In homes, French style carries an elegance that feels at once effortless and carefully curated, reserved yet deeply personal. Its filled with a high-low mix of styles and eras, French-style interiors might seem impossibly chic, but the look isn’t impossible to emulate. You don’t have to live in a historic Parisian apartment or an 18th-century farmhouse in the Provençal countryside to appreciate the simple charms of French interior design. Follow these design rules to master the art of French style in your own home.
Mix old and new.
French-style interiors are highly distinctive and broad, featuring furniture and decor from a broad range of eras, design styles, and sources. To achieve this look, juxtapose flea market finds with contemporary pieces or European antiques with mid century modern furnishings. Keep the look cohesive instead of chaotic by repeating a few key colors throughout the space to connect the assorted elements.
Draw attention to an elegant fireplace mantel with decorative vases or art, or forego a rug to highlight the richness of your wood flooring. If your home lacks distinctive architecture, consider small upgrades to boost character, add crown molding in the living room or install wainscoting in the dining room. For a rustic French look, redo floors in an entryway or kitchen with terra-cotta tiles or herringbone brick.
Decorate with nude colours.
Simplicity of French-style interiors comes from the colour palette. Crisp white walls and neutral furnishings typically dominate, with small hits of color mixed in for interest. Look to muted colors with gray undertones, such as sage green, steely blue, or dusty rose, to add depth to a neutral palette while maintaining a sophisticated subdued effect. To ground the look, layer in small doses of black through hardware or light fixings.
Embrace the beauty of antique.
The French style welcome the character of aged wood, chipped paint, and burnished metal. Give your home a sense of history with items that gracefully show their age, such as a mirror that’s scuffed and speckled with age spots or an antique painted table with a peeling finish.