Anything “French” tends to elicit oohs and aahs, including home decor. The ever popular French architecture and interior decor have the spotlight again this spring. America's obsession with old and vintage meets beautiful new home decor.
From Paris to Versailles and to Provence and beyond, French decor is one-of-a-kind. French architecture and interior design are exemplary and unique. Certainly, the French style has the “je ne sais quoi” factor.
Whether you’re head-over-heels for toile de jouy fabrics of the 1700s or seductive bombé chests of the Baroque and Rococo time periods, French decor never lacks in details. So what’s the secret to a French-inspired home decor? Below are some of our favorite inspirations.
image via thespruce.com
Translated as "fabric of joy," toile de jouy patterns originated in the late 18th century. Believe it or not, cotton was banned in France in 1686. Cotton was introduced in France between the 16th and 17th centuries from India. However, when the ineffective ban was finally lifted, there was a major demand for printed cotton. A single manufacturer produced over 30, 000 designs! So you can imagine how much florals and landscape prints were celebrated in France. Today, toile de jour prints literally cover everything from wallpapers to bedding, chaises and loveseats, decorative pillows, tablecloths, curtains, and even tableware.
Keep the kitchen simple for a relaxed vibe. A must-have for the classic rustic and charming French country kitchen is a simple kitchen or dining table with light aged wood. The humble textured wood gives a sense of history and simplicity of life in Provence. Whitewashed cabinets and planters reinforce that idyllic charm. If there is exposed brick in the kitchen, even better. For a truly French country decor, go for wrought iron and rustic metal accents. You can also incorporate one or two antique pieces into your kitchen decor.
While the French countryside has its charm in simplicity, city life in Versailles and Paris is indulgent. But even Provence has its moments of extravagance, as well. Whether your decor is all out glamourous or less opulent, include a touch of indulgence with statement furniture and accent metals like aged bronze or muted gold. But stay away from a super polished look because it might start to look over-styled. Tone it down with rustic touches and vintage pieces. The French way to decorate is easy breezy. Effortless is key.
If you’ve never heard of bombé chests or dressers, read on. What makes a dresser or chest bombé is the uniquely flared (or flair) look of the Rococo time period. This fancy style is sexy, curvaceous, seductive, and feminine. You can DIY or pick awesome bombé pieces. Upgrade the look with gold or silver touches such as floral details on dressers or table legs.
French countryside has been a long admired home decor style. It’s so popular and nostalgic that we can find remnants of and similarities with rustic French decor (and English home decor) in traditional American homes. But what makes this rustic appeal so uniquely French? Think simple and fuss-free flowers freshly picked from a patch of wildflowers in a low key garden. Add columns and furniture pieces with rosettes and cabriole legs, and you’ve instantly upgraded to the classic French Provence home decor. Stick with earthy and natural colors such as brown, white, blue, and green for a complete and wholesome look.
One sure way to ‘wow’ guests, beyond dramatic drapes and chandeliers, is with fine and carefully curated tableware. While English, Irish, or Italian silverware is always impressive, French flatware has a distinct style that is equally impressive. In fact, flatware of the Baroque period could be worth up to $14,000 or more if it's an authentic antique set. French Baroque dinnerware including flatware and ceramics are defined by ornate, floral details. Even simpler designs of the French countryside dinnerware had Baroque touches.
For a humble Provence style, layer your home decor with white linens, soft colors, rustic wood, and florals. This clean look is so easy to pull off! If it’s white or cream, it’ll work perfectly fine. From knits and weaves to tufted to whitewashed cabinets and antique looking furniture, the key is to stick with white and light colors. For a fresh color, add live green plants, delicate pinks, creams or even lilac or lavender. It’s so simple and beautiful in the most charming way.
While there is something charming and humble about the French countryside of Provence, there is one thing that this French decor did not ignore — dramatic drapes. Whether it was a chic Parisian apartment, a château dripping with extravagance, or a charming quiet country cottage, the French loved to show off impressive windows that overlooked a landscape or a beautiful city.
The allure and drama of French romance are flaunted in elegant curtains. To get the look, go for long curtains. Hang your drapes as high as possible and let them pool at the bottom. The floor-to-ceiling look is exaggerated to create height and drama. Silk and cotton are favorite fabrics for this look. Go for a bold color or stick with neutral. You can accomplish the effect with any fabric or color. If you have the space for a chandelier, go for it! Any guests whose eyes may wander up the curtains will surely catch a glimpse of the beautiful chandelier in the room.