Five typically-French Decorating Habits

And how you can steal them for yourself

We’re not born with it, neither is it something that’s in the water. When it comes to home interiors—where the French love to show off their flair—there are just five simple principles that anyone, anywhere can adopt... faster than takes to scoff un croissant.


  1. Forget about perfection

Coordinated chairs, matchy-matchy colours, sets—these things are decidedly un-chic. Instead of neat perfection, strive for casual elegance. Let a little mess in: plant a big mirror on the floor, plonk a pile of books on your coffee table – and no, they don’t have to be expensive art and fashion tomes, or immaculately displayed. A nonchalantly-tossed throw on the bed is far more natural than a bedspread set; a sofa that’s asking to be sunk into feels more authentic than one with 25 matching cushions.

Five typically-French Decorating Habits
@aude.jolijour Parisian apartment


  1. Fall in love with a timeless piece

Good design never goes out of style. May I suggest some French icons? The LC2 chair from Le Corbusier, for example, or the Batchair from Constance Guisset (for a divine mix of old and new design icons). And, of course, Pierre Jeanneret's Office cane chair. Tres elegant. 

Five typically-French Decorating Habits
Pierre Jeanneret's chair in @olivier.abry apartment


  1. Mix the old with the new

There’s an unofficial motto in French decoration: ban the total look. A Louis XVI classic console looks fantastic in an industrial loft, while a modern lighting feature in a classic Haussman apartment keeps things from getting stale. Think eclectic: mix vintage with modern pieces and designer furniture with some Ikea pieces.


Five typically-French Decorating Habits
© Gaelle Le Boulicaut for Maison de Vacances cushions and Le Deun lighting 


  1. Express yourself

You don’t want your home to be expressing the 2016 Autumn/Winter trend—you want it to reflect you and your family. Decorate as if you are telling a story: of your life, your experiences and your family. Make room for the tresors: treasures and finds from your travels, give a second life to an old family piece of furniture and display some personal art and photos (kids art looks lovely when framed).  

Five typically-French Decorating Habits
French interior design Sarah Lavoine's Parisian apartment


  1. Find time to flea

Hunting through flea markets and vide-greniers(garage sales) is almost a national sport. In fact, there’s a word for it: chiner. It’s all about offering a second life to a unique object, enjoying its patina and dreaming about its past life. Add an antique mirror above your fireplace or on the floor, perhaps, or use old baskets for your magazines. Try mixing and matching old plates, cutlery and glassware, antique tablecloths or bed linen, mid-century ceramics, lighting—we could go on forever.

Five typically-French Decorating Habits

Vintage cane console paired with Riviera vases by Maison Sarah Lavoine

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