It's no secret that the French have a knack for all things personal style and decorating, and we can usually turn to them for some of the best interiors and furnishings, from classic trumeau mirrors to iconic Charlotte Perriand furniture. It's not only that the French create beautiful things, but they also take great pride in assembling them together to create beautiful and comfortable interiors.
The best part is that they don't just focus on what's expensive. Just like French women can effortlessly pair a vintage scarf with a shirt from H&M and a Chanel bag, they have a talent for blending family heirlooms with budget pieces from IKEA and flea market finds. Want to know a few secrets to help you decorate like Parisian women? We rounded up 12 French-style living rooms to inspire your own décor projects.
The French are all about contrast when it comes to their decorating style. If the architecture of a room is very traditional and ornate, chances are they'll swing more modern in their furnishings. Some of their favorite modern staples: modern club chairs and Italian midcentury pendant lights.
The French love to set the mood for entertaining—even on a casual Tuesday night with the family. This includes a multitude of dimmed light sources and deep loungey sofas that are ultra comfortable but also look and feel tailored. A velvet tuxedo or English roll-arm sofa is a staple in French living rooms, as is a chandelier with multiple light sources.
The French have a knack for creating cozy corners that feel effortlessly put together—and they're not afraid to mix and match styles. For instance, it's not uncommon to see an antique Bergère chair paired with a modern sculptural brass stool to create the perfect little reading nook. The success in mixing styles and periods is all about working with things you already have and adding your own personal touch.
Because many French interiors are so traditional, many Parisians have a penchant for more modern furnishings—and they're really well-versed when it comes to iconic midcentury designers and contemporary art. They also know how to mix and match items of varying price points. For instance, it's not uncommon to see an iconic furniture piece—like a Vladimir Kagan serpentine sofa—next to more affordable framed photography or other inexpensive accents.
If there's one thing that the French know how to do better than anyone, it's styling a mantle. It doesn't hurt that their homes often come with the most beautiful marble fireplaces and original trumeau mirrors already in place. But even if you have to source your own classic French mirror to hang over your fireplace, consider complementing it with anything sculptural like a vase or a work of art that can offset the classic nature of the trumeau.
Did we mention that the French love contrast? Though many homes feature beautiful French doors and intricate plasterwork, some apartments skew a little more on the modern side. In these instances, it's not rare to see the French reverting back to a very traditional interior to give the space a little character. Vintage Turkish rugs at the base and ornate chandeliers on the ceiling can give architectural detailing to a room that's on the simpler side.