French style is feminine, soft, luxurious, reminiscent of the past and conscious of the present. It speaks to living for the moment, loving passionately, and appreciating everything for its beauty, its sentiment or its practicality. Here are some ideas for you to include in your interior to capture the French feel: www.luxerose.com
1. Toile – long ago French living was sketched on fabric to convey news and rumours from the upper class to the peasant class. The peasants could not read and toile became their form of communication. Now, toile is a staple of the French inspired interior. Use it on drapery, bedding, cushions, footstools and upholstery. Use a little or use a lot, but use it.
2. Birds & Roosters – Poultry farming must be big in France because the motifs of chickens, roosters and little birds are typically French. Images of fowl can be included on tea towels, cushions, and wall hangings, and can also be represented in figurines, dishes and cookware.
3. Mirrors – Versailles, which used to be a country village where Louis XIV vacationed, is famous for its Hall of Mirrors. While these mirrors are large and expansive, they are modest in comparison to the beautiful ornate mirrors that are available now. The perfect mirror for French decor is Venetian mirror with etched and beveled pieces cut into curved and straight borders. Whether its vanity or simple practicality, a fabulous mirror in de rigeur in this style of interior.
4. Red & Yellow – These are the typical colours you will find in French decor, but it is not uncommon to see violet purple and robin’s egg blue. Cream is a nice neutral with shots of black to create vibrant contrast. For paint, focus on yellow and blue; for accents try black, grassy green, red and white.
5. Ornate Wrought Iron – Include this element in clocks or garden fret work wall hangings. The French version is finer and more delicate compared to its Spanish counterpart.
6. Opulent Lighting & Chandeliers – An amazing element that used to be overlooked was lighting, but with the ornate and sparkley options available today it’s easy to find new, trendy and colourful crystal (or glass) chandeliers. The shabby chic version includes leaf and rosette motifs in metal work around the bulb. Make sure you keep them clean to really make them gleam.
7. Soft Linens & Cushions – Soft linens in 500 thread count are a must luxury for the French bedroom, as are toile, floral or ticking quilts. Layers of cushions, covers and bedskirts in soft cotton, luxe satin or silk are also essential. On the couch, layers of cushions in a soft muted palette and a blanket to cozy up in provide the perfect lounging spot for a glass of Bordeaux and the latest edition of ELLE.
8. Fresh Scents & Aromas – The hills of France are covered in lavender and wild poppies, and the gardens brim with roses, asters and rosemary so include these in sachets in your danty’s drawer or use essential oil on a light bulb to infuse an entire room.
9. Urns & Florals – The urn is a classic French shape. Fill a couple with huge floral arrangements and place one in your entry, on your kitchen table and atop your mantel. Vary the colours, sizes, heights and textures for a wild look, or keep it to one flower for a more formal feel.
10. Crackle Finish – The time worn look of a crackle finish can be found on a clock face with Roman numerals or on a vintage dresser or mirror. Get the look by visiting your local paint store where crackle products can be purchased to create your own “flea market find.”
11. Lush Drapery – The French know how to do drapery! Imagine pinch pleated panels of silk edged with soft fringe and accented with elaborate tassels and rope, hanging from a wrought iron pole with acorn finials framing a large French door opening on to a garden. Beautiful!
12. Bits of the not so practical – Your French inspired decor would not be complete without an element of the beautiful which is included just for the sake of being beautiful. Try a rhinestone studded card case, an inlaid atomizer, a silver (plated?) box or canister, or a mirror-covered side table. These are essentially French simply for the fact that you can love them just for being beautiful.