Complete French Interior Design Guide – How to Decorate Your Home Like a Parisian on a Budget?

by Stephanie Yankova

When it comes to aesthetics, “French” has become the epitome of refinement, high quality, and class. The embodiment of an effortlessly cool and chic aura that somehow makes life feel and appear dream-like. The way the French decorate their homes is an art form in itself that they have perfected down to a T. The question in place is – how can we mimic this interior design style on a budget? Scroll on for clever tips on successfully recreating the French interior aesthetic in your home!

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Credits: vanellimelli

What is French Style Interior Design?

One of the most essential elements in French interior design is the natural light. French homes are usually bright, airy and create a sense of delicate warmth. The interior represents a perfect blend of past and present. Vintage furniture mixed with modern elements, and a lot of character! Lots of posters, paintings, books, candles, and misplaced objects in odd places (a table lamp in the bathroom) are mandatory! The French interior is a visual representation of organized chaos. It rejects modern trends and embraces uniqueness and self-expression.

French Interior Design Rules

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Unless you’re French and this lifestyle and aesthetic come naturally to you, it’s helpful to have a guidebook. That’s why we spoke to some of the best interior designers with a soft spot for French decor. They gave us the 3 most important rules for creating a French-like space. Here’s what they are:

Reuse and Upcycle

A big part of the character that French homes radiate comes from the way they embrace vintage furniture. It’s a homage to the past that makes the space feel a lot more homely and lived-in. Upcycling is another unique way to channel your creativity and showcase your personality. Best of all – it’s a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach that allows you to breathe new life into pre-loved items.

Sans Soucis” Approach

Probably the most important rule in creating an authentic French interior is to have a sans soucis or carefree attitude towards the process. There’s no such thing as too much or too little, as long as it’s a true reflection of yourself. Take out your family portraits, souvenirs from your travels, and all other kinds of memorabilia and put them on display! Think of the French home as your personal museum of memories. Every object that represents you, whether it’s art, sports items, musical instruments, or plants is the best decoration there is!

Say “No” to the Beige

It’s no secret that the French like their white and nude walls. However, when it comes to furniture and decorations it’s a whole different conversation! Every corner of every room has its own unique appearance and story to tell. It’s not uncommon to see an all-pink bathroom, an Art Deco kitchen, an eclectic living room, and a vintage Haussmann-style bedroom all in the same apartment. The French like to mix up colors, materials, and furniture from the 20s, 50s, as well as modern pieces. You’re probably wondering how they make all these different pieces work together. The answer is simple – color coordination!

Types of French Interior Design

As you’ve probably understood by now, the French style is pretty fluid. However, over the years they’ve formed 3 major interior design movements that continue to be a prominent influence to this day! Let’s take a look and derive some inspiration for our mood boards!

Read also: 20 Stylish Parisian Interior Design Ideas to Fall in Love with in 2023

French High-Society Style

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The French high-society style combines in itself elements from Baroque and Rococo bent through the prism of minimalism with a dash of contemporary flair. It highlights the fascinating 19th-century Parisian architecture with a clever interplay of symmetry, a balance between high and low, and vibrant colors that mark the user’s journey through the space.

French Country Style

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The French Country style is kind of like the love child of cottage and French château decor with a funky modern twist. We see exposed wooden beams, an oriental rug, and upholstered Louis XV-style chairs that act as a focal point in the space.

Modern French Interior

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Modern French interior design is a benchmark for eclectic decor. In the image above we see pre-war built-in furniture in combination with a maximalist animal print wallpaper. There is contemporary art and lighting, raw wooden furniture pieces, and linen curtains. An explosion of time periods, culture, art movements, and undeniable self-expression!

Read also: Maximalism interior design: Top tips on how to maximize comfort and harmony at home!

French Decor Ideas on a Budget

Now that we’ve laid down the basics of French interior design, it’s time for the fun part! Scroll on for simple decoration ideas that will make your humble abode feel like a true Parisian home!

Undone Bookshelf with Memorabilia

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Big Vintage Gold Frame Mirror

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DIY Plexiglass Coffee Table

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Vintage Oriental Rug

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Books as a Bedside Table

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Flower Arrangements in Mismatched Vases

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Linen Curtains

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Poster Wall

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