Home & Garden

Living Space: Add Parisian elegance to your decor

Few cities are more romantic than Paris. With a style and grace all its own, the Parisian “look” is classic and timeless. Even if you’ve never been to France’s City of Lights, it’s easy to spot Parisian style in books, magazines and films. While you probably can’t imitate French architecture, you can easily bring a chic touch of Paris to your interiors.

Très elegante

In Paris, most people live in apartments, each a study in elegance. Gold and gilded touches accent furniture, accessories and architectural details. Intricate brass finishes on doorknobs, hinges and drawer pulls add glimmer. Look for any accessory with gold accents, and it will blend right in to your design.

When it comes to color, beautiful hues run the gamut from jewel tones to pale oyster, ivory and white. Black is never missing from a Parisian interior. Street cafes and homes all sport plenty of balancing black, whether in iron railings, chairs, tables or planter boxes on a window sill.

If you’re truly daring, go for a deep rich navy, burgundy or even black in shimmering lacquer. Although painting with lacquer can be difficult, the effect is fabulous and evokes the look and feel of a lavish Paris salon.

Rich and detailed

Silk, brocade and velvets are all classic fabrics in Parisian style. They look best on the deeply-carved wood furniture in deep walnut tones. Other fabrics that are uniquely Parisian, and French, include toiles with French scenes. Look for lush trims, too. Heavy bullion fringe ringing the skirt of an upholstered chair, or velvet drapes, are both classic looks.

Don’t overlook using fabrics to enclose rooms or outline the entryway to a room. Tie large and small tassels to doorknobs, the keys to a writing desk, or the pull of a dresser drawer.

Of course, the right Parisian-style accessories are key. The first, and quite possibly, most quintessential, is the chandelier. Classic chandeliers, dripping with crystals, evoke the glitter of the Champs-Elysees. Crystal sconces are another important element.

Certain styles of furniture also add Parisian flavor to a room design. The bombe chest, or as the French call it, the commode, is standard. These large dresser-type pieces are often used in entryways, halls and living rooms. Woven cane backed chairs are also classically Parisian.

Top off your design with accents like a chiming mantel clock, found in many Parisian homes. Check eBay or Etsy for an antique clock, or search at flea markets or swap meets.

If you need more tips to create just the right Left Bank look, home design centers stock plenty of accessories that all speak to Parisian style.