Even the name has a lovely ring to it. Chintzy, ritzy, she’s the grand old dame of florals and vintage furnishings – and very much in vogue.

Originally from India, chintz (derived from the Hindi word ‘chint’) started life in the early-1600s as a glazed calico, often printed with oversized flowers. An intricate play on pattern, Portuguese and Dutch traders brought swathes of the stuff to Europe and by the late-1700s, such was its surge in popularity, English mills were producing European-style florals on cotton cloth.

By the 1900s, the Victorians coveted chintz as much as their gin palaces. However, its grand scale prints fell out of fashion after the first world war, resurfaced in the 1940s and ebbed until the 1960s – when Jackie Kennedy famously renovated The White House and featured a bedroom in ‘orange blossom chintz’.

The pendulum swung again in the Eighties, and its country charm status was sealed with ruffles and frills galore, as we flounced through the beautiful world of Laura Ashley.

Today, chintz is turning heads again, both in fashion and florals. “Chintz interiors are having a revival, with more time spent at home we’re seeking out stimulation and interest in our interiors like never before,” says Wil Law, partner and home design stylist, John Lewis.

“Highly decorative patterns on walls and curtains, embellishments on every furnishing, and shapely forms in furniture all liven the home, boosting its visual interest and tactility.”

“Chintz also celebrates natural motifs that connect us to the outdoors in a different way to the ever-popular houseplant trend,” says Law. “Ditsy florals, leaf trails and animal prints are at the heart of chintz patterns and feel very English countryside.

“Chintz has that English charm, often seen in National Trust or English Heritage properties and, as we’re unable to travel as freely, perhaps we’re leaning into interior inspiration closer to home.”

Prioritise comfort

Beyond the literal definition of chintz, relating to floral patterns, Law suggests the broader interior style that captures its character has a relaxed feel, and prioritises comfort.

“It’s all about sinking into the deep, cosy sofas that are swamped in cushions and throws, and sleeping in beds that are layered with soft and charming textiles,” Law notes.

If you’re beginning to work chintz into your home, first and foremost, Law says to choose some characterful patterns on your soft furnishings, and begin to layer these.

“For a more contemporary take on the trend, don’t go for the matching look. Instead, pick distinct patterns and ensure you’re mixing different scales of design, from ditzy to broad, so that each can make its own statement, yet as a collection look harmonious,” Law suggests.

“Alternatively, for an easier-to-live-with and arguably fresher chintz look, ensure you’re mixing in some block colours to set off the patterns and provide visual relief. Combinations like a patterned chintz lampshade against a bright wall colour, or a decorative wallpaper broken by a rich velvet sofa, can look joyful and bold, celebrating the charm of chintz, without feeling themed.”

Credits: envato elements; Author: @afihermatova;

Along with complementary furnishings, floral, chintzy wallpapers add texture and depth, and there’s a style to suit everyone. “We’ve definitely noticed a shift in interiors tastes and trends in recent years, with a move towards heritage designs centred around florals and nature,” says Nina Tarnowski, founder & designer for Woodchip & Magnolia.

“Period-style dramas like Bridgerton and The Crown have fuelled a resurgence in vintage styles, while trends like Cottagecore, a comforting blend of nostalgia and nature, have also soared in popularity.

Statement wallpaper

“For an understated approach to the chintz trend, try introducing a statement wallpaper across all four walls in a calming hue, creamy whites or pale pinks work well and offset against brighter accessories for a pop of colour,” suggests Tarnowski. “If wallpaper across all four walls feels slightly daunting, wallpaper the lower half of the walls and paint the upper half or you could go for a full-on Eighties revival and opt for wallpaper borders instead!”

For a bolder take on chintz, try working striking floral fabrics into your wallpaper scheme. “Choose a complementary pattern and upholster an accent chair or statement sofa in your living room, or if you’re decorating a smaller room, install a patterned roman blind or pair of curtains.

“For an old-meets-new scheme, use contrasting vintage-inspired floral wallpaper, with a modern abstract pattern across your upholstery,” says Tarnowski.

Mix it up

Beyond the flounce-filled heyday of the Eighties, Tarnowski says she’s noticed a shift in tastes and colour palettes, with the new generation of chintz lovers not afraid to mix things up, such as powdery pinks pairing beautifully with masculine dark greens.

“Indeed – greens, blues and yellows are all on the rise, offering a blend of masculine and feminine that suits today’s gender-fluid generation,” she says.