Most decorators recognize that history and naturalness are a sign of luxury.
Many foreigners believe that the French style is an expensive setting in which precious stones, gilding and other elements of luxury prevail. In reality, the French dislike overtones of luxury and obvious displays of wealth. On the other hand, the French welcome objects that are reminiscent of history and nobility, as well as those made out of high quality materials.
In such an interior, each object is distinguished by its uniqueness and individuality. This uniqueness and individuality is, no doubt, granted by the history, nature and rich shades the objects bear.
Who can Implement a French-style Interior?
1. Romantics: Carefully selected trivia and furnishings help create a feeling of romance and comfort in the home.
2. Adherents of French culture: A French-style interior presents a great opportunity to infuse the rich French culture into your home.
3. Lovers of old designs: Objects in the French interior are perfectly complemented by twisted metal furniture, old chests of drawers and antiquities.
4. Those with homes with high ceilings: Subdued Parisian colors look particularly elegant in houses with high ceilings as such homes have a lot of light and air, which pairs well with subdued colors.
The French style is especially appropriate for old houses. Strict or ornate stucco, high ceilings, shabby wooden parquet, wallpaper with antique ornaments, crystal chandeliers and heavy and large doors with frayed brass handles form a beautiful and smart basis for a Parisian interior. If your home already has these, then you only need to add some antique furniture pieces and the corresponding decor.
However, remember that the French style does not make room for confusion and chaos. If you opt for this style, you need to pay particular attention to every single detail, making sure there is order and proportion.
As a rule, French interiors are dominated by pink and lilac colors in combination with silver and green hues. Various materials can be used as floor coverings, depending on the effect you want to achieve. If you want to create a glamorous or refined setting, then by all means, go for natural polished stone and glossy ceramic granite, or laminate and parquet with a light texture. Alternatively, you can opt for floorboards, which you can then exquisitely cover with a translucent light varnish.
As a rule, matte or semi-matte paints are used to finish the walls in French style homes. If you want to make the interior especially romantic, you can choose wallpaper with a pattern that imitates the texture of an old calico.
French Style Furniture
In a way, the French interior is an elaborate creative ‘mess’ of different styles combined into one. Dressers, sofas and tables can be of completely different designs or even relate to different styles and eras. The choice is entirely up to you, as long as you note that the furniture and décor should be in harmony with each other and work towards creating the mood you want, whether romantic, relaxing or cheerful. A forged table, which you might find by chance in the market and an expensive antique wardrobe, will get along perfectly in a French interior.
Traditionally, for French furniture, metal is usually paired with conventionally differing materials such as wood, ceramics or porcelain. A French style bedroom might as well emphasize this tradition through a large wrought-iron bed and a carved chest of drawers. The French style living room, on the other hand, will be incomplete without an antique ottoman, while the kitchen gives the best appearance when the furniture design features visible natural stone, especially marble or granite.
When it comes to accessories for the French interior, less is more. It is better to have luxurious and high-end accessories as opposed to jamming up the space with tons of cheap and tacky décor pieces.
However, since luxurious accessories are often expensive, not many people can afford them – but this shouldn’t be a reason to worry. Those unable to afford these costly accessories can rely on other characteristic of the French style – improvisation!For instance, if you lack the money to splurge on luxurious lighting fixtures, you can as well place candles in antique candlesticks by the mirror. With this arrangement, the play of light will be brightened further by the crystal and silver accessories by the fireplace. Additionally, well-selected textile curtains will reflect the light and give it a luxurious flicker.You can choose to top off this already perfect look with silk pads and a neat screen, creating a relaxed bohemian atmosphere, filled with warmth and comfort.
A Few Basic French Interior Design Rules
Many French style interiors feature;
1. Soft, smoky and translucent décor in light shades. Preference is given to cream, beige, pearl-pink, bluish-blue and silver-gray;
2. Restraint and aristocracy;
3. Refined and flexible forms of furniture, particularly sofas and armchairs;
4. Thin stucco;
5. Light forged items;
6. Decorative plaster;
7. Renovated and antique furniture;
8. Careful and ordered arrangements.
Remember that true French style is not pompous and showy, but a few exquisite chic and historical pieces are welcome.