10 Tips For Decorating like the French
The French possess an elegant, effortless style when it comes to their appearance, cuisine and decor. Perhaps it’s the water, but more than likely it’s in part due to the rich history that surrounds the French on a day to day basis. I wanted to deconstruct that “je ne sais quoi” with my 10 Tips for decorating like the French.
Parquet Hardwood Floors
Parquet floors are geometric patterned floors. 2 of my favorite styles are Chevron and Herringbone. I often see the terms Chevron and Herringbone used interchangeably; however, there is a difference.
A Chevron pattern (as shown in the picture on the left) is comprised of rectangular planks cut at an angle to form a line down the center joint. A Herringbone pattern (as shown on the right) is created by staggering rectangular planks side to end to create a broken zig zag pattern.
Both patterns are gorgeous. The first use of a Herringbone hardwood floor was in King Francois 1st’s Gallery at the Chateau de Fontainebleau in Paris in 1539. King Francois 1st hired Italian craftsman to install the patterned wood flooring.
The first use of a Herringbone pattern was created with bricks in the Middle Ages in Rome. It makes sense that King Francois 1st brought in Italian craftsman to install his Herringbone wood floors.
This apartment possesses many of the traits seen in a lot of beautifully designed apartments in Paris;
- Neoclassical style Basket Chandelier from the 1930’s.
- No rugs. Although you do see area rugs used in French interiors, a good deal go without. With floors like the one in this photograph, it’s no wonder!
- White. I noticed a lot of apartments in Paris are painted stark white. The walls, the molding, paneling & ceiling; all white. What’s nice about a white interior is that it creates a blank canvas.
- Chevron or Herringbone Hardwood floors. While somewhat scarce in the states, Chevron & Herringbone Hardwood floors are a dime a dozen in France. The Chevron hardwood floors in this apartment are particularly beautiful with diamond patterns and an inlaid Rosette.
- Large mirror over fireplace- This seems to be a prerequisite for apartments in Paris and it’s not one I ever get tired of seeing.
Decorative Moldings & High Ceilings
Most Parisian Apartments and Homes were built prior to the 21st century in a time and place when tall ceilings and decorative moldings were the norm.
If your house or apartment wasn’t blessed with high ceilings and you’re not in the market for a renovation, you can add decorative moldings without spending a lot.
The delicate molding, paneling, ceiling rosette and tall ceilings add a lot of character and elegance to this Paris Apartment.
A touch of gold!
Introducing a few, strategically placed gold accents can completely shift the look and feel of an interior. Whether it’s a few gold frames, a statuette or sconces, a few touches of gold can add a certain elegance to one’s space.
I love the use of gold on the panel molding in this minimalist Parisian Apartment. I think it’s just the right amount. The space still feels masculine, but with an added oomph.
Leave Blank Space
Here in the U.S., there’s a tendency to decorate each and every wall with something; a picture, a sconce, a shelf. There’s nothing wrong with this approach, in fact some of my favorite interiors are crammed with pictures & sconces; however, if you want to channel your inner Parisian you may want to leave some walls B A R E.
I’ve already touched on bare floors and how the French aren’t afraid to leave their floors devoid of area rugs. The same goes for walls.
In France it’s not uncommon to see large empty walls in well-appointed spaces as seen in this apartment in Paris. When you use bold statement pieces like this chandelier, a blank wall doesn’t compete.
Something old, something new, something borrowed…
I love this vignette. Something old, something new, something borrowed. The oversized Antique mirror is amazing. The unfinished turned wood table, the modern pendant, the simple white linen drapes. It all works together.
Display your books
Instead of ferreting your personal book collections away in your office or study, consider displaying them in your communal spaces. Books are a conversation piece; we should all celebrate them!
Whether it’s a large crystal chandelier or an oversized mirror or painting, try incorporating at least one statement piece into your interior.
This Large, Vintage Murano Chandelier is a showstopper. That one statement piece can really make a room.
That wraps up my roundup of the 10 Tips for Decorating like the French. If you’re renovating your home or looking for ways to refresh your interior, consider a complimentary 1 hour consultation over the phone avec moi!
Hop on over to Design Consultations and enter code MyFirstConsult at checkout.
Let me know in the comments what’s inspired you, what design challenges you’re experiencing or just say “hey”.
2. Coco Cozy
5 & 6. Wall Street Journal
8. Cup of Jo
9. Loom Brand