VICTORIA MAGAZINE |Decorating with Antique Toleware



In this month’s VICTORIA Magazine, I share my passion and love for antique Toleware pieces. Did you come here from the post about COLLECTING TOLEWARE ?

There are so many different ways to use your tole collection to beautify your home. You have surely seen the many gorgeous arrangements of tole trays hanging on a wall in someone’s home. It’s always a WOW, don’t you think? But one stunning tole tray can really enliven an armoire too.



Decorating with Toleware

A toleware collection is a sure fire way to add elegance, color, history and warmth to your home. It’s one of my suggestions when clients as me “how do I make my beautiful house feel like home?” A collection of Toleware trays hung on a wall, a grand scale tole tray displayed over your mantel, or a beautiful tray in your favorite color on your coffee table with fresh flowers and a candle on it add beauty, as well as a personal touch to your interior.



Tole pieces look wonderful when combined with other antiques. You can pick up the colors in a tray, like I have here, by surrounding the tray with other pieces you love. The black, red and white colors are all in this arrangement at home for autumn. In the spring, I will happily exchange some of these colors to the lighter blues, pinks and lavenders in this tray to make the scene lighter.


No matter what colors you use in your interior design, there are most likely toleware trays, boxes, urns and other pieces in that color. That is the beauty of these old hand painted creations, one gorgeous tray, for instance, displayed with care, can tie all the colors in your room together, lend a touch of history and charm, and warm up a room to make your beautiful house a home.


No matter what kind of toleware you love or collect, there are still some stunning examples available, although pieces without damage are becoming more rare and difficult to find. Look for pieces that steal your heart, are well painted, and, if you are really fortunate, have a signature {although most don’t} and display with pride.


This large tray is one of the most exquisite pieces of art I have ever found. The painting is so well done, and so detailed, it’s amazing! The blue antique urns pick up that stellar French Blue in the morning glories on the tray, the silver sugar container filled with ivy cuttings from the garden echo the shimmer of the mother of pearl inlay border on the tray.


An antique Jardinierre looks amazing by itself, but filled with a flowering plant or fresh flowers {here it’s hiding a plain jar filled with water} it can literally make your room! The deep red flowers pick up on the red – rust kimono of the figure on the bridge on this piece, the only other color used besides cream and gold.

I hope I’ve sparked a little passion in you for hand painted tole pieces. Here are some of my best tips on what to collect:

FrenchGardenHouse tips on what to collect:

* Buy a piece with no or almost no damage to the floral or central painting.
* Buy a piece that is well painted. If you look at enough toleware, you will come to recognize those that were done by an accomplished artist, and those that are just passable.
* Buy a piece that is not completely bent, especially trays. A little wear and bending is to be expected, especially for the older pieces, but the tray should not wobble too much.
* Buy a piece from a dealer you trust. There are plenty of accomplished artists who are painting beautiful trays today, which are collected in their own right, but are not antique or vintage.
* Buy the best toleware you can afford. An antique toleware tray or jardinière is like a piece of art. Buy quality, these are the pieces that will only appreciate in value.

You can see our toleware pieces here.

I hope you have a beautiful, relaxing weekend! I’m going to pretend those cool, crisp days of autumn are already here in southern California {they’re really not!} and shop for some pumpkin flavored tea, macarons, and candles! See you next week.

Do you share my passion for antique toleware? Be sure to sign up to follow my blog in the right hand corner so you don’t miss a single post!

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop


7 thoughts on “VICTORIA MAGAZINE |Decorating with Antique Toleware”

  1. Oh, Lidy! I love toleware. I only have a couple of pieces but would love to add to my collection. I believe it does add a touch of French elegance. Fantastic article and I am so happy to see you and Victoria magazine working together. Perfection.

  2. Caroline

    I was so excited to see your article in Victoria Magazine. I wish they had an article like that by you each time. I love toleware, so many beautiful trays and lamps and other things, they are so expertly painted.

  3. Thank you for a wonderful, informative article. I really in enjoyed it.

  4. Ausenda Bordalo

    What beautiful work. Can we get Victoria magazine in South Africa?

  5. Celina Knez

    Hi! I just inherited a toleware tray that got damaged on my return trip. The customs people removed the bubble wrap and did not bother re-wrapping it. It has several dents and cracks on the finish. What do you recommend to do? Do you have any suggestions who can restore it, please?

    1. Celina, it depends on how disfiguring it is. If you want to have an expert look at it, I suggest you try calling a local antique dealer/shop and ask them if they know someone. Usually, it’s better to have some paint missing than have it “in-painted” by anyone who isn’t a professional restorer.

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