The French style in home décor is both popular and easy to create. In just a few simple steps, you can adapt the French style to your home for a bright and fresh look.
If there’s a keynote to French style in home décor, it’s simplicity. The French decorator’s goal is to focus the eye on strong and classical lines rather than to create an impression of the abundance of stuff. This goal is achieved by the selection of white or neutral colors that can serve as a backdrop for minimal content; the avoidance of intensity in the colors used in decorative accessories; the elimination of all but the most crucial accessories; the preference given to the clean lines of vintage furniture; the mixture of classic vintage-style pieces and carefully selected new furniture; and the use of linen as a decorating staple. Let’s go through these points, one by one, and see how easy it is to introduce the French style into your home.
Select white or a light, neutral-colored paint for the walls and woodwork in your rooms. Keeping the walls unobtrusive in this way allows you to draw attention to the lines, textures, and details of the furnishings.
When deciding what kinds of decorative items and accessories such as lamps, light fixtures, and shelving to add to your rooms, aim to be very spare and lean. The French style tries to eliminate all but the most essential and best-loved pieces from a room. Anything beyond the bare minimum detracts from the whole, and gives the feeling of disorganized clutter. Once you’ve streamlined the number of accessories in your rooms, be sure to keep their color white or neutral. Aother good choice is to use accessories made of wood, which adds both simplicity and character to a room.
The French style works perfectly with the strong, classic lines of vintage furniture. Hardwood tables and chairs that have some knocks and bumps are ideal. Treat these pieces as if they were antiques and family heirlooms. Keep the number of pieces of furniture to a minimum, to avoid a cluttered effect. You may well have these pieces on hand already. If so, use the money you’ve saved to purchase a few new, key pieces that blend well with the old. You can bring the whole look together in an amazingly effective way by carefully mixing the old and the new. (The ability to save money by searching out and recognizing exactly what pieces of furniture to spend money on is a talent the French have in spades.)
As for a basic decorating material to achieve the French style, select linen. It’s a staple and hallmark of French decorating. You’ll think first of the kitchen, where you’ll want neutral-colored or white linen curtains, linen tablecloths, and linen accessories such as tea towels and mats. But don’t limit this fabric to the kitchen and dining room. Select neutral-colored linen drapes for the living and family rooms. Consider upholstering your sofa and easy chairs in linen. And what about linen throw-pillows and cushions?