French inspired interior design
In December we started our Rome to Rio series, fittingly, in Italy. As we move towards our final Latin American destination, we’ll be stopping off at different countries along the way to explore local trends and how you can add a touch of international elegance to your piece of planet earth. Next on the list, French inspired interior design.
Following in the footsteps of Caesar, we’re leaving Italy, following the Mediterranean westwards to France. Home of rich, complex cuisine, fine wines and a big red windmill, France has a number of lessons for style-conscious readers to consider.
Understanding the history
French-inspired interior design is all about chic, which is a French word after all. What’s more, France has a proud and noble history which we must explore as our first port of call.
Now in its fifth republic, France, for most of its history to date, was a monarchy. That monarchy, from the Carolingians to the ill-fated Bourbons, was synonymous with one thing – glamourous excess. An eclectic approach to your décor (another French word) therefore will help you enhance the French-ness of your space. You can also pay homage to the depth of French history by mixing items inspired by – if not actually from – different epochs. A mixture of the La Belle Époque, the 1920s and 60s could hardly be more fitting.
Imagine Monet, Chanel and Renoir enjoying a fine lunch in a bohemian Parisian café – this should be your inspiration. With that in mind consider a mixture of 1920s and 60s works of art, Persian-style rugs and elegantly shaped furniture as just one example of how to meet your objective.
Take it easy
French interiors are not overly curated or pushed toward perfection. Laissez-faire is a term commonly used in France which translates as “leave alone” – this concept is a perfect fit for French-inspired interior design.
Don’t be in a rush to bin old items, instead, mix the old with the new. For example, imagine a wall busy with a mix of art fringed by a voluminous classically-inspired velvet curtain – c’est tres bon.
While it may be surprising to hear, French-inspired interior design is not about fleeting trends and fashions. To our friends across the channel, the fundamentals of life are long-lasting and rooted deeply in this ancient culture. As a result, don’t be afraid to invest in good quality items and luxurious materials, I know we’ve said it before but just consider the versatility of velvet. Good quality wooden venetian blinds and silk lampshades will likewise provide timeless elegance and enhance the nature of your space.
A new tricolour
An initial mental picture of a French-inspired space may conjure images of an all-white room accentuated by pale neutral colours. While this may be true for an ultra-modernist cosmopolitan minority, it’s not representative of France in general. As a result, this is something to avoid – colour, we’re glad to say, is your friend.
Neutral colours can look fantastic but in line with our suggestions about mixing items and trends, doing the same with colour will only be to your advantage. Yellows and greys are big hitters in today’s theme. Used as spot colours and on feature walls, blinds or smaller items including cushions and lampshades, these colours alongside pales greens and deep dark reds will enhance your space providing energy and excitement. The trick is to avoid uniformity. Neutral colours covering all four walls is out – considered use of multiple colours is most certainly in.
Recycle and reuse
Throughout this article we’ve discussed the use of older items alongside new pieces. Whether it’s old and new trends, artworks from different periods or hardbound books sat next to nifty connected devices, the theme is to enjoy what you own for the long run.
To build on this thread, why not consider a blind made from recycled materials? We have a dedicated collection of beautiful blinds crafted from recycled plastic bottles that look cool and keep our oceans clean.
We hope you have enjoyed our deep-dive into French inspired interior design. Next month we’ll be continuing our journey with the sun moving westwards to the Iberian Peninsula to see what the great nations of Spain and Portugal have to offer.