Effortless elegance is so very French. Whether they’re dressing up or decorating their homes, the French have an innate ability to create an intoxicating blend of finesse and extravagance with ease.
French furnishing styles cleverly combine the old with the new, stay true to the established decor principles and still give the room a healthy dose of the homeowner’s personality.
French design is bold, refined and chic. But it’s also quirky and personal. No two French homes you visit will ever look or feel the same. A confident design vision is the key to realizing this original flair.
At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any rules when it comes to using French interior design ideas. That is not entirely the case. There are some advantages and disadvantages. For example:
- Use simple, natural fabrics like linen, cotton, and cheesecloth.
- Don’t go overboard with ruffles, ruffles, tassels, fringes, and floral fabrics.
- Leave a wall completely free if you can.
- Don’t surround this beautiful Louis XV chair with any more of it. Make it stand out by pairing it with something totally contrasting like a modern or minimalist piece of furniture.
- Be brave and unconventional. Combine baroque curves with clean, modern lines.
- Don’t be afraid to introduce a spectacular element like an extravagantly colored piece of art, a large format work of art on the wall, or an oversized piece of furniture to add to the wow factor.
- Look up. Think about the ceiling and plan to make it more interesting. The French go beyond flat, white paint on the ceiling.
- Do not hold back in decorating the bedroom. An interior design bedroom provides a stylish retreat to retreat to at the end of a stressful day.
- Add something gilded or shiny to the decor.
Get the modern French interior design look
The French style has evolved significantly since the unapologetic ornate decor of the royal era. After the French Revolution, people began to turn their backs on this over-the-top aesthetic and opt for a simpler look, only subtly hinting at artful design history here and there. Here are some guiding principles:
There’s a lot of room for flexibility when it comes to color. Let your personality determine the palette you choose.
If you want to create a calm feeling, choose neutral colors like white, creamy white, taupe, mushroom, light gray, soft duck egg blue or a calm green.
If you want to improve the mood, bold colors are the way to go. Peacock blue, blue-green, emerald green, a shade of red – nothing is forbidden in French interior design.
If you can, add a feature wall with signature French patterns. Here you can incorporate French design from the more extravagant times. Nothing is as representative of French culture as an iconic fleur-de-lys pattern.
Or take a nod to France’s royal decorating history by choosing a wallpaper with a Baroque or Rococo theme. For a subdued vintage look, consider Toile de Jouy, which shows pastoral scenes on a light background. Damask patterns are always a safe bet as they look traditional and contemporary at the same time.
Look for at least one or two vintage pieces of furniture or antiques that will help you balance the classic with the contemporary. The choice of fabrics also gives you a lot of flexibility. You can simply go with organic cotton and bedding with subtle upholstery patterns, or go in the opposite direction and choose luxurious fabrics like velvet, brocade, silk, and lace. Again, it is your taste and personality that is in the driver’s seat.
If you want to create a more dramatic ambience, a chandelier is always an important focus. There are quite a number of designs to choose from, some more classic and some more contemporary. Wall lights generally have silk tones with fringes, pearls, crystals, or even feathers along the bottom.
Mix old and new
In a typical French family, there is generally a stunning old art object lying around that becomes a show stopper even in a room with a modern flair. If you don’t have something like this, watch out for vintage decorative pieces. Playing off the old with the new is a very easy French design trick.
Showcase French antiquities
You don’t have to go overboard, but even a beautiful French antique will completely transform any room in this decorating style.
Imagine the elegant curves of a Louis XV-style buffet, the sheen of a gilded wood mirror, or the artisanal appeal of an old tapestry.
If a real antique is not in your price range, look for cheaper reproductions or pieces that mimic the look of online auction sites or flea markets.
Floor-to-ceiling curtains add a touch of class to any room, and the French love to use this design trick. It also trickes the eye into thinking that the window is much larger than it actually is, which makes the room appear larger and airier.
The French prefer floors made from natural materials such as hardwood, stone and slate. But they also love to combine the look with carpets, which can be either traditional or contemporary, depending on the overall design of the room.
The French interior look is within reach and can be used for any budget. It allows you to let your personality shape the decor and at the same time create a room with a classic French feel.
If you enjoyed reading this article on French interior design, you should read this too: