From Un Bout de Soufflé to Emily in Paris, the French have always been universal trendsetters. There’s a challenge in staying true to traditional Parisian charm whilst avoiding clichés. True Parisian décor is nuanced, and bridges the gap between chic and eclectic. The City of Lights is also the city of art, which makes it imperative to choose the right décor. From picking the perfect piece of wall art, to determining a paint color with “je ne sais quoi,” there has never been a better time to embrace the Parisian interior aesthetic.
A truly Parisian palette is about more than choosing the right color combos, it’s about selecting specific shades. For example, “blue” is broken down into hues like azure, sapphire, and steel. “Purple” becomes eggplant, heather, and lilac. It’s all about the “in-between” shades, and making each hue difficult to put your finger on. If you’ve ever seen a shade that seemed to lie somewhere in between two or three colors on the color wheel, chances are the French have devoured it. Rather than choosing white, go with a subdued ivory. Brown becomes a muted taupe, while green is swapped out for a teal-tinted emerald. Instead of a true grey, opt for grey with a hint of mauve.
Paris is known as an amorous city dripping with romance, which carries over into typical Parisian décor. However, the biggest mistake designers make is ignoring the balance between feminine and masculine details. Romantic doesn’t mean overtly flowery, it means incorporating rich tones and ornate shapes. Offset your soft, dreamy details with simple furniture in deeper shades. On the flip side, if you use predominantly neutral tones, add a hint of dusty rose or aubergine. The goal is to create an interior that looks romantic without sacrificing pensive sophistication.
Opulence meets Minimalism
Parisian interiors are accessorized with opulent details, but the French never go overboard. Find fanciful décor that exudes Hausmannian charm, but use it sparingly. A sparse selection of antiques and lavish vintage pieces will capture the essence of Paris without looking cliché or commercial. Choose a gold, antique mirror to hang above the fireplace, but leave the surrounding space free from clutter so it remains a focal point. A statement piece should be just that – a single piece of eye-catching décor.
It’s no secret that Paris exudes an effortless elegance, but there is a touch of rusticity that the French have perfected to a T. A paint job should never look completely flawless, as you want to capture the feeling of a space that has been lived-in. Comfort is just as important as design, because the French value indulgence so highly. Paris itself is preserved in the past, which means you want your home to look well-kept but well-loved. Look for unfinished wood details to pair with vintage-inspired wall art.
If the French have taught us anything, it is to find luxury in minimalism and vibrancy in muted shades. While we may not be able to take a stroll along the left bank in the near future, we can experience Parisian glamour from the comfort of our own home. Create a charming space that radiates refinement and comfort simultaneously. Make your home into a living museum without sacrificing coziness. It doesn’t take a lot to transform your space into an apartment suited for Saint Germain.