Holiday Guide to French Style Interior Design

    Holiday Guide to French Style Interior Design

    French Interior DesignPeople often attach great importance to their houses and the quality of their personal spaces. In most cases, the design and general feel of a house reflect the personality of the owner. French interior design provides people with an opportunity to make the insides of the houses and personal spaces more appealing aesthetically.

    In addition to that, through interior design enables people to utilize their spaces more efficiently and with less wastage. Most importantly, the interior design allows people to mold their houses by their tastes and preferences; this is bound to make them happier and more content with their lives.


    Christmas is just around the corner, and this means that sooner or later, homeowners will start decorating their homes in preparation for the festive season. Even when it comes to Christmas decorations, the French still have a unique and elegant way of doing it. While no one does French better than the French themselves, there are a few things which homeowners can do to mirror the French traditions perfectly.

    1. Neutral Colors

    When it comes to French interior design, neutral colors never go wrong. During Christmas, experts recommend going with neutral chippy woods, linen fabrics, white and fresh greens. It is important not to overdo these hues and to keep them soft. Old linens are particularly ideal for French style decorations during the festive season.

    2. La Creche

    Translated to "the manager" and known among some circles as "the crib," this is an ever-present feature in French homes during the festive season. According to historians, the tradition of having a "le crèche" in the house during Christmas started in the 14th century with St. Francis of Assisi as the pioneer.

    Le crèche is a reflection and a reminder of the birth of Christ in a manger in Bethlehem. Indeed, the very last bit of setting up the manager (placing baby Jesus in a crib) often takes place on the morning of Christmas day itself. Le crèche comprises of small figurines of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the wise men, the shepherds and even the angels.

    In other cases, the Le Crèche may have additional characters such as typical village men and women who are normally depicted in an apparently happy mood.

    3. The Wreath

    The French love to play around with wreaths when designing their houses during Christmas. For example, a boxwood wreath hung on the front door of the house often greets guests during the festive season. Additionally, one may choose to go with the more traditional option of an advent wreath. This type of wreathing is normally placed flat on a table with four candles standing in the circle; sometimes there is an extra 5th candle.

    The French love to pair their wreaths with fat red candles. This in contrast to Americans who prefer using thin purple, pink and sometimes white candles. Normally, the first candle is lit on Sunday marking four weeks before Christmas. Each Sunday after that, another candle is lit until Christmas finally reaches. When there are five candles, the 5th is normally lit on Christmas day. For an even more genuine French look, experts recommend adding colorful ribbons, pine cones, fruits or even nuts to the wreath.

    4. Forget the Stockings

    In the United States, it is quite common for people to hang stockings on the fireplace around Christmas in anticipation of Santa Claus. In France however, the practice is a bit different. Instead of stockings, people place shoes by the fireplace or under the Christmas tree. Children, in particular, place their shoes under the tree in anticipation of gifts from Santa Claus.

    5. The Christmas Tree

    Just like in other countries, the Christmas Tree is normally a key point of attraction in French households during Christmas. However, unlike many other people, the French prefer to keep their tree decorations simple.

    Colorful Christmas baubles, lametta (also known in French as Cheveux D'ange",) and tinsel (Guirlande) are common decorations found on French-inspired Christmas trees. French traditions also dictate that homeowners light 12 candles on the Christmas tree with each candle representing a month of the year. To top it up, French stylists suggest adding a golden star at the top of the tree to represent the Bethlehem star.

    People can design their houses in several different themes, think of the following:

    • Contemporary theme
    • Minimalist theme
    • Industrial theme
    • Scandinavian theme
    • Traditional theme
    • Transitional theme
    • Rustic theme
    • Bohemian theme

    In some cases, two or more themes combine to result in an entirely new theme. For example, in the French style interior design, the modern meets the traditional and also meets the flamboyant and glamorous. This makes the French style of interior design one of the most aesthetically pleasing themes of interior design.

    The fact that it never goes out of fashion and its popularity is proof of its timeless and effortless elegance. However, pulling off French style interior design successfully requires one to follow certain rules and maintain certain standards.


    1. Lighting

    Lighting is one of the most important elements of interior design. According to interior design experts, many people overlook lighting in their houses. At the same time, experts are in consensus that lighting is extremely vital in creating and changing the mood of the room.

    Lighting also can alter one's perception of the size of a room. Many interior design experts are quick to point out that lighting is more than just aesthetics. Indeed, lighting can help to relax the eyes and reduce fatigue and headaches. Additionally, adequate lighting is essential for safety in that it allows for increased visibility.

    Many French interior designs make use of lighting options such as table lamps, floor lamps, and even pendant lights. However, one of the most French lighting options is the use of wall sconces.

    Nothing screams out French more than using differently styled wall sconces ranging from contemporary themed to classic themed. However, one can never go wrong with simple geometric shaped wall sconces. Homeowners could also consider injecting some drama in the room by adding a chandelier. Something beautiful, elegant and royal gets top marks when it comes to interior design like the French.

    2. Opt for Bold Art

    (Source: Home Decor)

    The French have built a reputation for themselves as bold and fun people who love to make powerful statements with art. French style interior design enthusiasts note that large abstract paintings, sketches, children's illustrations and even black and white photography helps to complete the home.

    For example, homeowners could opt to incorporate cubist art into the home. Cubism is distinctly French given that it was pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque both of whom lived in Paris. It is a particularly good idea for homeowners to contrast between some of the more established forms of art such as Cubism with contemporary or modern art. This juxtaposition of old and new is Parisian to the core. After all, the French are well renowned for the artistic and romantic nature.

    3. Simplicity Carries the Day

    One thing about French interior design is that it is effortlessly elegant. The elegance of Parisian designs emerges from the fact that styling in Paris is never overdone. On the contrary, it is often careful and of a nonchalant nature. For example, while French-style advocates for the use of floral elements, frills, and ruffles in interior design, it cautions against exaggeration of these designs.

    One way of keeping the interior design simple is through the use of a simple and uncomplicated color palette. Many experts advocate for the pairing of colors that compliment each other since these do not tend to clash.

    Simple color combinations also reflect calmness and an easygoing nature. Neutral hues such as mushroom, soft duck egg blue, serene green, and taupe are also used to create a calm and relaxed mood. Nonetheless, homeowners are still encouraged to inject small bursts of color into the room through art, accents and other components of the room.

    Homeowners are not prevented from adding colors such as gold into their French interior designs. Instead, they are advised to use god hues in a limited manner to avoid coming out as fake and cheap. It is also recommendable to limit the use of gold hues onto things such as lighting and decorative components within the house.

    Simplicity in French interior design is also reflected in the French embrace of negative space. Many French stylists appreciate the power of minimalism. These designers often advise homeowners to leave space on walls and even on their floors. For example, while most homes would utilize a rug in the living room, the French-styled interior design may choose to ignore the rug altogether.

    4. Windows and Floors for an Authentic French Feel

    In the French-styled interior, ceiling to floor windows is quite popular especially for their ability to display window treatments perfectly. Even in cases where windows are not a ceiling floor, one can still give the illusion of larger windows through the use of ceiling to floor drapes.

    According to interior design experts, this ends up making space look bigger and airier. Even something as simple as letting the curtains poor luxuriously on the floor is distinct with French elegance. It is also through curtains that French interior design enthusiasts play with colors in the space.

    Regarding floors, French interior design tends to focus more on floors made from the material such as stone, slate, and hardwood. This is because these materials have the allure of naturalness. French floors are also commonly layered and altered with area rugs of different designs and patterns.

    5. Use Antique Furniture and Décor Frequently

    As a country, France has quite a rich history. There are lots of memorable and famous French art dating back from the 17th, 18th and 19th century. These antiques and elements of French history are critical in successfully pulling of French-inspired interior design. For example, a homeowner may opt to go with antique French tapestry or a Louis XV-inspired armchair.

    Despite the importance of antiques to French interior design, experts caution against overdoing or over-concentrating on French antique. European antiques and Louis XVI and Louis XIV are also considered hallmarks of French interior design.

    6. The Power of Anti-Décor

    One of the ways through which homeowners can guard themselves against the likelihood of over-doing antiques within their homes is to create a situation where decors from different times in history are juxtaposed within the home. 

    Many interior design experts believe that this helps to inject some playful fun into the home. The combination of modernist and traditional themes within the home make French interior design bold and adventurous. Additionally, it contributes greatly to the timelessness of the French style in interior design.

    7. Reuse and Recycle: Allow Things to Age

    French designers will often wait to purchase the most appropriate antiques for their desired designs from flea markets and other similar markets. However, French designers do not always resort to purchasing antique items and other unique elements.

    On the contrary, French interior design is fond of recycling and reusing things. For example, rather than disposing of vintage vases, a French designer would try to incorporate the vases into the interior design of the house.

    On the same note, rather than throw away an antique mirror, a French designer would add it to the living room to create a vintage and rustic look that has a deep sense of history. French stylists believe that aged items are a huge reflection of character.

    8. Simple and Uncomplicated Flowers

    Many interior design professionals agree that flowers are effective in helping to enhance the charm and warmth of the room. The fact that flowers are seasonal means that people are always presented with different choices. When arranging flowers in the home, many experts advocate for simplicity. This resonates well with French interior design which also views a bouquet of flowers as a basic component of a Parisian designed room. Many French interior stylists suggest that homeowners use only one type of flower within the house.

    Parisian Interior Design

    9. Forget About Trends

    In France, there is a common saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Trends are in most cases the outcome of rapid change. Even as these changes occur, the French believe that the core foundations remain unchanged. In this sense, French stylists believe that what was fashionable in the past is still fashionable today. Subsequently, stylists must respect the ancient history while using the present to improve it

    10. Keep Lifestyle in Mind

    What many people fail to realize is that French style in itself is not effortless and uncomplicated. On the contrary, French interior design appears uncomplicated and straightforward simply because houses are designed to facilitate and integrate the habits and lifestyle of an individual.

    Experts are of the opinion that when interior design matches one's lifestyle, it ends up reflecting a sense of effortlessness. Further, this ensures that the design of the house has a purpose and a distinct function.

    11. Consider the Power of a Feature Wall

    In interior design, feature walls can either enhance the look of the room when appropriately done and create an imbalance in the room if not well done. Interior designers define a feature wall as a single wall in a room which serves as the focal point of attraction within that room.

    Feature walls in French interior design provide the opportunity for homeowners to showcase their; antiquities, curiosities and other unique objects such as mirrors, sculptures, and silverware among other things. The bolder one is, the better.

    12. Openly Displaying Shawls, Jewelry, and Perfume

    Despite their love for simplicity and minimalism, the French also love indulging in luxury and their guilty pleasures now and then. Perhaps the most obvious way French interior design does this is through encouraging homeowners to show off their shawls, purses and even jewelry. The French also enjoy displaying vintage jars of exotic perfumes. Rather than throwing empty jars of perfumes away, homeowners can use them to create a genuine French feel.

    13. In Regards to the Bathroom

    French bathrooms are often bold and serene. In most cases, French interior design attaches great importance to sufficient lighting in the bathroom. Natural light from windows is therefore highly encouraged. Regarding color patterns, French bathrooms make use of a light palette which serves the purpose of lighting up the bathroom even further.

    In most cases, bathtubs are preferred overs showers. Additionally, vintage items and antiques are all welcome in a French-styled bathroom. For a romantic feel, experts recommend covering the walls with a wallpaper that has a floral print.

    There are different French bathroom designs with some taking a minimalist approach while others take a country feel approach with flowers, hardwood floors, and matching hues.

    14. Designing the Bedroom

    In French interior design, the bedroom is one of the most important chambers in the house. French interior designers advise homeowners not to shy away from decorating their bedrooms and making them ideal for a retreat at the end of a long day. Ultimately, to the French interior designer, the ideal bedroom is romantic, airy and well lit.

    french interior design bedroom

    Experts recommend several things when decorating a bedroom in line with French style;

    • Firstly, the walls are better off painted in white or delicate cream
    • Lining bedroom ceilings with faux beams
    • Dramatic features such as a candlestick chandelier right above the bed or even a pastoral stone fireplace.
    • Maintaining symmetry in the bedroom. For example through having several matching items on either side of the bed.
    • Creative use of fabrics on the bed changes the texture of the room.

    The main aim of French interior design is to come up with a bedroom design that offers a dreamy, yet comfortable get away from the complexities of daily life.


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