We can’t all afford to buy up Seine-side property. But that doesn’t mean that you should have to sacrifice your interior design goals. Whether you live in New York or Nebraska, here are just a few tips for adopting basic French design principles that will help you recreate the classic Parisian apartment of your dreams.
Gold & Mirrors
Use gold accents against white walls to give the room a fresh, but elegant, theme. Install large mirrors that will make your space look bigger and brighter. Try something like this Gleaming Primrose Mirror from Anthropologie for the big statement, with smaller matching details like a set of Burnished Decorative Boxes and a couple Metal Taper Candle Holders.
Blonde wood is your friend. Ideally, this would mean parquet floors, but you don’t always have the option to strip and re-panel your floorboards. Instead, use blonde wood statement pieces like this INGO IKEA kitchen table or GAMLEBY IKEA kitchen table to set the color mood of the kitchen or dining room.
If window boxes are an option, then you’d better get in the car and make your way to Home Depot for, what else, some red geraniums. If not, you can always stop by your local grocery store or outdoor market to pick up fresh flowers. In a pinch, you can stick to bouquets of dried flowers (they’re super trendy right now), or a few well-placed indoor plants, like this Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree you can order off Amazon.
A lot of French beauty concepts revolve around making your beauty routine a ritual, something enjoyable, a daily luxury. Your vanity should reflect this. Make it somewhere you want to spend time. Add flowers, candles, and as many beautiful beauty products as will fit on the counter. Try one of these bathroom sets in copper or marble to pull the overall look together.
We’re talking “Beauty and the Beast” level bookshelves. Pick one wall and turn it into one giant bookcase. One option for doing this is, instead of using traditional bookcases, to buy individual shelf units like this KALLAX IKEA one so that you can mix and match and take up as much space as you need. (And the books? Gallimard.)
Skip the family photos and framed movie posters and opt for something a little more unique. Bonus points if you can say, “I know the artist.” If you live in NYC, check out the Affordable Art Fair in September for works priced in the $100 to $10,000 range. (The art featured above is Dear Sam.)
This one might seem extravagant, but if you’ve already got a lot of the other elements mentioned above, this will really help tie things together. Take a trip to Home Depot to find a crystal chandelier for as little as $60, or as much as $600 (if you’re feeling fancy). Or head to your nearest flea market or antique shop to find one with a worn-in feeling.
Again, not always something you can control, but the point here is to get as much light into the room as possible. Do this by taking down any heavy curtains and either leaving the windows bare or replacing them with something lighter, like these sheer curtains from Bed Bath & Beyond.
Something Old, Something New
Don’t be afraid to mix traditional stylings with modern ones. Most Parisian architecture is Haussmannien, but you’ll notice the furniture tends to predate that era. A set of Louis XVI chairs or an ornate armoire really up the ante (especially if they match the mirrors and chandeliers we’ve already mentioned). A great source for picking up vintage French furniture? eBay. But if you’ve got enough vintage glam going, offset it perfectly with a modern sofa or coffee table.
Featured image: Stock Photos from WDG Photo /Shutterstock