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Bring French chic to your home

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Author: Gill Greenwell, Posted: Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 09:00

Whenever interior designers are asked about their sources of inspiration, they invariably say travel. Just back from my annual trip to Paris, one of my favourite cities, I have to agree. I have returned with a different perspective on my home and am bursting with new ideas. Here are my thoughts on what French style means to me and how you can bring some ‘French chic’ to your home.

Simple effortless style

The French approach to decorating their homes reflects the way they dress – simple, minimal and uncluttered. Subtle colours and carefully curated accessories are key components to looking chic. Think white or grey walls and simple curtain treatments, accessorised with a favourite decorative piece or a few well-chosen modern artworks (they don’t have to be originals!).

A neutral palette with a pop of bold colour

Wall colours in French homes have traditionally been white, but I’ve noticed other neutrals are also being used like ever-popular grey, but offset with sage green or chalky pink. They are also not afraid to use strong colours, such as teal, ochre or terracotta.

I saw some vintage chairs covered in a bright gold and red striped fabric material and they looked amazing. Using vibrant, contemporary fabrics to recover old chairs always works.

A mix of old and new

A key element of a stylish home is mixing old, well-loved items of furniture with contemporary pieces – and the French do this so well. Spotting bargains in flea markets is a national sport and they are not afraid to mix eras and styles. One friend has modern white leather sofas in the same room as an old vintage desk inherited from her husband’s family – they look great together.

Practical and authentic

I have noticed that my French friends don’t necessary spend any more money overall on their homes – but they use quality, natural materials wherever possible. Items in a Parisian home, particularly the kitchen, are always useful but lovely to feel and look at too. Linen bedding was in all the shops in Paris – and it doesn’t even matter if it looks crumpled!

Rustic charm

The traditional image of French country style has taken on a more contemporary feel – think old garden furniture mixed with plain linen napkins, or mismatched dining chairs painted in soft chalky colours. Items of vintage china, basketware (preferably old) and traditional kitchen utensils. Old glasses and vases filled with bunches of meadow flowers or grasses complete the look.

Furniture with a history is key, it really doesn’t have to be new or expensive. Second-hand or reclaimed is good – and, of course, very much in tune with the current approach to saving the environment. I am already planning to rummage around my local antiques market and second hand shops for bargains to upcycle!

Wherever you are this summer, come home from your break with a new and fresh perspective on your living space. It may even lead to a new hobby.

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