10 picks and tricks to a Parisian chic room
Posted in The Art-Isms by Isabel Larner on 04th July 2014
It has been said time and time again, but for good reason: there is a certain je ne sais quoi around the French style. Some think of opulence, some think of bohemia, some think of sleek rooms with elegant accents.
If we were to try and pin down what is it that distinguishes the French style, we would say that it is all about balance: romantic but not soppy, classic but not stuffy, luxe but not tacky. It’s also all about quality, curation, comfort and self expression. Who wouldn’t want to emulate that in their home?
10 picks for a Parisian chic home
But it goes without saying that these ideas can be interpreted in a number of ways! That is why we have picked out 10 pieces, all different but all with what we think is a distinct Parisian twist, to get you started on your Parisian room!
This piece is classical in subject and style, given a slightly more modern edge by the collage technique. Flowers and the human figure are often romanticized in French imagery, often playing on their softness and sensuality. We think this piece would look great in a romantic, cream-coloured room with soft pastel accents and embellished antiques.
Whimsical and a bit twee are also a common association with Parisian rooms. We have picked out this Rob Ryan piece as an adorable art work that not only reflects these traits but does so with colours often associated with Parisian decor: black and pink. This piece would be perfect for to give a room a more youthful take on French femininity.
For the more minimal home, fashion sketches can be a great way to add that chic French look without the overly romantic connotations. Fashion sketches are about elongated proportions, beautiful shapes and a sleek overall design – they are inherently glamorous! This image by Hormazd Narielwalla uses real tailoring patterns as the base. Inspired by Parisian fashion designer Jean Paul Gautier’s concept of masculinity, Narielwalla creates a play on the boundaries between traditional femininity and masculinity in his use of lingerie offcuts and distinctly feminine silhouette to construct this male figure.
Returning to the romanticly soft palette often associated with Parisian decor, the hues of this piece are reminiscent of strewn flowers. Maltman has a thoughtful approach to painting, interested in the interuption of nature by man. The oval shape that encases the painting is again classical, and would look great in a tarnished gold frame of a similar shape.
Wyresdale Series - III
A typical Parisian style tenet is contrast: old and new, soft and hard - and in the case of this image, innocent and ominous. The typical, static still life fomula of neatly arranged flowers is turned on its head as the bouquet is laid carelessly across a nest of hair, implying a darker meaning to this image. Creating a still life in this manner as a photo, not an oil painting, gives the classic still life style an updated twist. We think this would be a great piece in a darker, richer coloured room that encapsulates understated opulence.
Sandra's New Blouse
Soft light emerging through a shirt (a striped shirt, bien sûr) shows a comfortable sensuality often associated with French culture. There is an mysterious and ethereal quality to this photo that is amplified by the use of black and white. It would look great as another black accent in a room – something that is very typical of Parisian design.
Dutton uses chiaroscuro to highlight the delicate beauty of various flowers. The chiaroscuro effect in this Kevin Dutton piece gives it a distinctly classical look – perfect for that timeless French touch!
Hands on Hips
For those looking for the more feminine take on fashion sketches, we recommend the collages of Sarah Thomas, such as Hands on Hips above. Though clearly not a fashion sketch itself, her work does evoke the same sense of glamour that they are associated with, though with an obvious Surrealism influence - which, as the art historians among you will know, was a Parisian-centric movement!
Rosie Emerson embodies the French affinity for combining old and new with her revival of a long-dormant printing method, through which she builds up otherworldly imagery of old and new female archetypes using intricate props and dramatic lighting. The restrained palette would be perfect for the neutral tones often dominant in Parisian homes.
10 tricks for decorating like a Parisian
Like we have said, Parisian style is about quality, curation, comfort and self-expression - it's basically pretty luxe! While it may seem daunting to recreate anything with 'luxe' in it it's actually surprisingly easy. Take a look at our tips for staying on the right path....
Go for what you love
Yes, your tastes will change, but try to at least not get swept up in ever-changing trends - especially when you are unsure that they will work for you. Keep an eye out for the stuff you really love and don't be afraid to send back stuff that doesn't work for you. Our art rental scheme is a good way to make sure that that you love how that art work looks on your wall as much as you loved it on your computer screen!
A layered approach gives a room a rich depth that suggests the decor has accumulated over time. It is personal, contrast to any showhome pristineness that can come across as bland or lifeless. This is your home, so don't be afraid to give it your influence - as eclectic or streamlined as that may be.
But do edit ruthlessly!
As suggested to us by Mary-Ellen Paul of Hop Interiors
, an easy way to keep a room luxe is to keep it tidy. Visual clutter make a room look unloved, and you will find that even the most bohemian of Parisian rooms has thoughtful attention paid to its layout and composition. This means being completely honest with yourself about what you love and want to have visible. You don't necessarily have to throw out the other things, but keep them out of sight. You can even rotate your furnishings to keep your room fresh without weighing it down.
Mix it up
Mixing up where you get your accessories, and from what time, gives a room a sense of history that is intrinsically luxe. Luckily, it will most likely come naturally from layering that you will develop decor from a number of different sources, but don't forget to intentionally check antique fairs and markets for some real pieces of history at a bargain price! Well cared for vintage pieces will give you that wonderful, lived in 'shabby chic' look - a look that declares you are comfortable but not careless.
Invest in a good designer paint
A good designer paint is well worth its price tag. The colours are rich and complex, which instantly gives a room a refined edge whether painted in a deep blue or a subtle off-white. Similarly, metallic or black accents are an instantaneous way to make a room feel more luxe, and you will often find Parisian homes using one of these colours to add some glamour to their room. However, any colour can be used to accent your room - just pay attention to your colour scheme!
Pay attention to texture
Part of what makes Parisian rooms feel so luxe is their use of texture, and their balancing of these textures to prevent one overpowering and making the room tacky (plush everything, anyone? No thanks). Good textures to consider for a luxe look can range from dark wood and velvet to concrete and metal, depending on your taste. Just remember to experiment with more than one to really get that elusive depth that makes a room so luxe.
Devil in the detail
The secret to truly decorating like a Parisian, as you may have begun to realise, is to pay attention to everything. From your style of curtains to what knickknacks you adorn your surfaces with, give each item in your room as much consideration as the last. It requires patience to hold out for the perfect furnishing, but trust us, for the luxe look this is well worth the wait.
Parisian luxe style is all about self-expression, and that means sometimes thinking outside the constraints of regular styling conventions. Reconsider what could as art for your walls, or what can be used for a rug (or perhaps whether your rug belongs on the wall!). Get more use out of those garden chairs in winter months and bring them indoors: the ornate metal frames of garden chairs are the perfect fit for an aged luxe look.
Hopefully you have discovered some new art and new tips to get you started on your own, personalised Parisian home! If you enjoyed this article, take our ART STYLE QUIZ and BECOME A MEMBER. It is free and you'll get access to the best new art from top Museums, Galleries and Artists.