Lightness, abundance of light, elegance and chic are associated by many with the “urban” French style of interior decoration, somewhat different from the equally popular, but “rural” direction of Provence. Let’s consider each of them, starting with what Parisians and residents of other large settlements prefer.
Urban Chic With A Bohemian Touch
It mixes the echoes of Empire and Baroque, Art Nouveau and Classics, it is characterized by the use of antiques inherited from grandmothers and grandfathers. The interior can harmoniously combine a wrought-iron bed of the 19th century and a wardrobe of the era of Louis XV, and modern lamps and vases will give them a touch of modernity. Antique mirrors in exquisite frames and porcelain figurines will set the tone and a certain mood, blending perfectly with new objects, gaining in contrast.
You can decorate it as an apartment or a whole house, so any one room: a living room, a bedroom, a nursery, a kitchen – everything will look exquisite and with real French charm. But this should be trusted only by professional designers, so as not to turn deliberate negligence into chaos, and a light touch of bohemianism into flashy luxury.
The Main Features Of The Style
With the possibility of various combinations, there is still a basic basis for the French style of interior design.
- Walls should be white or plain in a light shade in combination with parquet flooring in pastel colors of natural wood.
- There should be no sharp contrasts in the color scheme.
- Mostly matte textures.
- Furniture made of wood or metal, antique or artificially aged. Forged items, carved legs or mosaics are desirable.
- Natural fabrics.
- Fireplace (or imitation) in the bedroom or living room.
- An abundance of decorative elements, including flowers
- Stucco moldings on the walls and ceiling.
In order not to replace lightness with pomp, moderation in the selection of furniture and decor items should be observed when creating an interior in the French style. The abundance of even the most beautiful antique designs can “overload” the space, completely removing the sophistication and simplicity of the furnishings. Antiques are not highlighted, but only emphasize the general direction of design thought. What is absolutely inappropriate is the plastic and leather upholstery, the rest of the materials are fine.
Perfect symmetry in the French style is discouraged. Let’s allow a slight element of negligence to give the interior a touch of romance and make it more comfortable without turning the room into a branch of the museum.
As mentioned above – they should be light, pastel shades. You can plaster them, whitewash, paint or paste over with plain wallpaper. Preferred colors: pink, peach, white, light gray, pale blue.
This is not the main element of the decor, but just a background. Therefore, make sure that the surface looks neat, and do not focus on its design. In some cases, aged chintz with small floral and floral patterns is allowed for wall decoration.
Ideally, a smooth, plaster snow-white or pale cream. Stucco molding will be good as decoration. Designers recommend floral elements that harmoniously fit into the chosen style.
But modern trends in interior design are also acceptable, so you can order a matte stretch ceiling in white or light beige.
An essential element is a beautiful central chandelier. Crystal will look best.
Other materials are acceptable along with parquet. As a rule, it is discreet porcelain stoneware, laminate or natural board, painted in light colors. Artificially aged coatings look very original. Colors and shades – natural, pastel, black or terracotta will look out of place.
Layout Of Premises
The French style is best suited for spacious apartments or houses with high ceilings and separate rooms. A studio is not the best option, since in France they prefer separate rooms and it would be inappropriate to combine a kitchen with a living room or even more so a bedroom.
If possible, then make “French” windows from floor to ceiling, which can open either to the balcony, or, if we are talking about a private house, to the veranda or directly to the green lawn.
In many apartments built in the mid-20th century, rooms were made through passage. Try to do at least a little redevelopment to isolate them.
The Discreet Luxury Of The Living Room
The French style suggests that this spacious room with light walls will have a set of a small sofa and cozy armchairs. It is best to choose a table round or oval, but always with graceful legs, inlay or carved pattern.
A plastered white fireplace will be a good addition to the interior. You can hang a picture in a gilded frame or a mirror on it. Photos, candlesticks, porcelain will look good on the mantelpiece.
Lovers of beautiful dishes will be happy – it is this style that provides for a glazed sideboard or a slide in the living room, in which vintage sets and crystal will look great.
Special attention is paid to window decoration. The curtains should be fixed as close to the ceiling as possible so that they fold down to the floor. The material for them should be dense and expensive in order to look beautiful when stretched out when you close the windows. In the daytime, the space between the curtains shifted to the edges will be covered by a light organza that lets in the sun’s rays.
In addition to the already mentioned ceiling chandelier, several more lighting fixtures are needed to fill the living room with bright light on a cloudy day or after sunset.
Calming Bedroom Mood
The basis of interior decoration here is the bed. The rest of the accessories are selected for it. This style assumes models with a high back, fabric drapery or a canopy would be appropriate. The bedside tables are small and elegant, it will be convenient to store things in a chest of drawers, and to tidy up – at a dressing table with a large mirror in a beautiful frame. As for the cabinets, antique or semi-antique models will look best.
For lighting, wall sconces or table lamps with textile lampshades are optimal, their dim light will create an intimate atmosphere.
Bulky stucco molding on the walls and ceiling for the bedroom is inappropriate, so you can limit yourself to the ceiling cornice.
Accessories are varied: from porcelain figurines of shepherdesses and shepherdesses to a tailor’s mannequin decorated with beads, lace or ribbons. The bed will look good under a quilted bedspread and with an abundance of decorative pillows of different sizes, made in the general color scheme of the room. Curtains are also matched.
Vintage Bathroom Luxury
In a city apartment, it is unlikely that a thorough compliance with the style will turn out, since it involves large windows in this room, but in a private house you can easily achieve this. Otherwise, picking up everything you need is pretty easy. An obligatory attribute is a mirror in a carved frame with gilding.
The white or ivory bowl is set on curved legs. They do not move it to the wall so that it can be approached from any side; in this case, water pipes are laid under the floor. The sink is selected in the same color scheme as the bath, and the taps on both should be the same style.
It is better to place towels and other “bath accessories” on shelving units or on low tables with thin legs. Bouquets of flowers in vases are used as decorations.
The floor can be wooden or light stone (high-quality tiles that imitate it are allowed).
Light walls and ceilings serve as a backdrop for furniture without sharp corners. Smooth lines are the guarantee that the cabinet or table will fit into the interior. Natural wood, glass, forged parts, tiles are the main materials for interior decoration. The textiles from which the curtains, tablecloths, potholders and towels are made are only natural.
The dining table is traditionally round, surrounded by matching high-backed chairs. Beautiful china dishes are placed on open shelves.
Provence – “Rustic” Direction Of The French Style
This is a kind of country style that allows you to create a unique atmosphere of home comfort, inspired by the peculiarities of the historical region in the southeast of the country with its Cote d’Azur, lavender fields and snow-capped alpine peaks.
It is characterized by the use of natural materials: wood, natural stone, linen and cotton fabrics (with floral and plant prints), forged metal, ceramics.
The ceilings are decorated with exposed wooden beams, and light furnishings are in harmony with a variety of textiles trimmed with lace and ruffles. Walls are usually plastered in warm pastel colors, sand, lavender, pale green, cream or white are suitable. Moreover, the plaster is specially applied unevenly, the bulges and roughness give a peculiar charm to the surfaces. The highlight will be “faded” places or bald spots, made artificially, but immediately adding “age” to the room. Designers recommend textured plaster for the best effect.
The floor should match the color of the ceiling beams. Moreover, it may not necessarily be wooden, you can choose a coating of stone of the same shade. Furniture of light shades of wood or painted in white or light gray, wicker furnishings are acceptable.
For decoration, traditional Provencal earthenware dishes, clay pots, spice jars, oil bottles, wicker baskets, dried flowers and live plants in pots are suitable. Figures of roosters are very popular.