French homes are known for their timeless elegance, yet casual feel. Not just a pretty house, the French have mastered blending old with new, high with low {in cost terms} and inherited antiques from their parents and grandparents with ultra modern touches to create a home. Want to up your own design game? Follow these 6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home and you’ll master that effortlessly chic French look.

 

Lavender Merino Wool Throw

 

The French are known for a few things: the Eiffel Tower, high fashion, wine, macarons, and their amazing taste. French style is all about that casual elegance that is effortless while appearing to be carefully curated. French style interiors are reserved, deeply personal, and filled with a mix of different styles and eras. This look is something you can emulate in your own home decor. You don’t have to live in an 18th century chateau or a large farmhouse in the Provençal countryside to get this lovely feel in your own home.

 

Follow these 6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home:

 

CELEBRATE ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS

 

Architectural details that evoke the past easily give a room quite a bit of French flavor. Some of you are fortunate to live in beautiful, old architectural enhanced homes. Others of us, like me, not so much. Here in Southern California, older homes are not that common in my area. We bought our mid 1960’s home near the ocean because of the location, and the weather. {And if I’m honest, because of the garden in back where I imagined we could host large outdoor parties and dinners.}

Those of you who were able to build your homes from scratch added all those glorious moldings, trims and ceiling medallions. Since our home has vaulted ceilings, they don’t really look great with ceiling moldings, so I beefed up the bottom moldings as much as I could get away with.

 

French Country decorating

Natural Linen Pillows

So here is where I got creative. In our master bedroom, I had our fine carpenter build in an antique mantel that Mr. FGH fell in love with in Europe. He never buys anything, so I immediately added it to the container for us. Honestly, I had NO idea what we would do with it, it wasn’t a great piece structurally, but it did have gorgeous carvings and it was dark wood. {In my designer experience with men, they all love wood,  don’t they?!}  Anyway, we had it built in between two custom bookcases at one end of our bedroom and it added instant history there.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home

 

When we had our bathrooms remodeled, I asked the contractor to apply inexpensive molding to both sides of all our inside doors.  The remodel of two bathrooms and our master bedroom including new windows etc. had stretched the budget, and the all new doors I really wanted weren’t going to happen. For less than one thousand dollars the contractors not only applied molding to all the doors on both sides, they repainted each one, and I am so happy with the result.

 

MIX OLD WITH NEW

 

Antiques are an important part of French decor. Antique pieces add charm to your rooms and enhance the European character of your home. Well, as an antique dealer you KNOW I love this one! French interiors are more often than not eclectic. My French friends decorate using elements from a range of eras, design styles and sources.

Often they will have at least a few things they inherited, mixed in with interesting pieces from the flea markets and antique dealer friends. Then they add some contemporary pieces in the mix. One way they keep it all looking great together is by repeating a few key colors throughout their home to keep the flow.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home

 

One of my designer friends who is a genius at mixing styles to create a stunning and warm interior is Eric Ross.  Under his experienced eye, furniture and accents mix happily together from different eras to make for one gorgeous, welcoming interior.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home

 

EMBRACE BEAUTIFUL AGING

 

This goes along with the second tip, above. In France, and Europe in general, beautiful doesn’t mean perfect. I sometimes tell my antique clients that when I buy antiques in Europe, often dealers charge more for pieces with more wear, more cracks, more aging, more character.

 

The Summer Gift Collection

Antique French Gilt Mirrors| Silk Sachets

 

The French welcome the signs of age, chipped paint, a crack here and there, even a “buttered” finish on pottery {that means that darkened color ironstone can get over centuries.} Your home will be much more interesting when it has pieces in it with age, gracefully showing the age of the antique.  Mirrors with cloudy or spotted glass, painted furniture with some chips and peeling? THAT is what gives these pieces their personality.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home
Antique French Confit Jar

 

ADD A TOUCH OF LUXE

 

Every French room needs some luxe. A delicate crystal chandelier with glittering prisms will instantly elevate your room, as will a knock out antique mirror. A few shiny objects like antique silver spoons near your coffee maker, or a silver tea pot at the ready for afternoon tea delight. If you are more excited about gold for glamour, a few gilded wood cherubs, or candlesticks can add a touch of wow. You don’t need to go all out glamour and glitz to introduce an elegant feeling of luxury.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home

Romantic Breakfast

Blue Linen Tablecloth | Antique French Aubusson Pillow

 

CREATE A PERSONAL HOME

 

Your home should not look like a furniture show room, or a hotel lobby. One of the best things about French homes is that they never look too perfect. Even the grand chateaus will have some things in the rooms that are a little bit shabby, a worn upholstery, or a chair that has obviously been repaired. I love nothing more than homes like this! Because your home is meant to reflect YOU and your family and your lives. Don’t worry about matching things in a specific style, decorate with pieces that have a special meaning to you, artwork, your family heirlooms, photographs in beautiful frames, collections of things that excite you.

 

6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home

 

Our living room mantel was a very basic piece that I bought when we moved to this house.  It didn’t really fit our fireplace, but Mr. FGH came to the rescue and added the rectangular piece. After I painted it all white, it looks like it was always there. It’s not perfect, but I’ve never really felt the need to buy another one, it’s just part of our home now.

 

 

the Autumn at Home Collection

Merino Wool Throw

Be sure to edit your rooms, so that it does’t become too hectic. If you adore many collections, or seasonal pieces, rotate them every couple of months! One client of FrenchGardenHouse collects antique silver, the pieces he buys from us are on display in a large glass fronted cabinet, once every quarter he rotates some of the larger pieces so that he can enjoy all of them, without having so much on display that he can’t see half of the gorgeous pieces he has.

 

Antique French Bottles with Tole Lids

I hope that these 6 Ways to Add French Style to Your Home have inspired you to make your home even more a reflection of you and the people you love!

 

HOW DO YOU ADD FRENCH STYLE AT HOME?

 

 

A BIENTOT

 

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and above all uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com