Here are 10 decor pieces that can bring the Paris apartment decor style into your own place. Everybody knows that French girls nail fashion like no other. And it’s no surprise that Parisian apartment decor is just spectacular. To achieve this look you don’t have to be a millionaire, to live in a beautiful Haussmannian building on the Left Bank, and to decorate with priceless antiques.
I’m French and living in Paris on the Ile Saint Louis in the 4th Arrondissement. And I’ll do my best to give you some tips and practical advice to achieve that Parisian apartment decor style wherever you live. In order to do so, I’ve tried to explain the Parisian style decor and what makes Parisian apartments so special. Then I’ve made a list of home decor pieces that can bring the Paris apartment decor style into your own place. If you dream about turning your home decor into a perfectly furnished Parisian apartment, keep reading below my French advice.
What Is Parisian Style Decor
The French are quite traditional when it comes to interior design. They appreciate their classic, historic apartments situated in the city center and they like to mix modern furniture with some antiques. The French master that classic and contemporary mix, and that constant balance between design and antique. French home style is above all the perfect balance of elegance and comfort.
There are few architectural elements that define so well Parisian apartments. You may or may not have these elements easily available. They are:
- White walls (that brings out the historic ornaments detail)
- Parquet floors
- Floor-to-ceiling windows in order to get as much natural light as possible
- Built-in shelves
Although there is nothing flashy about the Parisian chic interiors. The walls are painted white, and the rest of the color palette concentrates on white, beige, grey, black, khaki, and blue. Also the French pay attention to detail and quality. Indeed, Parisians may have only a few furniture items but the ones they do have are the best quality they can afford. Finally, the French know the value of minimalism, and aren’t afraid of empty space, on their walls or their floors. Art is often large and singular, or simply not there at all, and furniture is given room to breathe.
10 Decor Pieces For Styling Your Home Like A Parisian
1. A Gold Mirror
If there is a single item you’ll find in every Parisian apartment, it’s a gold mirror. In a typical Parisian apartment, you’ll always find a big gold mirror above the vintage chimney in the living room. It’s a great way to get that air of elegance that the French adore, and nothing makes a room brighter, faster, than a gigantic mirror.
2. A Vintage Rug
The French love to mix modern furniture with some antiques. And you’ll always find a beautiful vintage rug in a typical Parisian apartment. It’s always better if it’s a rug that you bought at an artisanal flea market. If you can’t, don’t worry! There are plenty of home decor companies that sell vintage-inspired and antique rugs. My favorite ones come from Anthropologie. Keep reading below to shop French girls’ favorite vintage-inspired rug to Frenchify your home.
3. An Iconic Armchair
The French know the value of minimalism and aren’t afraid of empty space. Indeed, furniture is given room to breathe. And because Parisian flats are usually quite small, an iconic armchair is preferred to a sofa in the living room. You’ll always find a design and contemporary armchair in a Frenchie’s living room. There are plenty of options, but I’ll recommend choosing a contemporary piece like a design velvet or a Danish midcentury design armchair. Indeed, a contemporary piece helps to balance out the older, more antique-looking items in a Parisian living room. Keep reading below to shop French girl’s favorite armchair to Frenchify your place.
4. A Chandelier
Chandeliers have long been a staple of elegant decor. The chandelier is the magic decor item of the Parisian apartment-style. And, you’ll find that many Parisian apartments feature one of these sparkling beauties. You can choose from mid-century lighting chandeliers, crystal chandeliers, or more contemporary lighting pieces. I really love the vintage-inspired and contemporary chandeliers from Anthropology. And you’ll be surprised what a big difference it makes when you swap out a basic fixture for a chandelier.
5. Vintage-Inspired Vases
There is some variation of vintage-inspired vases and carboy bottles in literally every french girl’s home and Parisian apartment. Theses vintage-inspired vases are often left empty, sometimes containing fresh flowers or dried flowers like lavender or larkspur. My French advice is to acquire an assortment of vases (typically glass or ceramic) in a range of different colors and shapes for a collected feel.
6. Dried Plants
In every Parisian apartment, there is always somewhere in the living room, a beautiful vintage-inspired vase, or a carboy bottle containing dried flowers. Dried plants are a great alternative if you don’t have a green thumb or if you’re too busy to take care of fresh flowers. I think dried flowers are a better alternative to artificial plants. Indeed, they add some colors to the room and they don’t look fake. Keep reading below, to shop French girl’s favorite dried plants to add in your favorite vase.
No Parisian apartment is complete without candles. I’m sure you’ve seen everywhere on Pinterest or Instagram pictures of Parisian apartments with some Diptyque candles probably on the coffee table. It might sounds cliché but it’s true! Parisian girls love scented candles, especially the ones from Diptyque. These decorative pieces add a cozy touch that makes any space feel instantly more lived-in. Try something a little unexpected, like Verveine, Thé, or Figuier. And check out my article on the best-scented candles that will transport you to Paris.
8. Contemporary Art
You’ll always find any Parisian apartment filled with contemporary art. The French love to invest in their homes, buying fine antiques, modern furniture, and contemporary artwork. And they love the juxtaposition of minimalist modern art with ornate architectural features. In most of the Parisian apartments, things are left undone: artworks are frequently propped against a wall on the floor or on a piece of furniture.
When it comes to choosing artwork I’ll recommend buying something that reminds you of your travels and different trips to Paris, Corsica, Italy, Greece, or Marrakesh. Indeed, Parisians love to show off about their travels. That is why Parisian apartments are full of travel photography.
9. Coffee Table Books
The French like to play the intellectual card. And that’s why Parisian girls love so much their books. In a typical Parisian flat, there is always a book somewhere: in the bookshelves, on the bedside table or on the coffee table, in the living room. Here is a list of my favorite French books about fashion, home, design, food, and wine that you definitely need to add to your coffee table.
- Poilâne: The Secrets of the World-Famous Bread Bakery
- Choupette by Karl Lagerfield
- Wine Simple: A Totally Approachable Guide from a World-Class Sommelier
- DIOR GLAMOUR
- Grace: The American Vogue Years
- Chanel: The Impossible Collection
- Architectural Digest at 100: A Century of Style
- Wild at Home: How to style and care for beautiful plants
- Jean-Louis Deniot: Interiors
- Peonies: Beautiful Varieties for Home & Garden
10. Something Antique
As you know the French like to mix modern furniture with some antiques. That is why you’ll always find a piece of antique furniture in every Parisian apartment. The French love flea markets and brocantes where you can buy antiques and vintage furniture for a good price. Parisians usually visit les puces at Saint-Ouen (Clignancourt) whether to outfit a whole apartment or just to look for a decorative souvenir. If you’re heading to Paris soon, find Clignancourt’s best mid-century design at Marché Serpette, Paul Bert, Marché Dauphine, and Biron. You can still find some antique and vintage furniture on Etsy, I think it’s the best vintage online shop! Keep reading below to shop French girl’s favorite vintage furniture to Frenchify your home.
And you, do you like Parisian home style decor? Which one of those 10 French decor pieces will you add in your home? Please add your comment below.
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Bonjour and welcome to Leonce Chenal! The French online magazine written by a French woman that aims to help you live your French life, wherever you are. I’m Leonce, I'm French and I'm a Parisian expat currently living in the city center of Amsterdam. I created Leonce Chenal back in 2018 when I was living in London and missing my home country way too much. What started as an online space to share my favorite skincare products has since evolved into a destination for French fashion, interiors, and beauty. If you have any question or if you just want to say bonjour, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org <3