Incorporating French Style into Your Décor

    Effortless elegance is so very French. Whether the French people are dressing up themselves or decorating their houses, the French have an innate ability to make an intoxicating mix of finesse and flamboyance without difficulty.

    French interior design styles deftly combine the old with the new, remain true to established décor principles and add a strong dose of the homeowner's style into space.  French design is bold, classy, and chic. But it is also quirky and personal. No two French houses you see will look or feel similar. A bold design idea is vital to pulling off such an original flair.

    french inspired sitting room

    At first glance, it might appear there are no rules when it comes to using French interior design ideas. That is true. There are several dos and don'ts. For instance:

    • Do use pure, natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, and cheesecloth.
    • Do not go overboard with ruffles, tassels, fringes, frills, and floral materials.
    • Do leave a wall nude if you're able to.
    • Do not enclose that gorgeous Louis XV chair with a lot of the same. Make it stand out by pairing it with something entirely contrasting, such as a contemporary or minimalist piece of furniture.
    • Do be bold and unique. Set baroque curves with sharp, contemporary lines.
    • Do not shy away from adding one striking factor like an extravagantly painted object dart, a large-scale work of art on a wall or an oversized item of furniture to up the wow factor.
    • Do look upwards. Bear in mind the ceiling and intend to make it even more exciting — the French move beyond only flat white paint on the roof.
    • Do not hold yourself back when decorating the bedroom. A French interior design room goes for a classy escape that's a joy to retire to at the end of a stressful day.
    • Do insert something gilded or glistening to the décor.


    Getting the modern French Interior Design look

    French design has emerged significantly as the unapologetic magnificent décor of this royal era. Following the French Revolution, people started to turn their backs on that over the top aesthetic and go for a more straightforward look with only a subtle nod here and there to the ornate design history. Here are a few guiding principles:

    Respect the History

    "Almost all of our projects are exclusively in 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century buildings in the heart of Paris, which translates to a lot of history!" says Betsy Kasha of A+B Kasha, an interior architecture firm in Paris. "Each apartment has its own interesting story and specific charm which needs to be respected. A good design should bring together the iconic character and elegance of the space with practical luxury."

    For example, if the company had been working on a classic Haussmannian flat (built between 1853 and 1870), which generally boast fancy ceiling moldings, A+B Kasha would choose to avoid adding any recessed lighting to be able to keep up the appeal. Instead, they might opt for striking floor lamps.

     Choose Anti-Décor

    While working with a customer with really established Parisian Taste, designer Jean-Louis Denis needed to convince him to choose an eclectic method. "He realized we needed to be more playful," he says. "But that can be difficult. Nothing can be too arranged and stable. I tried to assemble things that shouldn't be together in the first place, creating awkward juxtapositions."

    In the master bedroom, the paintings range from the 16th Century to the 1960s. The leather carpet is by Serge Lesage and at the edge of this room is a 1920s neo-Egyptian armchair dressed in Gaston y Daniela stuff.

    "The whole idea is anti-decor," says Deniot. "To make it look like the owner did it himself — to make it look natural. Which is, of course, very French."

    Take Cues From 'Effortless' French Fashion

    As disheveled as they are tasteful, French interiors are never overly curated or too perfect.

    "My number one rule for French interiors is: don’t try too hard! The French adopt the same laissez-faire attitude towards interiors as they do with their style," says Marissa Cox, the Brit-turned-Parisian behind Rue Rodier, a French lifestyle and interior design blog. "Keep it simple, mix vintage with new, and allow your memories and treasures brought home from travels to shape the space rather than sticking to any particular interior style."

    Cox graced her own Parisian house with books, artwork, and plants; she loves individually, which produces a desired and lived-in space.

    Reuse and Recycle

    "The rule I follow when decorating is chiner, which means looking in many second-hand shops to find the perfect pieces," says French illustrator Alice Wietzel. "What’s important to me is to decorate in a sustainable and ecological way, and chiner, reusing, and reinventing a purpose for elements of decoration is part of that process."

    Here, she styled one of her prints on Tictail with two classic vases she discovered in Bordeaux and St. Malo and a cabinet found in her neighborhood.

    Deviate From Neutral Colors

    Though the French people have a fondness for chic all-white rooms, color is the way they can remove the gap among the new and the old. In Wink Déco, a modern French interior design website, their rule is that there aren't any rules. They like to combine colors, time intervals, and any design style that speaks to them, and what could be more French than that?

    "We like the mix up the furniture of the ’50s with more contemporary pieces," the founders Emmanuel and Thomas tell us. "In order to unify the objects from various time periods in a room, we use a few strong and complementary colors that give uniformity to the set. The color connects the styles."

    Inside this 1930s home, Wink Déco combined Scandinavian Design, classic pieces, and sleek French design to create a unique bathroom built for luxury.

    There's plenty of room for flexibility when it comes to color. Let your character dictate the color you choose.

    If you wish to produce a serene sense, go for neutrals like beige, white, mushroom, taupe, light gray, soft duck egg blue or a calm green.

    If you want to punch up the spirit, bold shades are the means to go. Peacock blue, emerald green, teal,  a shade of red -- nothing is impossible in French interior design.

    Feature wall

    If you can, add a feature wall with unique French patterns. The wall is where you can integrate French design from the extravagant era. Nothing is as representative of French culture as an iconic fleur-de-lys design.

    Or go bolder using a nod to France's imperial décor history by selecting a wallpaper with Rococo or Baroque designs. To get a further muted classic appearance, you could contemplate Toile de Jouy, which includes rustic scenes on a light setting. Damask designs are always a "go-to" since they seem contemporary and traditional at the same time.


    Search for at least one or two bits of classic furniture or antiques that can allow you to balance the timeless with the more modern. Fabric options also allow you lots of flexibility. You could go easy with organic sheets and cotton with detailed designs for upholstery or choose the different way and select luxurious fabrics such as velvet, silk, brocade,  and lace. Again, it's your preference and personality that are in the driving seat.


    Consider the French Lifestyle

    French interiors are much about design as they are a lifestyle. They appear so simple, but only as they're built to support how you move through space. There are nooks to rest in and inventive storage for all your moments, to make everyday life a breeze. The design itself is far from comfortable, but residing in a French-style mansion could not be simpler.

    Evane Haziza of ECCE Studio States that good French decoration can only exist "if the space is well thought-out in terms of use." From the furniture to the aesthetics, it should all have a function. "The decor must reflect the personality and life of the client. We think that it's better to have fewer elements in a room, like beautiful vintage pieces or handcrafted objects."


    If you are leaning towards producing more dramatic ambiance, a Chandelier is always a fantastic focal point. There are a plethora of designs to select from, some more timeless and many others more modern. Wall sconces usually have silk shades with beads, fringes, crystals or even feathers nearby the bottom line.

    Mix New And Old

    A typical French family generally has some magnificent ancient objet d'art lying around that becomes the showstopper even in a room with a contemporary flair. If you do not have something like that readily available, keep a watch from décor pieces that look classic. Playing the old with the new is a foolproof French design trick.

    Showcase French Antiquities

    You do not have to go overboard, but with one gorgeous French antique completely transforms any space done in this decorating style.

    Imagine the beautiful arches of a Louis XV style furniture, the glitz of a gilt-wood mirror or the artisan glamour of an ancient tapestry.

    If a real antique is not within your price range, search for cheaper reproductions or items that mimic the appearance at online auction sites or flea markets.


    Floor to ceiling curtains give an air of class to any room, and the French adore to employ this layout trick. Additionally, it fools the eye into believing that the window is significantly larger than it really is, which makes space seem larger and airier.


    The French prefer floors finished with natural substances like wood, stone, and slate. But they also love to coat the appearance with area rugs that could be either traditional or modern, based on the overall look of the space.

    Do Not Trust Trends

    The more things develop, allows the old French expression, the more they remain the same. Trends may come and go -- in politics, fashion, decor, food, you name it -- but the essentials of life are reliable, rooted as deeply as an ancient oak.

    Designer Garance Aufaure's house, a stately, late-18th-century House, has of course changed over time. Each generation has led to the modernization of the house. Yet the home remains essentially the same as it has ever been. "I am constantly improving it while respecting what the previous generations did. It is the best way to keep it alive."

    The daybed and secretary in the master room are Louis XVI, And the side table in the same fashion is from the 19th Century.

    The French interior design appearance is well within reach and can work for any budget. It enables you to let your style cast the décor while also producing a space with classic French appeal.


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