There is nothing quite as indulgent as a Parisian-style house or apartment. The French certainly know how to coordinate contrasting patterns and colours and are a deft hand at merging the old with the new to create a living space with style and comfort. And it's the confident addition of a hero item here and there such as a Louis chair covered in outrageous fabric or a pastel-coloured chandelier that shows the French really know what's 'chic'.
Parisian apartments are usually very old with very high ceilings and beautiful white walls with ornate cornicing and moldings. You may not have the high ceilings, but if you are a bit handy you can quite easily add some simple moldings to your walls with dowel and glue (and then a lick of paint). Hire a professional tradesperson if you are not confident or simply paint your walls a bright, bright white for that perfect French look.
In With the Old, In With the New
The French have a knack for expertly mixing old pieces with new ones. In a French apartment it is not unlikely to see a modern glass-topped dining table with antique dining chairs or contemporary artworks hung beside vintage mirrors. The key to achieving an eclectic look is to complement your colours, textures and patterns and to find a good balance. Be brave, but be discerning – too much of one colour or too many modern furniture pieces with your newly molded walls may not give you the effortlessly chic room you are after.
Bold patterns on upholstery, drapes, cushions and rugs are a must. Go for arty patterns in bright colours to capture everyone's attention as they enter the room. It's easy to go overboard with pattern, but do as the French do and use some restraint – just the drapes and cushions, or a colourful patterned chair with a plain rug will make enough of a bold style statement.
Find Your Hero
Everybody needs a hero and the Parisian apartment is no exception. Again, the key to incorporating attention-grabbing pieces into your home is to choose carefully. But when you've made your choice it's important that your hero piece has that wow factor! A large chandelier, a bold-patterned ottoman or rug, or a wardrobe painted a bright colour are all great hero pieces.
Get the look...
• White painted walls with moldings are a fabulous start to creating the feel of a Parisian apartment.
• The French have a knack for missing old pieces with contemporary. Be brave and try some mixing of your own – a modern dining table with vintage chairs or a sleek couch with an antique mirror can work brilliantly.
• Bold patterns can be seen in many Parisian apartments and are a bold style statement. Show some restraint when incorporating patterns into your décor and opt for just a few homewares or furnishings to keep it looking chic.
• A hero piece is a must! A large chandelier, a colourful rug, or an outrageously upholstered ottoman are all great ideas for hero pieces.
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Katie Evans – Milan Direct