8 French Home Décor Tips

French Furniture in Coco Chanel’s suite at The Ritz Carlton

Elegant and chic, yet simple and clean, French décor has a timeless quality about it that never seems to go out of style. Whether it’s classic-traditional, country, contemporary, or a combination of styles, incorporating French-inspired decorating techniques, furnishings, and accents can transform your home into something of a masterpiece. If you like the idea of mixing old world beauty with modern-day chic when it comes to the interior of your home, you can achieve the perfect look with the help of the following French home décor tips.

Incorporate Antique Pieces

Antique furnishings are a must if you’re going for a French-European feel in your home. An oversized, upholstered chair, a larger-than-life canopy bed, or a beautiful armoire can serve as a focal point, one that you can use as the inspiration for the entire room. If you’re having a difficult time finding French antique furniture that fits within your budget, check out antique consignment shops and flea markets in your area to find some affordable pieces. You may even find some fixer-uppers that you can repair and refinish yourself–after all, French style favors shabby-chic and distressed furnishings.

Choose Colors Wisely

If you want a more traditional French décor, stick with neutral colors like white, cream, or gray for the walls. You can paint with a solid color, or consider adding a stripe or simple design in black to add a touch of class. While the walls should remain neutral, you can add color to the room with decorative accents and fabrics in shades like sage-green, plum-purple, sunflower-gold, or lavender-blue.
For a French country feel, give your walls some color without going overboard. Light, creamy yellows, softly muted blues, and other pretty shades drawn from nature are appropriate choices.

Add Texture to the Walls

Texturizing your walls is another way to add some French flavor to your home décor. Texturizing techniques range from simple to challenging–and factors to consider when deciding the best method should be based on your budget and whether or not you will do the work yourself or hire someone to do it for you. The easiest way to add a textured look to walls is to paint them with a special paint that gives the illusion of texture, or use faux-painting techniques to get the look. If you’re confident in your handyman skills, you can also add texture with plaster. Plaster not only gives walls a texturized look–it gives them the true feel, too.

Mix and Match Patterns

Mixed and matched patterns are very popular in French décor, so don’t be afraid to use a variety of them all in the same room. Fleur-de-lis, stripes, gingham, and toile can be very complimentary to one another as long as they come from similar or complimentary color pallets.

Use Plenty of Fabric

French décor favors fabric–and from drapes and upholstery to linens and plush accents, be sure to incorporate plenty of it. Like different patterns, it’s not unusual to find several different types of fabric together in one room. Toile, cottons, linens, silk brocades, Chantilly lace, and even wool are just some of the types of fabric that you can incorporate together in French décor.

Make it Symmetrical

Symmetry is another important element in French design, so keep it in mind when arranging furnishings such as chairs and accent tables. If possible, mirror an arrangement on the other side of a focal piece to give a clean, symmetrical look to the room.

Jessica Stam photographed by Corrine Day for Vogue UK, October 2007

Bring the Outdoors In

Bring a touch of the outdoors into your French décor with fresh floral arrangements, floral patterns, and splashes of color similar to the ones found in a French garden or rolling countryside. Make a pretty centerpiece for your kitchen table by filling a French vase with an assortment of bright flowers and greens or adorn your walls with French artwork depicting nature at its finest. French impressionist art, such as a painting by Monet, is a great way to add a garden feel to your home.

Accent with Old World Treasures

French plates, timepieces, linens, and other antique treasures displayed throughout your home add a touch of the old world that is essential in French décor. Find unique trinkets and accent pieces that fit in with your French theme by browsing online auctions and classifieds, antique shops, consignment stores, flea markets, and even yard sales. Interesting pieces that represent France’s rich culture will bring just the right amount of French flair to the rooms in your home.

If you want your home to embody the splendor and charm that is so abundant in French décor–use these tips to help make it happen. With a few French décor ideas to spark your creativity and a little interior design know-how, your home can go from oh-so-blah to ooh-la-la in no time at all.

Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for AreaRugs.com.

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