When it comes to beautiful interiors and classic style, the French are pros. Whether you are dreaming of a weekend away in Paris or looking for chic Parisian inspiration for a renovation, there's endless inspiration in a wonderfully styled French interior. While there are different interior decorating styles throughout France (such as the popular French country style), there are a few key design rules that really embody the French decor philosophy.
From effortless sophistication to a focus on the old, here's what you need to know to emulate the French style at home. Click through to see the stunning elements of a French living room.
Focus on History
When decorating a French living room, there's a good chance that the room holds endless history. The French never cover up the historic details and instead let that character play front and center in their designs. French design brings together the iconic architectural details with more modern pieces throughout.
If you're lucky enough to have exposed brick, beams, or vintage molding, focus your decor around these features and allow them to shine. If you don't, it's a fairly simple DIY to add your own crown molding or install faux beams to give your living room a bit more character.
Decorate With Gold Accents
Few things scream French like a wonderful decorative gold mirror sitting atop a classic fireplace or mantle. Channel your inner Parisian and sprinkle gold accents throughout your living room. A mirror is a great place to start, but picture frames, candleholders, and side lamps are other accessories that can add an ounce of French-inspired glam without a lot of effort.
Allow Your Decor to Be Relaxed
While there is no doubt that French interiors are sophisticated and elegant, they're rarely stuffy. Think "effortlessly chic" and don't focus too much on perfection. Instead, embrace the essence of simplicity and don't try too hard. When it comes to interiors, the French make beauty look so easy by casually adding elegant pieces mixed with simple ones.
Mix and Match Styles
French living rooms are eclectic in a classic way. Don't be afraid to mix and match patterns and styles in your living space to create a visually interesting room. Here, zebra print and cheetah print work together to create a fun space that is perfectly mismatched and bold. The French aren't afraid to take chances in their decor because they don't dwell on perfection.
Try the Chunky Furniture Trend
One thing you'll often see in modern French living rooms is a hint of cubism with low-flung furniture, chunky pieces, and geometric shapes. These pieces are the perfect accompaniment to the traditional architecture and help modernize a vintage space. Though they are chic, a French living room should not feel uncomfortable and should be a space you want to spend time in, not just look at.
Allow Natural Light In
French living rooms often have the advantage of having large windows or Juliet balconies that look out over the city. The French embrace this natural light and let as much of it in as possible. They may add in sheer curtain panels or roller blinds for the evening, but keeping them open during the day is the perfect way to gaze out onto those Parisian streets. Center your furniture around the natural light in your room and be sure not to block the light.
Opt for (Herringbone) Wood Floors
Carpeting and area rugs may feel lush and soft underfoot, but the French embrace the bare floor look. Opt for natural wood flooring (if you can afford it, go for real) and bonus points if you pick a herringbone pattern to really get that Parisian look and feel. A rug is fine, but choose a vintage Turkish piece or a low pile solid rug.
Always Add Fresh Flowers
In Paris, flower stalls are hard to miss, so there's no wonder why the French always add a fresh bouquet to finish the room. But like the rest of the room, the look should be effortless and not fussy, so opt for a casual look with simple colors or greenery that doesn't feel overly styled or perfected. White or light green color palettes work well and give your room that simple finishing touch.