French home décor has set the standard for elegance for hundreds of years. As fashions have changed, French designers have always maintained a timeless style that is uniquely theirs, and highly prized by proud homeowners around the world. Fortunately, by following several time-tested French decorating ideas, you can easily bring a touch of Gallic chic to your home.
Yves Saint Lauren famously declared that while “fashions fade, style is eternal”. How does this apply to your home décor? If your property has carried elements of its design and style through the ages, they have weathered many changes in fashion and can be rightly lauded as authentic style.
In the true tradition of French home décor, make sure to base your design on a theme that incorporates and remains true to those historic elements, whether it’s intricate cornicing, carved masonry or wooden panelling.
You might see the best French homes as a work of art, but they are also a masterclass in self-expression. No stylish Parisian apartment is complete without a carefully displayed collection of personal objects. That could be your impressive literature collection, an array of artworks or perfectly manicured foliage and flowers.
Make sure that the entry hall, the place where first impressions are made, has focal points for these objects. For example, this could be a carefully placed or contrast-painted bookshelf, a centrally hung painting, or an ornate shoe or coat stand. After all – couture says a lot about your style, too.
Given the pre-eminence of French cuisine, it should come as no surprise that French country kitchens are the hub of the household. Consequently, a thriving, functional and comfortable space – think kitchen islands with easy-to-pull-out stools underneath and bowls of inviting fruit – is a key way to introduce that Gallic charm into your home.
The most important element of this is the colour scheme. French kitchens focus primarily on warm, natural hue and textures, such as creams and soft yellows. This provides an elegantly simple backdrop for rustic furniture and practical paraphernalia like copper pots, vintage and antique storage jars. Just don’t let it accumulate to the point of clutter. The concept of mise en place is central here. This culinary maxim dictates that everything should have its place, appearing both orderly and aesthetically pleasing, the perfect balance between form and function.
As the mise en place concept shows, French decorating ideas are about more than visual appeal. Each room should be tailored to its use; moving through them must be natural and comfortable. It’s the living that is effortless, not the act of designing.
In practical terms, that means incorporating creative storage solutions that declutter a room without making essential objects inaccessible. It means building nooks that display personal items, inviting visitors to look at them, rather than locking them away. It’s a positive approach, and one that might even inspire you to restore your antiques, and bring life back to your treasured possessions.
The best part about the French approach is that it’s all about combining your joie de vivre with your home’s timeless qualities. But if you need some fresh decorating ideas to get you started, visit our home décor blog.