I am yet to come across someone who can resist the chic, effortless allure of french inspired interior design. From fashion to interiors, the French have their styling down to a T! And just to bust a popular myth, French design is not all shabby chic. It is the perfect marriage of old world charm and cutting edge contemporary sophistication. It may look challenging to put together, but let me assure you, it is not as complicated as it looks. Our guest contributor, Lana reveals her style secrets to designing a space like a true Parisian!
Start From Scratch
Maybe your apartment building isn’t a coveted 19th century Haussmannian architectural wonder, however, if you’re considering a renovation, consider incorporating classic Parisian apartment hallmarks such as ceiling to floor windows, herringbone parquetry flooring, ornamental cornices or a marble mantelpiece. Even if you don’t reside in an apartment with high ceilings, it is still possible to evoke a sense of grandeur with just a bit of imagination and creativity.
If your living room is dark or your apartment is surrounded by tall buildings, consider keeping your walls white to open up your space and maximise the amount of natural light. White is timeless and it doesn’t detract from furniture and decorative accents. It also creates a neutral base for ornamental cornices and plasterwork, especially if you decide on ceiling rosettes and baroque moulding. All white bed linen is also typically French - it is simple, fresh and affordable and you’ll feel like you’re sleeping on clouds.
Artwork is an excellent way to inject personality in an interior. Display your favourite sculptures and paintings prominently, so that they take centerstage in the room. Move art from corners and place them alongside the coffee table, lean paintings on the wall or create a mixed media art gallery. Also, when rearranging your furniture, use corner bookshelves, side tables, floor lamps and artwork to make the most of unused space in any room.
The word itself is French, so what could be more French than an ornamental crystal chandelier? Choose a ring and crown design if you want an opulent Versailles décor which looks great in neo-classical interiors, or opt for a more subtle yet exquisite mid-century modern light fixtures and pendants that double up as architectural features.
Mirror and Glass
A mirror is often a quintessential addition atop a French mantelpiece, usually in a gold plated ornate frame. If you don’t have a fireplace, you can still hang a large mirror or lean it against the wall in your bedroom or living room. Mirrors reflect light, create depth and help to open up a small space which is an additional bonus. You can achieve a similar 'light and airy' effect with glass coffee tables or ornate glass side tables.
Hit the Flea Markets
French women are always so chic. They know exactly how to match and pair high-end designer shoes with vintage trousers, and they tend to do the same with their furniture! A combination of modern designer furniture with sleek lines and vintage timber furniture is typical for contemporary Parisian interiors. Flea markets in France are a treasure trove of unique antiques, so make sure to explore your local antique and flea markets, to find exclusive vintage furniture and accent pieces to complement your new furniture.
Plants and Fresh Flowers
You’d think that having plants in your apartment is not exclusively a Parisian thing, but if you place lavender plants and herbs on your kitchen window sills, you’ll instantly recreate the rustic vibe of Old World Paris. Lavender is a must-have for a French country theme, as it reminds one of gorgeous lavender fields scattered all around France, additionally it is a natural air freshener. Fresh flowers and foliage add a touch of luxury and helps freshen up the décor in any room.
Parisian interior design style is all about creating a layered palette with unique and complementary curiosities. To achieve a sophisticated and chic French décor, be bold and mix the old with the new to create a cohesive and unforgettable interior while letting each individual piece shine on its own.
Till next time...style comme un parisien!
About the Author
Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and an editor‐in‐chief at Smooth Decorator. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and landscaping. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, and that's where she gets most of her inspiration.