We often hear about French girl style within the context of fashion and beauty. Think perfectly oversized trench coats, red lipstick, and Brigitte Bardot. Though, as anyone well-acquainted with France would attest to, this paradoxically put together yet uncontrived look extends far beyond fashion and beauty. The truth is that these categories are but the gateways into French girl style. After all, we don't just want to look like a French girl, we want to live like one, too.
I, like most Americans, am fascinated by French interiors. Not only are they timelessly chic, but they have a certain quality, or should I say je ne sais quoi, that feels particularly cool. My goal upon writing this piece was to discover what exactly breeds that Parisian ‘it’ factor. Is it a color? An object? I consulted experts for answers, materializing their insight with picks from the best home decor stores. Style your home like a French girl with the following best-kept designer secrets,
How to Style Your Home Like a French Girl
Livingetc knows design.
Less Is More
According to Olma Fuentes, Founder and Principal of Deni + Dove Interiors, French girl homes are minimalist but emphasize timeless, quality decor. She recommends "selecting pieces that are a bit restrained in appearance, but are also very impactful in terms of style and sophistication." To this end, consider "neutrals, clean lines, and decor pieces that have a sculptural or artistic element. Look for furniture items that are sinuous, but that are upholstered in a solid or neutral colors," adds the interior designer.
This metal arch table lamp looks as if it was plucked from the Ritz Paris. Exuding a timeless charm, these pleats will never go out of style.
Soft crescent curves are the defining factor of this Goop-designed couch. This is one of the best sofas for the French look, its champagne-finished legs enhance its warmly elegant appeal.
It's all about the details. "Finish your room off with some beautiful millwork, such as crown molding or panel molding," advises Olma. Rather than play it safe with ordinary hardwood floors, Rotem Eylor, CEO and Founder of Republic Flooring, suggests "herringbone or chevron flooring, terrazzo flooring tiles or mosaic tile, even limestone and marble." Slightly elevated design choices like these create the sophisticated air we often notice pervading French girl interiors.
Wall panels like these are a fantastic means of elevating your home on a budget. Consider purchasing multiple in various sizes to achieve the stately look pictured above.
Price: $9.29 per square foot
Nothing says 'chic' like herringbone flooring. This option from Wayfair comes in a variety of wood finishes, from the light and airy ‘Snowcap’ shade to ‘Olympic,' a deep brown.
French girls keep it classic, but that doesn't mean they don't love a statement! Quite the contrary, out-of-the-box details are integral to forming that elusive cool factor. According to Olma, you can achieve this at home with a "few fashionable focal points," such as "a stunning light fixture or beautiful artwork" — think of these statements as the metaphorical red lipstick of your home. Since French interiors are largely pared back, a few sophisticated focal points will spark significant intrigue.
This art print is done in an eye-catching abstract realism style. Its rich color palette makes for a compelling juxtaposition to an otherwise neutral interior. Anthropologie is a surprising but wonderful place to find some of the best wall art.
"Make use of area rugs and follow a geometric design that will add depth to the room," says Rotem. The diamond and grid design on this patterned rug makes for an elegant statement without overwhelming the surrounding space.
"Just as the French girl will wear a timeless basic paired with a modern accessory, French interiors also are a mix of Old World design elements paired with contemporary furnishings to help modernize the space," says Olma. Consider pairing a modern sofa with an antique mirror "or position new artwork with ancient vases," adds New York-based interior designer Artem Kropovinsky.
And Alex Bass of interior design studio Salon 21 advises keeping an eye out for "pieces that embody art deco styles, rustic wood tables or cabinets that are timeless, and anything 'shabby chic.'"
This sculpture isn’t a real antique, but it definitely looks like it. As per our experts’ recommendations, pair with a contemporary item like a sleek steel vase for an unexpected twist.
Anthropologie mirrors often have a French quality to them, and the Gleaming Primrose variety is the first thing that comes to mind. Offered in a variety of sizes, purchasing at least one is a must.
Speaking of all things chic, style icon Jenna Lyons revealed the secret to a relaxing home: hidden TVs. Explore my edit of the best furniture to hide TVs.
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Formerly covering fashion at L’Officiel USA, style maven Julia Demer brings her love of design to Livingetc’s world of interiors. As the title’s Style Editor, Julia's work reflects a sharp eye for detail and an innate passion for aesthetics. Her journey began with a strong foundation in design, honing her craft at renowned establishments like The Row and even establishing her own eponymous fashion brand. Julia’s design background is evident in the way she thoughtfully curates shopping edits, always maintaining a focus on emerging trends while preserving timeless sensibilities. For Julia, fashion and interiors go hand in hand, reflecting her lifelong commitment to perfecting the art of style.
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