How to Give Your Home Parisian Style
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
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