7 Secrets to Decorating Like the French
The French might be the world’s most stylish denizens. From their perfectly tied scarves to their impeccably delicate desserts, it’s as if les français gave sophistication its name. Naturally, French style extends to interiors, and, well, we believe we’ve cracked the code. Follow these seven tips to give your home a touch of Parisian chic.
In contrast to those undone moments, some of the chicest French homes also embrace a touch of lavishness, like dramatic silk drapes that puddle onto the floor. If drapes aren’t your style, a gilded mirror so oversize it graces the ceiling will certainly do.
French closets are nowhere near as expansive as American ones. The French answer to the closet is the armoire, a freestanding storage piece that has drawers, shelves, and/or a hanging rod. Add one to your bedroom to hold your clothing or to your bathroom to store linens and towels.
French interiors are rarely flashy, but they often have a bit of sparkle in the form of an antique or vintage French chandelier—the older the better. The idea is to make your ceiling fixture look original, like it’s been around since the days of Marie Antoinette.
Many French homes—especially in Paris—are graced with stunning historic architecture; after all, the country is much older than ours. Thus, the French have developed the great skill of celebrating the intricate bones of their homes, rather than fighting them. If you have carved-wood detailing, leave your walls white so the sculpture can be the star of the show. Have beautiful herringbone floors? Skip that rug or use a glass table to show them off.
The French take remarkably quick showers—the concept of conserving water isn’t new to them. But soaking and unwinding in a deep tub is a specialty of theirs (they’re experts at relaxing, too). Add an elegant freestanding porcelain tub to your home; even cold water will seem alluring.
It’s rare to see bold, bright walls in a French home. These Europeans know their way around a color wheel, and it’s usually in the realm of a gorgeously chalky and subdued hue. Think white, pale mint, sand, linen, or gray. You can add pops of color in art or decorative accents, but even then, they should be quiet.