4 Things Parisian Interior Designers do in Kitchens That Make Their Spaces Effortlessly Chic

Take your design cues from the French designers with these top style pointers for a Parisian-style kitchen, no matter where you are in the world

A Parisian kitchen with marble island
(Image credit: Stephan Julliard. Design: Humbert & Poyet)

In the world of design, 'Parisian' is pretty much a byword for style. The city is famed for its effortless elegance and fashion sense. Paris is also known as an epicenter for food, and the city's residential kitchens mirror the capital's appetite for a vibrant culinary scene.

It's no wonder that in Paris, the kitchen is so often the heart of the home. These designs perfectly blend the functional and aesthetic elements and ultimately are spaces to wow guests and entertain. 'They must be functional yet elegant and sophisticated,' says acclaimed Parisian designer, Stéphanie Coutas. Here are four ways to get the Parisian look in your modern kitchen, taken from some of our favorite designers from the French capital.

1. Use of mixed materials

A modern kitchen with mixed materials

(Image credit: Nicholas Matheus. Design: Stephanie Coutas)

This design from Parisian-based designer Stéphanie Coutas showcases a Parisian non-negotiable - elegant mixed materials in the kitchen. In France, marble makes a statement throughout the home, and can help a kitchen feel luxurious and expensive-looking. Here, the dramatic veining of the marble mixes with light oak for an elevated finish.

'The sawn oak used for the cupboard units and the custom dining table acts as a material link throughout the house, creating a cohesive aesthetic,' explains Stéphanie.

'Additionally, I always try to bring the outside in and favor natural materials to translate the beauty of nature and create that sanctuary feeling we all love to have in our homes. Hence why we balanced the intensity of the swirling greens and blues of the White Beauty marble used for the counters with the travertine floors which act as a neutral without distracting or overwhelming the space.'

Her advice for a style-forward, Parisian kitchen is to make it more special by adding something that is going to enhance the rest of the kitchen. 'Experimenting with kitchen countertops and materials is one way of creating a standout feature whilst keeping the cabinets and floors simple,' she says.

Lastly, mirror is an underrated material that holds the power to accentuate the flow of your space, as seen here as used on the kitchen island. 'Mirrors can even make a small kitchen look bigger,' she says. 'This is what we succeeded in doing so with the Constantine project'. (above

2. Clever use of lighting

A dark green kitchen island and well lit space

(Image credit: Stephan Julliard. Design: Humbert & Poyet)

It's a design misconception that lighting in the kitchen should be purely functional but the Parisians debunk this myth entirely, proving how and why kitchens deserve layered lighting schemes, just like you'd find any other room in the home. This brings decorative flair to the space, and sets the tone for various modes.

In this Parisian home, designers Christophe Poyet and Emil Humbert of Humbert & Poyet have perfectly balanced the lighting scheme and introduced beautiful fixtures that act as dainty jewelry for the space.

'The use of standing lamps and sconces provides a mix of kitchen lighting options, allowing for flexibility to create different moods and atmospheres,' says Christophe and Emil.

'Additionally, the bright cabinets and walls serve to enhance the feeling of spaciousness and airiness, in contrast to the darker furniture. Balancing accent pieces and deeper elements with lighter walls and flooring is a good way to create a warm, homely yet standout kitchen that we were able to create in the Tuileries project (above).

3. Encourage warmth with natural wood

A kitchen with wooden touches

(Image credit: Xavier Béjot. Design: Fabrice Juan)

Wood is a key part of Parisian design and a parquet floor is so synonymous with Parisian apartments. This design by designer Fabrice Juan celebrates the wood and the tradition of parquet by playing around with the classic look.

'For our kitchen project, the choice of kitchen color scheme and design inspiration was deeply rooted in the elegant and timeless essence of French lifestyle, particularly influenced by Jean-Louis Deniot, due to my experience of working with him,' explains Fabrice, who designed this kitchen.

'We aimed to evoke feelings of sophistication, warmth, and a sense of effortless charm within the kitchen space.'

'Light wooden tones were incorporated to infuse the space with a sense of natural warmth and elegance, reminiscent of rustic French countryside charm,' says Fabrice. 'These tones were complemented by accent flooring, which adds visual interest and depth to the space, echoing the intricate patterns found in traditional parquet flooring.'

'The overall design intention was to create a harmonious fusion of classic French elegance with contemporary elements, resulting in a kitchen that exudes timeless sophistication.'

To recreate this aesthetic in your own kitchen, consider incorporating light wooden tones for cabinetry and kitchen flooring to evoke a sense of warmth and authenticity. Accent flooring featuring intricate patterns or textures will add visual interest and depth.

4. Go dark and sultry

A dark and elegant kitchen with dark marble

(Image credit: Matthieu Salvaing. Design: Aline Asmar Amman)

A hallmark of Parisian design is white walls and it is common for Parisian designers to rely on the furniture and the decor of the kitchen to create a cohesive color scheme. Consider going for a dark color scheme that feels contemporary and cool by relying on the material. 'For the Beauséjour project (above), the juxtaposition of dark marbles, cabinets, and tiled flooring against light walls creates a dramatic yet balanced aesthetic that exudes luxury and refinement,' explains Aline Asmar d'Amman, the designer with offices based in Paris and Beirut.

'The use of dark elements and furniture adds depth and richness to the space, while the light walls serve as a canvas to highlight these luxurious features. Furthermore, the two circular pendant lights not only provide functional lighting but also serve as statement pieces that add visual interest and draw the eye upward, enhancing the overall sense of grandeur.'

To recreate this aesthetic in your kitchen, contrast dark features with light walls to create balance and prevent the space from feeling too dark or enclosed. 'Incorporate touches of plants and greenery to bring a sense of freshness and vitality to the space, adding a natural element that enhances the overall atmosphere,' adds Aline.

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Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.