As long as there has been interior design, there has been paisley. While its origins remain unconfirmed, most historians believe that this pretty print emerged in Persia as a representation of the date palm — a symbol of prosperity. Let’s take a closer look at how paisley went from ancient motif to modern marvel, along with ways to incorporate this iconic pattern into your living space.
A Brief History of Paisley
Believed to date back as far as 200-650 AD, paisley gained popularity during the 16th and 17th century in the Middle East, where it adorned everything from royal regalia to everyday textiles.
The feather-shaped figure soon made its way to Europe courtesy of the East India Company, where its western name originated from the town of Paisley — a center for textile production in western Scotland. Originally used on the region’s wool shawls and bandanas, paisley has since earned the international favor of everyone from haute hippies to 80’s era prepsters to today’s well-heeled Upper East Siders.
From Ancient Times to 2015
While paisley is anything but a new player on the scene, it has proven staying power: the tony teardrop manages to remain remarkably on-trend. From Moscow-based designer Vika Gazinskaya and Italian luxury fashion house Etro to American classics Michael Kors and J. Crew, the spring 2015 runways were peppered with this must-have print.
Paisley at Home
It’s no surprise that paisley is also a chic choice for fashion-forward homeowners. How much so? Elle Decor recently highlighted paisley as a “Trend Alert at Home.” And from bold wallpaper and upholstery to smaller accent pieces, there are endless ways to incorporate this arabesque design into your interior.
For a grand look in the dining room, the Ornamental Embroidered Rectangular Tablecloth is a perfect statement making piece. Available in a range of chic hues — from opulent ocean blue to majestic purple — this luxurious piece features intricate beading and hand embroidery.
Or, pick from paisley print pillow covers in an assortment of designs and colors, including the dramatic Velvet Hand Embroidered Pillow Cover, stunning Ornamental Embroidered Throw Pillow Cover, and unique, vibrant Electric Leaf Pillow Cover.
Decorating with Paisley: Parting Words
And remember: while mixing and matching prints and patterns may have been a decorating no-no in decades’ past, layered looks in contemporary decor are not only acceptable, but fabulous fun. The trick to working with pattern? Willingness to experiment with scale and color, along with incorporating a mix of both solid and textured fabrics.
If you’re still wary about working with paisley and other prints like stripes and florals, stay inside your comfort zone by choosing muted tones for subtle flair.
While paisley’s rich tradition is impressive, so is its potential to update and enliven your contemporary decor. And don’t forget to check out our complete collection of table runners, decorative tablecloths, throw pillow covers, and other authentic Indian accessories for the home.