Skip to main content

C'est Magnifique Maison: Unmistakable Beauty of French Provincial Interior Design Style

October 25, 2023
French Parisian Design

French Provincial decor is a style of interior design that reflects the elegant, sophisticated, and romantic ambiance associated with the city of lights. Known for its timeless beauty and the ability to create a classic yet cultured ambiance, French Provincial decor can be adapted to suit different tastes, from traditional and ornate to laid back and eclectic.


The home of Haute Couture, Paris is a city of  timeless beauty, romance, and most of all, fashion. The key to French Parisian decor is to capture the essence of France’s capital city, with its rich history, art, and culture, in your home's interior design.


With high ceilings, tall windows, carved moldings, marble fireplaces, and  boiseries (wall panelings,) Parisian homes have charming architectural details. With an eye for weaving these exquisite elements into the room’s overall design by adding a few decor pieces, Parisians have a sophisticated and elegant ability to create timeless style.


To achieve this look in your home, you don’t have to be rich and famous, live in a Pied-à-Terre on the Rive Gauche, or fill your space with pricey antiques. Combining elements of French and other European design styles to create a timeless and elegant look, anyone can recreate the look and feel of a Haussmannian apartment if you just incorporate a few design elements.  

French Parisian Bedroom

13 VTD Interior Styling Tips To Decorate French Provincial Style


Elegant Furnishings: French Provincial decor often includes elegant, antique, or vintage furniture pieces. You'll find classic French furniture styles, such as Louis XVI, Louis XV, and Rococo, which are characterized by ornate carvings, curvaceous lines, and gilded finishes. Parisians master the art of mixing classics with the contemporary, and modern design with antiques. 


Like its 20 neighborhoods, known as arrondissements,  most Parisian interiors are a mix of periods and styles, with a collage of family heirlooms, objet trouvé (found objects,) and travel souvenirs creating a style that’s truly personal. Contemporary furnishings help balance out the more antiquated architectural features of Parisian apartments. However, a modern Parisian interior is neither over-styled nor over staged. 


Favoring a less-is-more aesthetic, the French know the value of minimalism, and aren’t afraid of empty space. Parisian art is often large and singular (or  not there at all) and furniture is given room to breathe. Most loft style apartments in Paris only have a few key pieces of furniture, but aways of the best quality one can afford. 

Vintage Objet Trouvé (found objects)

Vintage Objet Trouvé (found objects): The French love to surround themselves with meaningful objects, decorative accessories, and trinkets. French Provincial decor often features vintage objet trouvé (found objects) like antique clocks, porcelain figurines, and aged terracotta pots.

French Provincial Living Room with Parisienne accents

Furniture Arrangement: Furniture is arranged to encourage conversation and socializing, with an emphasis on symmetry and balance.


Wall Textures: Though Parisians love their immaculate white walls,  they are sometimes adorned with panoramic, antique, exotic, or scenic wallpapers and decorative panels. Inspired by 18th-century papers, new or reissued designs give an elegant antique feel to any room.  To add interest and depth, patterns and textures are often incorporated through perfectly imperfect plaster walls and toile de Jouy wallpaper. French companies like Papiers de Paris, Zuber, or Ananbô are excellent sources for such treatments.  

French apt

Quality Fabrics: Luxurious textiles are another hallmark of Parisian decor. You'll often see rich velvet, silk, brocade, and damask fabrics used for upholstery, curtains, and pillow cushions.

French Chandelier

Chandeliers and Lighting: Ornate chandeliers and wall sconces are also common in Parisian decor. Adding  a touch of glamor and typically used as a focal point, the chandelier is the magic decor piece of Parisian style, with a majority of Parisian apartments featuring one of these sparkling masterpieces, ranging  from mid-century modern lighting fixtures to crystal chandeliers. 


If a home already features adorned moldings, floor-to-ceiling wall paneling, and parquet flooring, for example, it can be interesting to add a more contemporary chandelier to balance out the older  items.  

Monet

Artwork: Artwork is carefully selected and displayed to create a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing space. When it comes to choosing artwork, there are really no rules, though classic impressionist paintings are common choices. Parisians adore the juxtaposition of minimalist modern, contemporary, and exotic art with more classic architectural features. Sometimes, things are best left undone, with many pieces of artwork frequently found propped against a wall on the floor. 


French Parisian Centerpiece

Floral Arrangements: Unlike many other European cities, Paris is not known for its greenery, which is probably why Parisian interiors are generally filled with floral prints, plants, and fresh flowers. To decorate a home with plants and flowers the Parisian way, you can either transform an outdoor space into a chic Parisian balcony or create an exotic indoor.


To make a truly Parisian statement, add  fresh flower arrangements throughout your home. In lieu of fresh varieties, dried flowers can also add a natural element to a room. Don’t go the fake flower route though. That’s just not the Parisian way.

French Decor

Gilded Mirrors: Simply placed above a marble fireplace, the gilded mirror is an integral part of French Parisian decor. Though they are normally placed above the fireplace in the living room, they can also be found leaning against the wall in a bedroom or dressing room. Mirrors are the perfect decorative item to brighten a room and to create the optical illusion of more space. 

French Decor

Architectural Features: Parisian-style apartments almost always feature architectural elements like plaster white walls (many times with unfinished chips and cracks), floor-to-ceiling paneling,  parquet floor, double pane windows, iron balconies, ornate moldings, and marble mantels.  Architectural details like crown molding, wainscoting, and decorative plasterwork are frequently used to give the room a sense of grandeur and history.

Chanel Coffee Table Book

Luxe Accessories:  French Provincial decor is all about the details. A Diptyque scented candle,  a Baccarat vase, or a Chanel coffee table are all decorative pieces that add a cozy touch that makes any space feel instantly French.  Attention to detail is another defining Parisian characteristic with silk tassels, lace trim, and casual fringe often appearing on pillows, window treatments, and furnishings.


Subdued Palette: The French Provincial color palette typically includes soft, muted colors like beige, pale grays, and pastels, colors that create a sense of serenity and allow other elements in the room to shine.In a typical Parisian apartment, walls are generally painted white which brings out the details of the historic ornaments and allows the room to get as much natural light as possible. To add contrast and depth to a room, deep colors such as blue-gray, beige, and black are sometimes used on a wall, window frame,  or door.Jewel-toned colors like emerald green, sapphire blue, ruby red, amethyst purple, or citrine are used as accent colors.


Flooring: To recreate Parisian-style decor in your home, opt for chevron or herringbone parquet flooring. For the kitchen, the bathroom, and the laundry room, opt for carreaux de ciments (cement tiles.) Alternatively, go for marble, waxed concrete, mosaic tiles, or French terracotta tiles.Add layers to your flooring with beautiful throw and area rugs. For the living room, Parisians love vintage Persian rugs, while in the bedroom, traditional wool Moroccan or Egyptian rugs are preferred.  

Paris at night

I hope this guide will inspire you to bring some Parisian romance  into your own home.  If you’d like a little expert support, contact VTD for a free style consultation.


Related post: Room for Improvement: Interior Design with Affordability in Mind