Being fresh back from Paris, where I saw so many beautiful things, I am currently inspired by the Parisian's seemingly effortless decor style - the curated undecorated look. I spent several days scouring the puce, brocantes and iconic design stores brimming throughout the Parisian streets, in hopes of finding objets d'art that would replicate Paris's iconic beauty at home. And, another several days wondering in and out of the most fashionable hotels and couture shops for design inspiration. Every where I looked, the Parisian design sensibility was awe inspiring - emulating their fashion sense, Parisian decor balances the perfect mix of old and new in an artfully curated way that appears effortless. Here are some design tips worth stealing from the Parisians to make your home look like the coup d'etat of the bohemian, curated, layered chicness that, well, defines Paris style.
L'Art of Mix-n-Match. The Parisians have perfected the art of mixing flea market finds and different styles and periods. It is common to see a modern Philippe Starck Ghost Chair juxtaposed against an antique French farm table, or a Louis XV inlaid bureau topped with a contemporary sculpture. Period pieces of all sorts are welcome in a single room, creating a "collected over time" look.
Vintage Curiosities. Paris is famous for its many brocantes. I always plan my Parisian trip around puce market days (generally Saturday and Sunday), ensuring that I have at least two days to scout my favorite puce in Paris, Porte de Vanve. The idea of unveiling a 19th Century gilded mirror at the puce for the price of a cheap lunch (say $25) makes me giddy like a five year old on Christmas morning. Parisians frequent these brocantes in search of unique vintage accessories and curiosities that make their homes distinct and unreplicable.
French Gilt. Modern Parisian interiors are not generally flashy, but they do have a bit of worn sparkle in the form of a gilded picture frame, gilded mirror or gilded side board. Gilt is used sparingly but it is an essential piece of the Parisian decor puzzle. It pairs well against white washed walls and pops against modern saturated colors. The goal is not bright yellow gold, but a faded warm gilded piece that looks like it's been around since Marie Antoinette.
White Washed. Paris homes tend to be dark (unless they occupy the top floor and are drenched with sunlight), so it's no surprise that most Parisians prefer to keep their walls white washed. No doubt the period architectural details and moldings of the typical Parisian home help to prevent the white from washing out the character of the space. But, don't fret if you have a modern space void of architectural details, keep the walls white and add pops of character with dramatic drapes, colorful rugs and graphic art, or perhaps an accent wall.
Antique Rugs. Parisian spaces tend to be grounded by at least one large antique rug, or layered with smaller antique rugs. The rugs still allow the lovely wood flooring to peak out from beneath but add texture, warmth and color (as well as muffle the echoing sound of high heels walking on the wooden floor). A patterned or saturated colorful rug will pop against those white washed walls, in perfect harmony.
Dramatic Drapes. Ceiling to floor drapes, generously puddling on the floor, add a Parisian punch to any space. As an added bonus, they also visually enhance the height of any room. Silk, linen or velvet drapes will do, just don't forget the hardware to loosely pull the drapes back from the window.
Chandeliers Galore. Parisians love chandeliers, whether they be opulent crystal and gilt like those in Versailles or modern over sized geometrical shapes (like paper lanterns found at Ikea). It doesn't matter, just hang something grande! This may be one of the easiest ways to add that je ne sais quoi to a room.
Fresh Flowers. Flower markets are abound in Paris, allowing Parisians to easily pick-up seasonal bouquets to bring the colors and scents of the season into their home. Bouquets are artfully displayed in antique apothecary jars, chinoiserie jars or modern sculptural ceramics. Fresh flowers brighten any space with an organic element.