18th-century country scenes often appear in toile fabric prints.

Colors to Use on Bedroom Walls to Go with Black and Cream Toile Fabric

by Janet Beal

Toile fabrics feature figurative pastoral prints, preserving memories of an idyllic, mythical countryside. Popular during the 18th century in both Britain and the U.S., toile motifs included vignettes of celebration, often separated by elaborate arrangements of fruits, flowers and trees. This charming fabric, frequently printed in red, blue or black on a pale cream background, fits into many decor schemes. Careful wall-color choices enhance black and cream toile in your bedroom decor.

1. Letting Toile Lead

One of the challenges of black and cream toile is its strong tonal contrast. There are no shadings or mid-tones in a toile print. Yet another challenge is the attention-drawing clarity of the print. Unlike an abstract, geometric or repetitive figure print, toile portrays recognizable people, animals, natural objects and activities. As it's hard to ignore toile's strong color contrasts, it's also difficult to ignore scenes of dancing, feasting and other human activities. Unless you plan to use only minute touches of toile, like a couple of accent pillows or a lampshade, its near-photographic style exerts a strong presence in the room. Color choices (and any other pattern choices) should showcase, rather than compete with, your toile fabric.

2. Black-and-Cream Decor

One of the simplest decorative choices is to follow the palette of the fabric quite strictly. Cream walls create a warm, restful atmosphere. Emphasize the richness of the cream tone with a pure white for the ceiling, woodwork and trim. Since light colors make rooms look larger, emphasizing the cream ground of your fabric can create a spacious feeling in even a small room. To maximize space, keep walls and woodwork a single creamy tone. In a larger room or contemporary setting, a black accent wall or panel behind the bed will make the headboard look taller, lending a dramatic feel.

3. Pale Colors

Pale colors can contribute substantially to a restful atmosphere in a bedroom. Pink, blue, and lavender walls can establish a color scheme where accessories in stronger shades of the same hue can coexist with black and cream toile. These colors with a pure white base give a cooling feel to the room; a cream base gives them a warmer feel. A black and cream toile headboard against a soft pink wall can be accented with a darker pink bedspread or solid-color throw. Create a very different feel with several shades of gray, black and cream toile curtains and small accents of a plum-lavender, celery green or soft melon.

4. Medium or Bright Tones

For a black and cream toile-centered decor in a girl's or teen's room, medium-to-bright shades of pink, green, blue or yellow can create a feeling of energy while setting aside the room from the rest of the home's color scheme. Buttery yellow tones create a warm, cheerful feeling that can be enhanced with the toile print and additional black and cream, for example. An accent wall of shocking pink, along with shocking-pink throw pillows, cream walls and a black rug, gives your teen's room a slightly edgier look that still expresses the femininity of the room's occupant. Or let a royal blue or even ruby red accent wall explode the narrow palette of black and cream in your bedroom.

5. Complex Colors

By and large, complex colors with edgy, acid-y or tech-y elements are poor choices in concert with the straightforward contrasts of black and cream toile. Better resources for complex shades are the palettes associated with the historical periods in which toile was a highly popular decor option. Experiment with colors from the decors of American and Europe throughout the mid- to late-17th and early-18th century. Colonial American decor featured toile prints in furniture coverings, curtain fabrics and even wallpaper. In Georgian England, wall colors ranged from ivory to warm gold and coffee-colored beige. In both pre- and post-Revolutionary France, soft, romantic colors evoked the pleasures of the country in elegant city homes. This is a particularly successful approach for bedrooms in Colonial or traditional homes.

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