How french aesthetics work? History of french interior design and Parisian style apartments.
How French aesthetics work? History of French interior design and Parisian style apartments.
At Homes Direct 365, French furniture is our speciality.
But, do you know what makes French apartments “amour fou”?
And, do you adore luxury Parisian drapery, shabby chic furniture and the sophisticated aesthetics of French interior design?
French-style homes have heavily influenced interior design trends throughout the decades shaping some of the most amazing castles in the world. It is French dining rooms, French bathrooms, French-style bedrooms, dramatic drapery, gorgeous home accessories, and French lifestyle that make French interior design so charismatic and desirable.
But what is it that makes French decor glamorous?
Is it gorgeous antique upholstered furnishing? Or it is the crystal-bright chandeliers? Maybe solid wood and floral ornaments?
Truth is, you can’t summarise the palette of a country as big as France, to a cliche such as “Parisian-style decor but French interior design does have a distinctive signature.
That’s why at Homes Direct 365 we have a wide range of specialised French style furniture:
So why are French apartments so mesmerising?
(or at least the photos you’ll find on the web)
At Homes Direct 365 we know that it’s the mesmerising elegance of solid antique-textured wood, bold and subtle colour palettes, shabby chic design, and a dash of drama. To a big extent, it is drama that makes the glam of modern French apartments shine.
We know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all formula but we’ve done our best to give this comprehensive and practical set of guidelines and ideas to make your home Parisian-flavoured and shabby. To browse our wide collection, browse the full range of furniture for French interior design at HomesDirect365.co.uk here.
In this guide to French interior design, Homes Direct 365 will share with you:
- Tips on how to approach French interiors.
- Basic techniques for a Parisian touch.
- Practical advice on furnishing, decor and interior design for your home.
Learn to appreciate history,
Since Francis I, the 12th century, and architect Gilles le Breton (passed in 1553), till King Henry III (1574 to 1272) and Louis XIII (1617 to 1643), all the way to early 17th century, it was the age of French Renaissance, followed by two centuries of dynamic evolution and change.
A bit on famous Baroque,
Baroque interior is extremely popular, even nowadays. It was “imported” from Italy after France invaded the first in 1494. It took a few years for French interior designers to adopt the ideology but around the ruling of Louis XIII (1617 to 1643), the Baroque style had already gained solid grounds throughout the country.
At Homes Direct 365 we have three Baroque sets for you to browse:
Back to history. One of the most notable examples of French Baroque architecture is the Palace of Versailles, which had most of its buildings designed by Louis La Vae (1612-1670), the garden designer Andre le Notre (1613-1700) and arts supremo Charles Le Brun (1619-90). The building is an absolute masterpiece and a bright example of luxury French interiors.
The modern look of French homes carries the legacy from the golden age of King Louis XIV (1638 to 1715), the genius works of Charles Le Brun, Louis le Vau, the royal court of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 – 1821), the grace of centuries-old French castles and chateaus, French wine, romantic lifestyle and bold Parisian aesthetics.
The age of Louis XIV (1638 to 1715) ,
Most popular between 1642 and 1716, Louis XIV style furniture was a blend of lux and pomp, rich on drama, and expressing royal might.
It followed the teachings of Baroque art, which the Sun King heavily supported. Made out of solid dark wood, furniture often featured carved or golden motifs like flowers, lions, and of course, suns.
Although dominated by rectilinear elements it still managed to blend with oval motifs.
The Regency period and French interiors,
After Louis XIV passed away, his successor Louis XV (1723 to 1774) was too young to rule and therefore regency was much needed. Free of tight monitor and control, architects and designers fled away from the royal court and thus came the variety of taste and manner.
Popular till the middle 30’s, of the 18th century, it was heavily influenced by the motifs from East Asia. It broke the rules established by Louis XIV’s style and introduced odd angles, more curves, many flowers and even dragons.
The emergence and rise of Rococo design,
Originating as a deviance of Louis XIV’s aesthetics and design, Rococo dismissed the majesty of royal Baroque while keeping luxury and glam. Much of the king-imposed trends are attributed as heavily influenced by Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of Louis XV who grabbed power in 1723.
Focused at hedonism and pleasure, the Rococo design made cushions grow in size, asymmetrical patterns and detailed ornaments became more popular, all in pursuit of lux and comfort, and ultimately, functionality too.
A good example to illustrate change are the chairs for card games, designed to fit one particular type of clothing, while dining sets had to fit a wide range of outfits. Different functionality defined different designs.
The change of Neoclassicism,
Also known as the style of Louis XV, neoclassic furniture doesn’t deviate from Rococo design but takes a rather different direction. As Europe changed, so did trends and French homes. Inspired by the legacy of ancient Greece and Rome, neoclassical design followed symmetry and incorporated mainly straight lines.
However, furniture legs were an exception. Cabriole legs in neoclassical furniture were inspired by the architectural majesty and vertical dynamics of columns in ancient temples.
A peculiar fact is that gold, although always part of luxurious French palaces, only after the French invasion in Egypt when Parisian interiors were introduced to gold enriched with colours, floral ornaments, became widely-used. Being seen in ancient Egyptian tombs and temples is when Egyptian-inspired motifs grew on popularity. A second fact is that French aesthetics also influenced pre-farmhouse trends in America before classic metal roofs and clapboard siding to reign.
French interior constantly evolves but nevertheless, polished veneers, upholstered furniture rich on ornaments and rounded armrests, draped fabrics, floral geometry, ceramic granite, wood and parquet, are still distinctive elements of French homes. According to Glasgow Stonemasonry, natural stone floors are one of the most luxurious features of classic Parisian style apartments. Some add a classic stone fireplace along with an arc of marble flooring.
However, if a stone-crafted fireplace is not your cup of tea, at Homes Direct 365 we offer you the fireplace, surround and electrical fire alternative along with a wide range of compliment surround and accessories.
Back to Parisian decor,
The capital is full of antique Haussmannian buildings. It blends a dash of casual insouciance and a sip of royal luxe, a distinctive signature of typical French homes. Discreet luxury, built upon subtle, pastel colours, large mirrors, framed with metal, rich on details, classic French windows and heavy drapery, all define the essence of Parisian decor.
But how to achieve glamorous French aesthetics and bring it to your home? Here’s a dash of tips to help you to tune in to French aesthetics:
And go over the top! Reupholster a sofa in a bright and electric colour, hang long and thick drapery gorgeously spreading on the floor, or place sculptures and busts throughout your entire abode.
Put a solid antique French clock on the wall and small coffee tables next to solid wood seating. Place old units next to newer ones. Introduce drama throughout contrast and colour and thus you will achieve a truly Parisian atmosphere.
Drama defines French interiors because of the variety of vivid and mismatched combinations of furnishing and decor that Parisian apartments have.
Bear French lifestyle in mind,
The roots of dramatic French apartments lay in the fateful lifestyle of the many that inhabited them. Some properties are owned by the same families ever since the 12th century!
Although heavy and slightly laggard, Parisian interior design is focused at both functionality and ease..
In the classic French apartment, you will find many mismatched sofas, couches, nooks, stools, and chairs to lounge in, not to mention the many drawers, handcrafted cupboards and creative storage.
Praise advantages your abode already has,
You might not own nor live in a gorgeous Haussmann-decorated home, covered in magnificently-ornamented wall carvings, soaring ceilings, luxurious staircases, enormous windows, elegant cornices and classic oak floors, but you should nevertheless, emphasise on what advantages and features your abode already has.
Highlight your windows, terrasse, and tiles via elegant chandeliers, long curtains, and clever lighting, say the experts from Housebuyers4u.co.uk. The lightweight glam of shabby chic is not easy to achieve nor balance. If you have rich ceiling mouldings or any sort of engravings, recessed light is not advisable. You should rather aim for dramatic lighting to accentuate on detail.
Antique yet modern,
Rusty mirrors and bruised furniture have their charms but it is the 21st century. Although deeply attached to its century-old roots, French interior aesthetics, have always had a crucial role in defying modern trends.
Don’t bury yourself in praise over the past. A French-themed home can be both antique and modern.
The concept of anti-decor is to mix and combine elements that contradict each other and thus achieve the awkward perfunctory touch in French interior design. However, a French abode should not be too neat and tidy.
But don’t try too hard.
Truth is, Parisian detail is all about not being perfect. That’s why you should rather focus on what makes your home cosy and full of memories rather than go after a firm guide on what’s French and what isn’t. Contrary to anti-decor, matching ranges can save you a lot of nerves and hustle over of balance and aesthetics.
Made famous by Pablo Picasso (1881 to 1993) and Georges Braque (1882 to 19963), hanging one piece of art won’t help you achieve the desired palette of Parisian style alone. It is the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effects, such as classic art, antique furnishing and dramatic elements, drapery, table coverings, vases, and lighting that build up the sophisticated appeal of French interior design.
Although rich on drama and detail, somehow, French interiors manage to incorporate negative space as well. The French people are natural talents when it comes down to minimalism and the know-how of using empty spaces to charm. That’s why you should leave enough room for interior to breath. If you hang a large painting, make sure there’s enough room nearby so you avoid the sense of clutter. If you have a heavy dining table and chairs, be careful when using other heavy units such as
Use pastel colours,
Well-designed French apartments use mostly subtle and brighter pastel palettes, featuring colours such as beige, classic white, caramel thick, a dash of pink, pale yellow, green, and blue, while darker colours are mostly meant for furniture.
However, modern French interiors will often feature vivid red, blue, green, and gold. White and right? If absolutely determined to use white anyways, look out for that blend of marble white and a dash of pink and arm yourself with painting tips and advice.
The feminine touch,
It is female grace, gentle tender, feminine scent, fragility and beauty. French interiors are rich on floral patterns and basic geometry, soft fabrics, ornaments, mirrors, glass and crystal, rounded curves and of course, golden motifs for decoration. Elements that all heavily confine the feminine aspect of interior design.
Ladies, showcase your scarfs, jewellery, and perfumes,
French interiors are eye-catching and a corner of necklaces, necklets, chaplets, bracelets, and rings, will only make the feminine bedroom more luxurious and glam. That’s why ladies are advised to showcase shaws and jewellery to add the extra dash of glitz.
Check out the range of jewellery boxes, mannequins, models for display and mirrors at HomesDirect365.co.uk.
Grab the eye,
A shiny marble-top table or a golden sculpture. You need something shiny like metal, crystal, mirror or glass to effectively collect light and illuminate a room.
Let interior age,
Without the shadow of a doubt, antique textures and aged furnishing are one of the easiest to distinguish aspects of Parisian decor. Rich on ornaments mirrors, gently worn-out cupboards, metal elements with imitations of rust and old rugs are a common sight to see.
French know that good furniture will last you long and don’t mind to watch grow old and enjoy it. That’s why antique pieces are rarely sanded or repainted. Occasionally, you will see a fresh finish though.
People apply various techniques to age the appearance of furniture in pursuit of antique French aesthetics.
But, what furniture to use in a French style interior?
French style kitchen decor,
The kitchen is one place where you can easily combine historical design and more modern designs. For instance, you can have the cabinet doors and the furniture given an old rustic feel. Reusable wood can serve this purpose very well. Then, to add a bit of colour, you can give the walls a coat of yellow paint. This will add the modern feel to the kitchen you can browse our full range on Homes Direct 365.
You can experiment with the curtains but anything with a floral pattern will work. When it comes to dream kitchen products, you can let your imagination run wild. A visit to the thrift shop will get you stuff like old tin cans for utensils or some display items to put on the shelves. Overhead lighting will give your kitchen some extra style and you can even go big with a chandelier.
French Dining – Tables, Chairs,
The table and chairs can be the of dark coloured or white-painted wood. You can also have mismatched vintage chairs for a cheap and unique setting. You can also spruce up the walls with some antiques for a more traditional feel. For a more modern feel, you can have a colour like yellow or green on the walls. In the dining room, you can experiment with the lighting but you have to make sure that it keeps on with the decor. You can have a chandelier or for more style, you can go for standing lamps.
French Style Living Room,
The living room is where most people at home relax and gather. It is, therefore, important that it gets a special touch. The furniture can be made from recycled wood and you can even create replicas of French furniture. You can even get authentic French furniture even though that might be a bit expensive.
For the walls, you can be adventurous you can combine blue or beige paint and wallpaper to create colour patterns that will give the room a unique feel. Furthermore, you can add some paintings to the walls for an extra personal touch. You can drape the windows with heavy curtains if you wish to capture an ancient French theme. You can go big with the lighting and get a crystal chandelier or you can keep it simple and have some lampstands.
Paris is sometimes referred to as the city of love and romance and there is no reason why should add that to your bedroom. You can do something unique like getting a metal bed if you wish to capture classic French culture. The bed can also be made off carved out wood for a more stylish design which we have a large number of here at Homes Direct 365.
Your bedroom walls can match your personality and you can give them the colour of your choice. In addition, experiment with the lighting for a unique feel.