How To Decorate Like a Parisian

How To Decorate Like a Parisian

Marissa Cox
Feb 18, 2014
The Paris home of Patrick Patrick Gilles & Dorothée Boissier, as seen on Yatzer.
(Image credit: Birgitta Wolfgang Drejer for Yatzer)

One of the things that has intrigued me most since moving to Paris, besides the beautiful architecture, the fashion, and of course the food, is how Parisians decorate their homes. It's a mix of old and new, traditional design offset by modern, and always very chic and stylish, just like their fashion sense. So here are my top tips for recreating Parisian interior style and adding that certain je ne sais quoi to your space.

A Paris apartment featured in the June 2013 issue of ELLE Decoration UK, as seen on SF Girl by Bay.
(Image credit: ELLE Decoration UK)

1. Mix it up. Mix old with new, different styles, as well as art and books, to create a space that’s distinct and eclectic à la Philippe Starck, France’s most famous interior designer. Of course some Parisians have the added bonus of living in a beautiful Haussmann building with period features, but that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate the style by mixing and matching flea market finds and placing them next to modern pieces of furniture.

The Paris apartment of Dorothée, founder of My Little Day, as seen on French by Design.
(Image credit: French by Design )

2. Keep walls white. Paris apartments are notoriously dark (unless located on the top floor), so Parisians keep their walls white to maximize the amount of light. But if you do crave some color, create an accent wall like the one in the kitchen above.

A Paris apartment located in Odeon, designed by A+B Kasha.
(Image credit: a+b Kasha)

3. Go vintage. Paris is famous for its brocantes (French for flea markets), and they pop up every weekend in a different arrondissement, lining the streets with untapped treasures. Parisians are always on the hunt for something unique, so when choosing knickknacks and curiosities for your home, do spend some time on online vintage sources or at your local flea market, to pick out something that will add individual style to your rooms.

A Paris apartment featured in the June 2013 issue of ELLE Decoration UK, as seen on SF Girl by Bay.
(Image credit: ELLE Decoration UK)

4. Invest in a rug or two. A large rug is the centerpiece of any Parisian apartment floor. Although Paris herringbone wooden floors are pretty, the downside is that walking across them can be very noisy, so a nice thick rug is a good way of muffling the noise and adding color (as well as warmth). Go for something bright, like the orange rug in the apartment above, or something patterned, as it will offer a good contrast to those stark white walls.

Illustrator Kerrie Hess' Parisian apartment, as seen on The Interiors Addict.
(Image credit: The Interiors Addict)

5. Hang a chandelier. It may be a bit of a cliché, but hanging a chandelier above the dining table or in the living room is the simplest way to introduce a bit of Parisian style into your home — think the Palace of Versailles. And you don’t have to spend lots of money: you can find some reasonable options at IKEA or on Ebay.

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