The Essentials of French Interiors
French interiors are soft, elegant, and romantic. French Home decor is harmonious, stylish and sophisticated. It leans more feminine and formal than other styles of home decor and perfect for those who have always had a taste for the finer things in life. Here are some of the essentials of French interior design. Keep reading to learn about the essentials of French interiors and how you can capture the alluring style in your own home.
Careful with Your Tone
Soft, quiet colors are a staple of French homes. Using a tonal color palette is simply taking one color and using different shades of that color throughout the entire room. I recommend sticking to mostly neutrals when it comes to capturing French style. But a dusty blue or pale blush palette would also be gorgeous.
You might be thinking, "don't I need a pop? will it look washed out?". No, pops are loud. French interiors are quiet, serene, and soothing. Add interest to your space by adding shine, texture, and detail. Details create distinction.
Painted Furniture is a Must
Painted furniture is an absolute staple of French interiors. Although the Egyptians were the first ones to decorate with painted furniture the French were the ones to make it a worldwide trend. Chalk paint has actually been around for ages it just used to be called milk paint. Adding furniture that has been painted soft grays, silver blues or subtle griege is a great way to add classic French style to any room in your home.
Have a Seat, My Love
It's hard to picture a French home without at least one Bergere chair. These gorgeous upholstered chairs have exposed wood frames and usual have curved lines and rounded edges. Gorgeous in almost any fabric these chairs have lots of style without having to take up lots of room. So French!
Another way of incorporating this gorgeous French staple of exposed frame upholstery is through a settee or sofa. The French are known for their gorgeous carved, curvacious furniture and these settees and sofas are a great way to incorporate French style with perhaps one of the largest pieces of furniture in the room. Settees also make great banquettes!
Decorating with mirrors is another way to incorporate French interior style into your home. Gorgeous carved wood frames with architectural elements, gilded finishes and antique mirror glass will add ample of French style to any room.
I prefer to use aged mirror glass so you still get the light reflecting aspects without feeling like you have to check your appearance every time you walk by. Is is just me or are mirrors a little distracting if you can see your reflection?
Come on In
Historical French architecture often features gorgeous wrought iron gates and balconies. Detailed scrollwork and botanical flourishes and even gold leaf have adored French iron work for centuries. Not wanting to limit their iron work to just the outdoors, the French incoorporated iron into indoor furniture. Introduce wrought iron into a room to add interest and dimension. I especially love the idea of an iron console in a foyer!
A great way to add dimension and interest to a tonal room is to add different finishes and sheens. Mix aged painted finishes with gold leaf accents to create contrasting materials instead of contrasting colors. Touches of gold leaf furniture and accents are a staple of French design. As previously disclosed, I love anything gold. But sometimes when people think of gold furniture they think Baroque and ostentatious. Here are some furnishings that can help you incorporate that little bit of French gold that don't scream Versailles.
Paint Me Like One of Your French Girls
Art is such a saturated, complex subject so I am not going to attempt to sum up all of French art in one blog post (I do not even think this would be possible, nor would I be qualified.) However, I do think art is a valuable tool to direct the style of the room and make a statement. Use loose, impressionistic paintings with soft colors, srchitechtural renderings or romantic figure drawings of the female form to add French style to your walls.
Paris is known for it's many fabulous flea markets. Having a gorgeous French display cabinet to show off books, pottery, architechtural elements, and other French findings is a great way to add a lot of style with details.
Make sure you don't go overboard. Shelf displays are one of the hardest things to get right. When doing bookshelf displays I usually recommend sticking to no more than 2-3 categories. For example, books, pottery, and botanicals. Keep it simple, tonal and cohesive.
Furniture with Intricate carvings, decorative rossettes, and detailed mouldings is a great way to add French style to your home. With pieces that are so ornately carved I prefer rustic or distressed finishes. It shows off the elements of the design without looking guady.
Get the Lights, Please
A gorgeous French chandelier is a must! One of the most important elements of interior design is lighting. Lighting will direct the energy and style of the space. If you are going for French, you need a French light fixture. And before anyone even asks, a ceiling fan is completely out of the question.
Luxurious silk, supple velvet, touches of lace and fine linen are staples of French textiles. Add French luxury to your home with pooling drapes, bed canopies. and overstuffed down throw pillows. Think of lingerie type fabrics. Basically use fabrics that you wouldnt mind wearing a boustier fashioned out of.
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