The ultimate style guide to French interior design

Although French home design is continually evolving the style is based on fundamental principals that do not change. A liveable space with character is the essence of traditional French interior design. I have lived in France for over seven years and believe that comfort and personality are at the heart of the most beautiful French homes I have visited. 

Jean-Louis Denoit French interior design ideas

An important characteristic is l'art de vivre: making daily habits special. Taking breakfast at a table outdoors or putting fresh-cut flowers throughout the house. Design choices that are sensitive to the quotidian enable the French to create homes they love.French terrace climbing rose

Setting up home à la française is a slow process. It is tempting to fill a house with new furniture so that it's 'ready'. But the French home favors vintage and antique pieces that take time to acquire. These objects bring a depth and detail that reproductions can't. 

Chandelier bathroom

Those who follow French taste search until they find their dream décor. The pieces are of a high quality and have already lasted for generations. Classic pieces such as gilded mirrors, antique commodes and Louis armchairs bring pleasure for years to come and work well in all styles of interiors.

Louis XVI armchair French interior decorating ideas

C'est chez vous! Collecting is a favorite pastime in France and objects are displayed throughout the home that naturally reflect the personalities of the inhabitants. Collections of old cutting boards, vintage pottery or antique glassware abound in French houses. I especially love the open shelving: bookcases and niches full of precious books and curios.

Vintage cutting boards antique pottery French kitchen decor

Beyond the big names, Jean-Louis Denoit, Joseph Dirand, Francois Catroux and Chahan Minassian, there are many contemporary French interior designers who can provide ideas for creating beautiful domestic spaces.

Helmkampf dining room

I have drawn inspiration from many local decorators here in Provence and further afield in Lyon, Paris and Belgium, including:

Parisian interior design firm Royal Roulotte has a bohemian-chic style. Their welcoming homes expertly blend antique, mid-century and modern furnishings. 

Paris-based Marion Alberge is renowned for her restrained style whcih showcases an antique in each room.

Born and raised in the South of France, Marie-Laure Helmkampf has a distinctly modern French style with beautiful earthy undertones.

Walda Pairon is an influential Belgian designer who is bold with colour and combining objects of curiosity.

The classic gardens and landscapes by Dominique Lafourcade will have you reaching for your secateurs faster than you can say topiary!

Marion Alberge Louis Philippe mirror bathroom demijohn

For more inspiration on creating your French interior design style, browse the collection of timeless one-of-a-kind French furnishings and décor at Chez Pluie and subscribe to our newsletter for articles on lifestyle, homes, and design à la française


Image credit: Marion Alberge, Jean-Louis Denoit, Architectural Digest, Alec Hemer, Joe Schmelzer, Segreto Finishes

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1 comment

Lovely styling and decor guide… Thanks for sharing this post.

Aarsun Woods May 29, 2020

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