Adding Elegance with French Linen
A bed is functional, but a bed dressed in layers of French linens adds elegance to function. When you introduce fine French linens into your home, a sense of luxury abounds. The bedroom becomes your private oasis of comfort and solace.
To incorporate French linens into your bedroom, dress your bed in a color that is soothing. Ask yourself which pattern or print would bring you tranquility at the end of a stressful day. Begin by choosing a duvet cover that appeals to your senses, then build upon that color scheme.
Layers are a must for a European sense of luxury. A coordinating pettiskirt draped from the bed creates dimension. The use of Provençal-colored sheets, such as cornflower blue, terra-cotta red and saffron yellow, bring life to an otherwise simple style of all one color. Combine a solid-colored fitted sheet with a stunning print, pattern or toile flat sheet; mixing patterns and prints need not be a daunting dilemma. Simply remember to repeat a single dominant color throughout the linens.
Pillow shams that match the pattern or color of the duvet are subtle and soothing. Or, pillow shams can be used to introduce different shades by pulling color from an upholstered chair or wall covering. To be truly pampered, finish dressing your bed with a lush array of soft pillows in various sizes. European shams placed in the back, with the standard-sized shams and boudoir shams in front, create a cascade of sensuous comfort.
To set the stage, turn down the flat sheet and duvet to display the coordinating patterns and colors. Continue the color scheme on the tablecloths covering the bedside tables. Soften the tablecloths and add a romantic element with a Venetian lace doily. Arrange accessories, such as fresh tulips in a vase or antique picture frames, on the doily to complete the vignette.
From Blasé to French Country
Linens can transform a blasé kitchen into a cozy, warm and rustic French country kitchen in a variety of ways. Pantry linens, such as washcloths, towels and aprons, can match your dinnerware by picking up the dominant color in the place setting. The kitchen table then becomes the focal point, beckoning the diner to a leisurely meal.
Complement the country feel by placing towel linens in baskets to hold baguettes or dried, cut herbs tied with twine. Display your colorful towels and washcloths in worn wicker baskets or use them to line baskets that sit on shelves. Hang your aprons on wooden pegs to store attractively. French kitchen linens are practical and accessorize your kitchen with vibrant colors and patterns that are traditional and wonderfully charming.
The Timeless Beauty of Venetian Lace
Italy is known for the creation and development of lace. Fine lace, used initially for clothing adornment, was later considered an important detail in the design of pillowcases, tablecloths and aprons. Lace became a symbol of prestige and social status.
Today, lace is affordable and easy to find. Doilies aren't just for the arms of sofas; when layered with other fine linens, lace adds to the style of the room. Hang framed doilies in groupings to highlight their delicate beauty. To make a dinner table unforgettable, place a tablecloth under the lace doily; the tablecloth will showcase the intricate designs of the lace. A centerpiece of flowers or a colorful bowl of fresh fruit should be scaled down, so as not to take away from the beauty of the lace.
Toile De Jouy: An Updated Comeback
Almost everywhere you look, you find toile prints. Pastoral images of the French countryside are seen on virtually anything than can be covered with paper or fabric: furniture upholstery, wall coverings, drapes, linens, tissue boxes, picture frames, clothing and even handbags.
Traditionally, these fabrics were printed in a single color; the copper-engraved plates could only be covered with a single dye-fixative. Classic toile colors included only chocolate brown, cherry red, amethyst or indigo on a white or cream background. Today, the colors include every spectrum of the rainbow.
Original toile prints were made in the late eighteenth century at a factory in Jouy-en-Josas, a small town near Versailles, southwest of Paris. The artist, Jean-Baptiste Huet, used copper for his medium. These copper plates were first called camaïeux (cameos) and later rendered toiles de Jouy (Jouy fabrics). The printed fabrics were a huge success and more famous painters were employed by the Manufacture Royale de Jouy (Royal Factory of Jouy) to create prints to meet the demand.
The toile look can easily be added to your decor: Place toile-printed fabric on top of a plain tablecloth; cover boxes and frames with toile to add charm to a bedroom; tack on toile to a plain folding screen in the living room. Whatever uses you find, toile prints will certainly add a European dimension to your home.
Where to Buy French Linens
- SDH – Order online at www.sdhonline.com, or call 707-864-8075 to find a retailer near you.
- Yves Delorme – Go online at www.yvesdelorme.com to place an order, request a catalog or find a store near you.
- All the Things You Love – Order online at www.toilefabrics.com, or visit the store at 527 Bouthillier Street, Galena, IL 61036.
- Christa's Fine Linens and Gifts – Visit the store at 4300 Paces Ferry Rd., Suite 109, Atlanta, GA 30339, or call 770-435-8384 for more information.
- Venetian Lace – Order online at www.venetian-lace.com
- The Lace Store, Inc. – Order online at www.thelacestore.com , or call 214-939-2623 for more information.