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Parisian decor guide: how to bring Paris style into your interiors

Addicted to Emily in Paris? Find out how to get that chic Parisian apartment style in your bedroom and living room

Published: December 17, 2021 at 2:41 pm

Interior design trends come and go, but Parisian apartment style is one decor look that will never go out of fashion. If you've been binging Emily in Paris on Netflix, you'll know exactly what we mean! Modelled on the chic interiors we all associate with the apartment blocks ranged along the French capital's iconic Haussmannien boulevards, Parisian decor is a timeless and elegant choice.

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Even if you're not lucky enough to have an airy apartment overlooking the Champs-Elysées, you can still incorporate elements of Parisian style into your home decor. Read on to find out more about the Paris aesthetic and ideas for bringing it into your own home.

What is Parisian decor style?

Orac wall panelling, The Best Wallpaper Place
Orac wall panelling, The Best Wallpaper Place

The key element of Parisian decor style is its mixing of tradition and modernity. Parisian decor takes many of its cues from chateau style, inspired by the luxurious interiors found in French country manors.

This means a classic Parisian apartment is likely to include ornate plaster mouldings, decorative wall panels and eye-catching baroque mirrors. You're also likely to find chairs, side tables and other items of furniture with cabriole legs, a curved style popular during the rococo period of the 18th century.

Double-Framed Marquise Gold Mirror, The French Bedroom Company
Double-Framed Marquise Gold Mirror, The French Bedroom Company

Therefore, to achieve this look in your own home, it is vital to make the most of any period features you already have - Parisian style is all about showing off those original features. The typical British home may not often come with antique cornicing and herringbone parquet floors, but take note of what you do have - perhaps an Edwardian fireplace or Victorian mouldings - and make these features focal points for your decor scheme.

However, what distinguishes the Parisian aesthetic from chateau decor is that these antique elements sit side-by-side with contemporary designs. Think monochrome modern art against traditional white panelled walls, a sleek modular sofa arranged in front of an elaborate marble fireplace, or an antique sofa reupholstered with contemporary fabric. This eclectic mixing of old and new gives you plenty of freedom and flexibility when it comes to deciding exactly how to dress your home.

When it comes to colours, the traditional Parisian apartment is predominantly white, with subtle accents of cream, dove grey, French blue and pale pastels. For a slightly more contemporary look, use contrasting black. Chalk paints are preferred to get the ultra-matt finish characteristic of Parisian walls.

Parisian bedroom decor ideas

Toulouse Gents Wardrobe, Dunelm
Toulouse Gents Ivory Wardrobe, Dunelm

Give your bedroom instant impact with an ornate headboard - don't be afraid to go OTT on decorative flourishes, as classic Parisian furniture draws heavily on the in-your-face ostentation of the rococo period.

If you usually have a working from home set-up in your bedroom, you could opt for an antique-style bureau. However, an antique chair is unlikely to be particularly ergonomic, so this might be a good opportunity to inject some modernity into your scheme.

Above all, remember that the Parisian aesthetic is all about spaces that aren't too obviously styled - ideally, they should look lived-in and, crucially, loved. The bedroom is your most private and personal area, so fill it with items that speak to you, no matter what period or movement they belong to. To get inspired, visit antique shops, car boot sales, markets and charity shops.

And while Parisian style thrives on vintage ornaments like candlesticks, table lamps, and crystal chandeliers, this doesn't usually extend to the artwork.

In a typical Parisian apartment, you're more likely to encounter modern art and sculpture, often in black to make the most of the contrast with the white backdrop.

Screenshot 2021-12-17 at 13.14.55
Matisse - The Plain Tree 1951 Framed Print & Mount, 102 x 102cm, John Lewis

Parisian living room ideas

No classic Parisian living room is complete without an oversized gilt mirror, usually in the ostentatious baroque or rococo style. Speaking of gilt furnishings, did you know that it's possible to add a touch of gold glamour yourself? Read our guide to adding gold leaf to vintage furniture to learn how!

When it comes to furniture, you can take your pick between the French chateau style and more contemporary designs - and any mixture of the two. Anything with cabriole legs will instantly convey the grandeur of 18th century Paris, so look out for console tables, sideboards, sofas, chairs and side tables with those distinctive baroque curves.

Augustine Ecru tufted two-seater bedend
Augustine Ecru tufted two-seater bedend and rubberwood, Maisons du Monde

If you prefer a more sleek and simple look, explore mid-century modern furniture or boho rattan. Remember, the Parisian aesthetic is eclectic, so you can mix and match, as long as you keep the overall look simple and understated. Not overcrowding the space is more important than sticking to one style.

Traditional Parisian apartments have long, floor-to-windows which make them feel bright and airy. Make sure you're maximising natural light in your home if you're keen to get the same vibe, and opt for light, white voile curtains - hang them as close to the ceiling as possible to give a clever illusion of length.

Voguish Wall Panel in Beige, Photowall.co.uk
Voguish Wall Panel in Beige, Photowall.co.uk
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Installing full-length panelled walls like those seen in typical Parisian apartments would be a costly undertaking, but luckily there are realistic-looking wallpapers that offer the same look for a fraction of the cost and effort, such as this 3D-effect panel wallpaper from Photowall.

Feeling inspired? Explore our other style guides to find the perfect decor look for you. Or sign up for our newsletter for a weekly dose of decor advice and ideas!

Authors

Rebecca MessinaEditor, YourHomeStyle.uk

Rebecca is the Digital Editor of Your Home and HomeStyle

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