If you find yourself swooning over French-style homes but wonder if you'll ever be able to make your own house look remotely as elegant as the spaces you admire online, the answer is yes.
We spoke with Véra Kempf, co-founder of SINGULART and a Southeastern France native, who weighs in with all sorts of useful design tips that will help you bring your vision to life. Below, Kempf shares key steps to follow in order to add all sorts of Parisian glam to your space in no time.
Meet the Expert
Véra Kempf is the co-founder of SINGULART, a platform to buy art from over 12,000 designers. She is also a Southeastern France native.
Say Yes to Neutral, Curved Furniture
If you're looking to create a French-inspired home, you'll certainly want to purchase stylish seating.
"In France, hosting is an art de vivre," Kempf says. "For a staple element like a couch or a sofa, pick a neutral color that will stand the test of time, but make it interesting by incorporating eye-catching textures or shapes that will bring a sense of sophistication."
While she usually doesn't like to follow trends, Kempf thinks that curved furniture, which is having a major moment, is a design winner.
"I think this one’s here to stay, as it brings interest and movement into very classic French-style apartments," she notes.
Pay Attention to Your Lighting Choices
By all means, take that blah, builder-grade fixture down already, and swap it for something warm and classic. "A great way to bring both a sense of chic and warmth to a French-inspired home is to pair your classical items with a statement piece such as a light fixture," Kempf notes.
According to Kempf, nothing says "French home" like a chandelier or a suspension, especially in the living or dining area. Because you don't want your space to look too dated, focus on picking a fixture with modern elements and geometric forms.
Elevate Casual Pieces
Don't be afraid to still incorporate casual pieces into your home. Take a tall bistro stool, for example. "This is an item you will likely find at the counter of most chic French kitchens, but in an elevated way," Kempf says. "Beautiful lines, noble material, plush fabrics—they will help bring a casual, yet extremely chic atmosphere to your kitchen area."
Be Sure to Hang Art
If you love prints and paintings galore, you're already off to an excellent start. "Any chic French home will have a curated art selection," Kempf says. "This is where homeowners get to really express their personality, so I would advise people to find artworks that truly resonate with them but also, to think of an interesting placement for them."
For Kempf, no room or surface is off-limits—and don't be shy about picking up petite pieces that you absolutely love.
"Paintings, of course, look beautiful hung on the wall, but when they’re smaller, they suddenly gain a certain nonchalance that’s quite charming," Kempf says. "Put them on top of a chimney, for example—plus, it really doesn’t get more French than this."
Not sure where to source chic art pieces? Flea markets and vintage shops can make for excellent resources when it comes to scoring eye-catching works at manageable prices.
Display Some Flowers
The next time you spot a bouquet that calls your name, buy it. "All nice French homes have flowers," Kempf says. However, she adds, there's an art to arranging them.
"There are two ways to make them both look chic and effortless," she notes. "First, think seasonal flowers, colorful ones, nothing that looks too overdone; second, the vase shouldn’t be an afterthought. There’s nothing more beautiful to me than wild flowers (or wild-looking flowers) in a beautifully crafted vase."
Collect Beautiful Glassware
Go ahead and indulge in some glassware shopping. "To me, the ultimate touch of an effortlessly chic French home lies in the tableware and drinkware you use," Kempf says.
Your everyday pieces don't have to be anything fancy, of course, but be sure to invest in some nice finds to bust out when friends come over. "Having a nice curation of beautiful items brings so much cachet and beauty to your dinner party," Kempf explains.
And don't worry about tracking down a matching set. As Kemp puts it, "The secret to making it fancy, but not stuffy? Dare to mix and match."