Guest Post Alert! This week we are pleased to feature a post from guest blogger and design consultant Catherine Collins who fills us in on the Do's and Don'ts of French Design.
By Catherine Collins
I don’t know about you, but when I think of French interior, the first things that come to my mind are Versailles, piano in the corner, a bed with 1000 pillows and framed mirrors. In other words, French interiors just scream "luxury". And even though American homes are usually "not about that life" and embrace more of a minimalistic approach, there are some easy ways to "French'' them up.
Image source: impressiveinteriordesign.com
Basic rules of French interior design
Even though it may appear that there are no rules in French interior design, there are some very important do's and don’ts.
When it comes to the materials, feel free to use natural fabrics such as linen or cotton. When it comes to walls and ceilings, you are allowed to leave one wall completely bare, as well as to make your ceiling more interesting rather than just painting it white.
Even though they are embraced, be careful not to go overboard with ruffles, tassels and floral fabrics. Also, if you have one vintage item displayed in a room, don’t surround it with similar items, but with contrast minimalistic ones.
The only limit when it comes to color in French design is your preference and personality. If you want to make the room feel calm, go for the neutral colors such as taupe, white, mushroom, light gray or serene green. On the other hand, if you want to make the room more alive go for bold colors such as teal, emerald green, peacock blue or even red.
Image Credit: Chahan Minassian, Source: luxdeco.com
However, make sure you include one feature wall on which you will include distinctive French patterns such as signature fleur-de-lys. This is where you can truly incorporate the extravagant French design. If you are not into fleur-de-lys, you can opt for Baroque or Rococo wallpapers, or even Toile de Jouy if you are into muted vintage looks.
The most common French floors are either out of hardwood or stone. However, they tend to upgrade them by adding either contemporary or traditional area rugs, depending on the overall design. Never underestimate the importance of rugs and carpets – not only do they add softness and warmth to the room, but they also play a big role when it comes to the insulation of sound. Speech and steps echo are definitely things you don't want inside your luxurious place.
Image source: impressiveinteriordesign.com
Feature the features
If there is one thing I love about Parisian apartments, it is definitely the beauty of those lush architectural features such as cornices, wall panelling and soaring ceilings. Of course, not every single French home has these assets, and adding this historic trim to the 80s-styled home just isn't possible. However, if you are lucky enough to own some original features in your home or sky-high ceilings, make sure you show them off. Show off your mouldings with the lighting, show off the height with high curtains and never cover up your panelling with a busy gallery wall.
Old (antique) vs. new
French just love to mix old and new. A typical French family usually has a stunning old art object somewhere in their modern room that represents its showstopper. If you don't own anything like that, go shopping for some vintage décor pieces such as crystal chandeliers, golden framed mirrors etc. and display them in the center of your living room or bedroom.
Image source: kathykuohome.com
You’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, you’ve seen the Versailles and you’ve seen the Sacre Coeur. Now, what all of these have in common? I’ll tell you right away: both landscape and interior designers had a lot of work. While Frenching up your place, you shouldn’t just stop at the interior – your home needs to look chic on the outside as well. I like to recommend to people to display some big decorative house numbers that really bring a wow effect and knock people off their feet. Besides this, take care of your façade and take special care of your front yard (consider turning it into a luxurious garden.
Have fun upgrading your soon-to-be luxurious paradise.
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