Paris style is unmistakable. Rooms have a comforting, casual elegance that seems effortless. You needn’t be born in Paris or hire a professional decorator to get the look. Just follow these six simple guidelines to create your own version of Paris chic.
Toned Down Walls
Parisians don’t make colour statements with their walls. They play them down, preferring to let the furnishings and objects in the room stand out. Wall treatments tend to be neutral and are never intensely bright. Shades of ivory, oyster, eggshell, linen, flax, taupe faint yellow and pale blue are common. Warm gray, in gradations from ranging from light to dark, is so popular it’s known throughout the world as French gray. When wallpaper is used, it tends to be a tone-on-tone repeating pattern, such as faint stripes or subtle damask.
Mix, Don’t Match
Slavish devotion to a single period or style is unthinkable to Parisians, whose favourite pastime is treasure hunting in the city’s eclectic flea markets and antique shops. A chandelier worthy of Versailles above Art Deco club chairs and an ultra modern Lucite coffee table is not a problem for the true Parisian. This does not mean any haphazard collection will do. The mix should always be intriguing but understated and, above all, artful.
Less is French
Simplicity is key to achieving the Parisian look, with furniture and accessories both at a comfortable minimum. This is an anathema to most Canadians, so edit your pieces, then edit them again. The purpose is to create spaces of light and air and to give each piece individual impact. For example, a single antique or clock on a mantel will do, but it should be an interesting one.
Unexpected Focal Points
At the heart of Paris style is the brilliant use of focal points. There should be one object or area in the room that strikes the eye immediately, then draws the gaze back again and again. An effective focal point needn’t be expensive, but it should be dramatic and memorable. While an Canadian might add white, burgundy, or pale yellow bolster pillows to a gray and white bed, a Parisian would be more likely to choose bright cerulean in luxurious crushed velvet. The grander the room, the more over-the-top the focal point can be, such as a nearly life-sized piece of garden statuary occupying the space between tall windows or an elaborately framed mirror the width of the fireplace mantel that runs from the mantel to the ceiling.
A Word about Wood
Parisians love wood. Rough-hewn beams are prized, as are oak parquet floors and upholstered chairs with carved wood trim. Very dark wood is preferred for beams and furniture, floors are stained slightly darker than their natural hue, and decorative molding is usually painted the same colour as the wall or ceiling it’s part of.
Finishing touches that will give your room French flair include using large area rugs in subtle tones and patterns, adding black as an accent colour and choosing burnished gilt frames for artwork and mirrors. Parisians favour large and dramatic wall decor, so huge mirrors, over-sized clocks and large paintings with equally large frames are common decorative features. Drapes, not short curtains, are used in every room except the kitchen. For informal rooms, sheers or simple linen drapes can be used, but a formal living room will have silk or satin drapes with elaborate tiebacks, cords or tassels.
I hope that you like these tips. Drop by and see us at Guaranteed A Fine Furniture and we will help you create the home you desire.
Have a great day Richard
Hallways tend to be dark and claustrophobic. Often they are long and narrow with no windows. This is one place in your home that can be a challenge to decorate. However, there’s good news. Give your hallway a complete makeover for maximum visual effect and beauty.
Colour is the most important factor in creating a comfortable and inviting hallway. Choose light colours to make the hallway look larger. Depending on your choice of flooring, blue, green, earth tones and pastel shades are the wisest choices.
Use eggshell or white for walls and paint doors and woodwork a warm, rich complimenting colour, such as almond or peach. Add architectural interest with the use of decorative mouldings. Crown mouldings can be used to eliminate the sharp angle between the ceiling and walls. Install a wooden chair railing along the length of one wall or add wide baseboards along the bottom of walls.
If ceilings are high, beams or brackets can be added. Never add these to hallways with low ceilings, as it will give the sense of the ceiling closing in on you.
Divide Wall Space
Divide hallway space by adding paintings, photography or other objects that hang flush with the wall. Have family portraits developed in black and white and hang them in bronze coloured frames to create richness. Never hang items in a straight line; stagger them or create a cluster. Hanging framed prints in a straight line will make the already narrow hall look much narrower.
Create a focal point at the end of the hallway. This can be a complimentary statue for an elegant look, or an indoor fountain with a lush plant sitting nearby. Another option is an antique bookcase or cupboard with a glass front. Hang a mirror above it that will reflect the hall and make it look larger.
Flooring affects the mood of your hallway. If you’re going to be installing new flooring, consider a warm, wood grain laminate, which will create a sense of warmth. If you wish, contrasting rug runner can be added to give contrast, or use an Oriental rug runner in pastel shades.
Lighting is second in importance only to colour. Since your hallway is straight and has few furnishing or obstacles, use light that gives off a glowing, misty light to create ambience. Wall scone lighting, graceful wrought iron candelabra or a crystal chandelier that hangs close to the ceiling is perfect for this area of your home.
If your hallway is wide enough, consider adding an bookcase, washstand, accent table and mirror, umbrella stand or fancy coat rack. Furnishings add visual effect and give the area a homier look while creating warmth.
If you use the furnishings above, add floral arrangements, antique pitchers and bowls, books, unique umbrellas or hats for accent.
Set a basket of natural, dried flowers, pinecones and ornamental grasses in a corner of the hall. Lovely baskets of natural flowers and grasses add a touch of nature and give the effect of earthy fun.
There are so many ways to add visual effect to your hallway that will transform it into a place of elegance and beauty. Use your imagination, have fun and enjoy the new look that will add, warmth, appeal, elegance and beauty to your home.
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