Interior Designer & Founder of iDoo, Benoit De Mot introduces us to the beauty and finesse of French & Parisian interior design. iDoo is HipVan’s online interior design partner which makes professional interior design and decorating affordable, fast and convenient.
French design has long led global fashion trends, and interior design is no exception, from the palace of Versailles in all its grace and glamour, to each and every Haussmann designed home that stand elegantly amongst Paris' boulevards.
Such refinements haven't been lent to distinctly modern or traditional interior design trends, and rely on neither, instead occupying the space that straddles avant-garde and art nouveau, between bourgeois and bric-a-brac, with chic spaces laden with edgy antiques and sleek furnishings.
French interior spaces are pleasing to craft yourself, as they start with a simple canvas assembled from lighter colours, and develop with quirky items and bold showpieces, bringing about an arty expressionism with chic simplicity.
Keep it chic and simple with light colors
White is France's colour of choice for their interiors, in part due to their traditionally dark flats meaning that the use of natural light should be maximised, and in part due to white providing the blank canvas needed for building an interior from an eclectic mix of antique items, art, and accented fabrics. French designer Robert Couturier reinforced the French reasoning behind their simple colour palettes by describing the need for your interior to evoke an immediate sense of calm. If you want to accent with colour then choose complementary colours and limit them to curtains, rugs or upholstery. Black provides a depth to added items like lampshades or cushions, superimposing their forms pleasingly onto to a clear white backdrop.
Use antique furniture and décor where possible
Antique is a word borrowed from the French, covering all manner of classic items from many historical eras. France is steeped in European history, which runs deep through class divides and fashion trends, into it's elegant markets of quintessential treasures and fine items. There are so many quirky items you can pick up to give your space an intangible intrigue, a ‘je n'ais sai quoi’, and many are inexpensive, making excellent additions to a French styled interiors. Furniture is no different, from shabby chic to chic boutique. If possible select historical pieces which tie in to your subtle colour palettes.
Source: Harmony and Design
Fuse eras for a classic and contemporary look.
There is much diversity in French style and your interior space can reflect this in a way which isn't too overt or garish. We can wax lyrical about designers like Gilles and Boussier and their effortless blending of design from historical eras, but we can achieve this practically by assembling a space from modern features, perhaps modern light fittings, lamps or tables and chairs, and blending them with period features in the forms of draped regal curtains and textile upholstery. Many French floors are wooden, which provides a classic organic base for your room, creaking with a charming character as you walk over it. Consider using a modern rug with a geometric pattern to stylishly combine classic and contemporary looks.
Inject a sense of fun with bold art curiosities and unique objects
There's always been a sense of juxtaposition in French homes, a few well chosen items can create a fine contrast to their sleek, elegant settings, in which they sit not awkwardly, but playfully. It's this technique which Robert Couturier suggests brings the five senses to your room, taking your eyes from one quirky feature to another. Artworks are particularly important in evoking this sensual playfulness, as they're a great way of injecting your own personal taste into your room in an original way. It doesn't have to be seamless - you can have bold colourful paintings set amongst white-washed walls beside period antiques. It's all about that French dynamic, clashes are inevitable and artful, and can offer more depth to your interior.
Source: Room Decorideas
Mix rough and refined, vintage and modern
French interior opulence doesn't rely on either end of it's spectrum - vintage nor modern, but instead blends the two unassumingly. It's tied up, yet undone, a curious balance between rough and smooth. Modern features provide more curves, more technical finesse, and more synthetic materials, whilst vintage features balance this with wooden antiques, and the natural aesthetics of second-hand items bought from flea-markets in picturesque streets. French designer Christian Liaigre loves the tactile nature of wood for appealing to the sense of touch within a home.
Source: Harmony and Design
Get romantic with gilded décor, blush tones or hang a chandelier
Romance is at the heart of many a French philosophy, and at the heart of many a French home, and creating this in your space can be achieved with gilded decor, accents of deep red and a bold centerpiece like a chandelier, hung above a dining room table to form a bold and elegant show piece to really bring about a sense of luxury. The colour red can be the key to a sumptuous interior, but it must be used with respect to its powerful evocation of love and luxury. Red furnishings can really bring a tactile beauty to a room, especially red velvet sofas, cushions, or bed sheets. Whatever you decide, try and be expressive but controlled, but also don't be afraid to inject some passion and desire into your interior design choices. It's between new and old world character and historical eras that you'll find your French design mojo, and if anywhere can provoke your inner French design desires then a trip to Paris is a must! Au Revoir!
iDoo is HipVan’s online interior design partner which makes professional interior design and decorating affordable, fast and convenient. Just select your style, budget and a designer to receive your designs in a week and all your HipVan items shopped and delivered for you.