Authentic French style is a continually evolving movement with a formidable ethos. A liveable space with character is the essence of good French interior design. I have lived in France for over five years - for me this essence is at the heart of the most beautiful private homes I have visited.
The prevailing influence is L'art de vivre - an infusion of French culture. The idea of French interior design is to make the simplest daily habits a precious moment. For example drinking coffee at the kitchen counter in the morning sunshine or soaking in the tub while admiring a sparkling chandelier. Design choices such as these enable the French to create homes they love.
The French don't rush. It is tempting to fill a home with new furniture so that it's 'ready'. The French know that vintage and antique home wares are the pieces that make the difference - they bring depth and detail that are impossible to imitate. They take the time to make good choices and savour the search. They invest in quality furnishings that can be enjoyed for a lifetime. Classic pieces such as gilded mirrors, antique commodes and Louis armchairs bring joy for years to come no matter how many times one moves or redecorates.
C'est chez vous! The French are proud collectors. Rather than hiding pieces that reveal their personality they embrace them. A love for old cutting boards, vintage pottery or antique glassware is something to be celebrated. One thing that I particularly admire about French homes is that open shelving, bookcases and niches are full of precious pieces, books and curios.
Learn from the experts. Beyond the big names in French interior design such as Jean-Louis Denoit, Joseph Dirand, Francois Catroux and Chahan Minassian - there are so many lesser known French designers who are creating beautifully inspiring homes.
I have drawn inspiration from many local decorators here in Provence and further afield in Lyon, Paris and Belgium. Their style is at the forefront of French interior design - it is an exciting time in the industry.
Parisian interior design firm Royal Roulotte have a bohemian chic signature - their welcoming homes expertly blend antique, mid-century and modern furnishings. Also Paris-based - Marion Alberge has a restrained style without clutter. This enables her to artfully showcase an antique in each room.
Marie-Laure Helmkampf was born and bred in the South of France - her style is distinctly modern French with earthy undertones.
Walda Pairon is an influential Belgian designer who is bold with colour and quirky curiosities.
The classic gardens and outdoor spaces by Dominique Lafourcade are the crème de la crème of French landscape design that will have you reaching for your secateurs faster than you can say topiary!
For more inspiration on creating your French interior design style, browse our exquisite collection of timeless one-of-a-kind French furnishings and decor. For more inspiring French interior decorating ideas subscribe to our newsletter.
Image credit: Marion Alberge, Jean-Louis Denoit, Architectural Digest, Alec Hemer, Joe Schmelzer, Segreto Finishes