Get the look: Paisley
Used throughout history in Indian and Persian textile design, the paisley pattern had its first boom in popularity in Western culture in the 1960s –and it’s never really gone out of fashion since. The origins of this timeless motif are steeped in culture and symbolism, with the signature droplet shape, called a buta or boteh, thought to be inspired by a combination of floral sprays and cypress trees. Themes of balance, fertility, life and eternity are woven into every paisley design, with the pattern still being used ceremonially in many South and Central Asian countries.
We have seen collections featuring paisley throughout fashion and interiors, with different sizes, tessellations and colour palettes providing fresh takes on this traditional South Asian motif. The signature soft teardrop shapes and intricate details are instantly recognisable to almost anyone, but it can be a challenge to figure out how to use such an intricate pattern in your own home. You might worry that the soft curves won’t sit well against angular furniture, or that a pattern that has a strong association with mid-century design won’t complement the period features in your home - but the brilliant thing about our own carefully curated collection of paisleys is that there is a style to suit everyone, and we can guide you in choosing the right scale, colour and pattern to suit your taste, as well as offering complementary motifs that will make a paisley melt seamlessly into your home.
Here are a few of our favourite ways to style this gorgeous print in a way that will never go out of style:
A beautiful way to use paisley, if you’re cautious about introducing such an intricate and traditional motif into a modern home, is to make it the focal feature of a neutral or minimalist space. You could choose plain, dark walls, offset by upholstery in Liberty’s incredible Felix Raison cotton velvet and plain accessories or modern light fittings to really accentuate the luxury of Liberty’s paisley fabric. Mirroring the lustre of a velvet paisley in a shimmering viscose rug, like the Blade from Asiatic will help you to create a space that feels considered and balanced, rather than bare or unfinished.
Another way to work paisley into a more neutral interior is to choose soft tones, like those in Borastaper’s Divine Paisley wallpaper, and use a picture rail or dado rail to prevent the pattern from overwhelming the simplicity of your space. Soft paisleys work beautifully with original period features, like wood panelling or flagged floors, creating a space the has a harmonious look and feel, but plenty of detail and interest for those looking closer.
Paisley’s intricate detail means that it lends itself will to busier patterns, and choosing paisley fabric or wallpaper as the central theme to a maximalist space will work beautifully. Choose different types of motif in a range of colours, and pair large-scale patterns with smaller-scale designs for a striking effect – picture a fabric sofa upholstered in Thibaut’s Medallion Paisley fabric, accented with cushions in Mulberry Home’s Indira Paisley and GP & J’s Poppy Paisley. Alternatively, you could choose vibrant paisley walls with Mini Moderns’ Paisley Crescent wallpaper in Tangerine to give a gorgeous backdrop for modern furniture.
Of course, this pattern doesn’t only pair beautifully with other paisleys, but with a whole suite of other complementary designs. Pattern combining is one of our passions, and we’re always on hand to help you get it right. For a large scale, blousy paisley, combining with a smaller geometric print, like Thibaut’s Mayan Diamond or a detailed stripe like Barnaby Gates’ Indian Stripe.
Paisley makes the most beautiful substitute - or even companion - for floral prints in a more traditional home décor scheme. Using softer colours and metallic or pearlescent finishes will give a really opulent effect, and more botanical paisleys like Sanderson’s Cashmere Paisley wallpaper and Elanbach’s Ebru fabric will create a beautiful, feminine element in your interior.
Soft paisley fabrics like Zoffany’s Cleadon and GP & J Baker’s Bukhari Paisley are perfect for upholstering sofas, armchairs and headboards to give a traditional look in your living room or bedroom, and we can help you to make those plans a reality with our Made to Measure service. Also, find out more about the wonderful team who craft our bespoke items.