was back then. Often though, the designs are now printed on a linen-based cloth rather than a chintzed cotton, which makes the colour a little more subdued and perhaps a little 'younger'.
One of the biggest looks in recent years has been embroidered florals, which look particularly stunning in bedrooms. Remember, however, to be careful when using embroidered fabrics - a designer will give you advice about their correct application because there are many things to consider.
The latest collections show a different take on these florals, which are now more loosely referred to as 'botanicals' and cover a wide range of styles, colours and designs. One strong look is the negative print, featured in the collection from Lori Weitzner for Sahco, which encompasses delicate images of flowers that seemingly dance across your curtains or cushions. It is a very pretty style, but with a modern twist.
Inkjet printing has made way bloom-inspired fabrics akin to a watercolour paintings that require you to stand back as you would when viewing a painting and look holistically for the actual floral image. Printed on cottons, linens and now velvets too, they add something fabulous to your look and without needing metres of fabric. A cushion, bed head or stunning chair would complement many of this year's deep jewel colours in other collections.
Another stunning way to enjoy a botanical is with a burnout design or dévoré. This lovely technique adds a fragility to the natural beauty of the flowers and leaves and can be used as a sheer fabric for privacy, but also lined with a contrasting lining to emphasise the design.
Perhaps one of the most well-known floral designs is the 'tree of life', which holds significance in many cultures and religions and is lovely to live with. It symbolises immortality and good luck for life and is not too fussy with just a hint of stripe. The roots are grounding and the branches, leaves and flowers reach for the sky. These designs look wonderful when positioned to look out onto your garden because they use many shades of green to bring the outdoors in, particularly with a fresh white or linen-coloured background.
Simple Matelasse fabrics often feature florals and show strongly in bedding. These look like quilt stitching and are a very subtle way to introduce blooms into your home. Floral prints look fabulous when many types and scales are used in a single scheme. It is important, however, to identify a single colour palette. A large scale floral on a sofa or bedroom chair, perhaps a small scale 'ditty' on the bed head and a Matelasse bedspread with some gorgeous bumphed curtains, could work wonders. Another approach is to incorporate lots of simple linen - curtains, loose covers - and then an oversized, bold floral loose linen cover on Grandma's old sofa.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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