Textile Spotlight: Paisley

By Kate Riley December 10, 2013

It’s time to put another textile in the spotlight, so this month’s pattern is Paisley. Recognized for its teardrop or tadpole shape, the paisley shape originated from a stylized plant formation of a drooping flower that was woven into expensive jewel tone shawls in 17th and 18th centuries, known as ‘paisley shawls’.

The motif originated in India but the pattern was given its English name from the town of Paisley in Scotland where it was produced in large quantities in the late 18th century. To this day major brands like Liberty of London continue to carry versions of paisley prints for fashion and home goods.

paisley wallpaper

the mint list

In traditional motifs, you’ll find elaborate paisley prints in woven textiles for home and silks for fashion in earthier colors from deep brown and blues to reds and oranges.

miles redd library paisley fabrics

paisley curtains martin lawrence bullard

miles redd / martyn lawrence bullard

Surface and textile designers are changing the look of paisley with modern interpretations, many of them combining large scale prints with bold palettes.

House Beautiful

bright colored paisley wallpaper

mona ross berman / jac interiors


Enlarging the white space between the droplet pattern and styling it in a half brick repeat is yet another way textile designers are keeping the pattern fresh in this century.

hosue and home paisley duvet

paisley lamps amber interiors

house and home / amber interiors

Paisley fabrics printed in pale tone on tone or singular color palettes play a softer more subtle role in interiors.

paisley linens

paisley window panels

   charmean neithart interiors / tom grimes photography

One wallpaper interior designers are smitten with is Cole & Sons ‘Rajapur’ paisley, available in several colorways – its large scale sophisticated pattern is striking in any space or style from traditional to modern.

paisley wallpaper kate hume


cole and son paisley wallpaper

rajapur paisley wallpaper in bedroom

blue rajapur wallpaper in bedroom

kate hume / 1st option / lily z design / dyfar interiors

If allover or large scale is not your style, consider it in smaller doses, accent pillows are the perfect way to add the iconic pattern but not allow it to dominate.

paisley decorative pillows

pale paisley motif pillows

blue paisley accent pillows

jenn feldman designs / marco meneguzzi / nightingale design

What about you, are you a fan of the paisley pattern?

Have you or would you use it in your home?




  1. Have always been a HUGE fan of paisley, unfortunately not so much the hubby. I do have it on a cornice board in the dining room and keep trying to figure out where else I can sneak it in, ha!

  2. I have always LOVED paisley but seem to have a hard time finding things in it. I am thrilled to hear that it is finding a “regrowth”. Some of the paisleys pictured actually made me squeal! :)

  3. The first time I encountered paisley (or heard it called that) was around 1992! So funny the things that come back after many years. We did a gift exchange in my dance class and my santa gave me a drawer sachet and notepaper set that was burgundy and hunter green. Those tear drop, embellished shapes looked like amoebas to me, but her mom was known around town for her good taste so I proudly scribbled notes to my friends on that paper all winter long! And pronounced PAISLEY as my favorite design. And that sachet (the only one I’ve ever owned) sure did help the stinky-ness in my junior high PE locker :-) Thanks for bringing back an old memory.

  4. Paisley is my very most favorite! I used to want to name a future daughter Paisley, but I’ve decided to use it as a nursery theme instead :)

  5. I feel so ahead of the curve for once! We wallpapered the wall behind our bed a couple of years ago with a large modern paisley print. We still love it! Thanks for giving the background on it.

  6. I LOVE paisley! Paisleys paired with a blue background look fab!!

    Unfortunately my husband didn’t go with my idea of buying Angelo:Home paisley chairs for our living room.

    However, I wore paisley shaped chandelier earrings to match my turquoise blue engagement party dress that had huge embellished paisley motifs :-)

  7. I’ll always liked paisley. When I was 15 (mid 90’s) I remember seeing a midnight blue paisley wallpaper that I wanted to use in my future house. It’s fun to see fresh paisley, especially the large scale design.

  8. Oh i love Paisley its one of my favorite textile and folk art patterns, its such a beautiful form and can lead to wonderful designs modern or traditonal
    great finds

  9. Paisley is just one of those things that will never go out of style. With tons of patterns and colours to choose from, who doesn’t like it?! I have used paisley both on a large and small scale and have never regretted my choice. Great post!

  10. I love paisley! My shop even has the name Paisley in it, the Paisley Ribbon! Such a great pattern with endless possibilities!

  11. I have always loved paisley and am always drawn to it. I have a paisley rug in my living room that is not quite so subdued as the examples above. If anyone wants to try their hand at stenciling, Cutting Edge Stencils has a nice stencil…….not as large as the ones you posted but still nice.

  12. I love paisley print, but can’t get anyone else in my house to agree. So we named our dog Paisley. And I may have found her a paisley jacket…. That’ll teach ’em!!

  13. Love! Just put up cowtan and tout paisley drapes in my family room! Always loved paisley and so glad I am on trend (would still have them if they were not on trend:)

  14. India is a big influence for me, so I do love paisley! I have it in smaller doses around the house. A jacquard paisley pillow I made kicked off a sewing obsession that lasted for years! Mostly because of the fabrics!

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