We are lucky enough to be those people who can enjoy living in Paris and now we get to renovate a country home in Yorkshire but what is Parisian style?
Most people rent, property is expensive. It was so odd to me to view places and only be told the square metres, yeah but how many rooms? Space is at a premium and people want to know exactly how much space they are getting for their money. Despite renting Parisians put a stamp on their homes.
I am not going to lie to you it makes my blood boil when I see interior shows or read magazines when they tell you they are creating a Parisian home and they create something that looks like the opera house. Yes there are a lot of very opulent buildings in Paris but that is not what all the domestic homes are like, not at all. So let me guide you through creating an authentic Paris vibe for your home.
Mixing Old & New
Our apartment, like many others in the city is located in an old building. Every corner of Paris is simply dripping in history. Walking into the entryway of our building and seeing the gazed doors and the encaustic tiles on the floor it was exactly what I was expecting. So too was the tiny and noisy lift, although on the 2eme etage taking the stairs is more than doable. Just because the buildings are clearly period pieces it does not mean that only vintage looks and antique furniture are in them.
Parisians are masters of combining old and new. From all out slick kitchens to a modern sofa. Mixing and matching old pieces of furniture and new and not being a slave to an era is vital if you are going to pull off your Parisian look.
Embracing A Colonial Past
France, like many other European countries has a colonial past and whilst I am not about to go down a road of dissecting that history it is there. In Paris there is rarely a Sunday when you cannot visit a number of Brocantes or Marche des Puces. These markets are filled with bric a brac where you can find items for your home that are part of a colonial history, mostly North Africa. It is not just flea markets though there is still a strong link with many North African countries and you will find shops selling new goods from Morocco and Algeria in Paris from Tajines to Rugs.
Not everyone has a budget that will stretch to a Berber rug but you can find alternatives that will give you that same look such as these Berber style rugs from Luxury Flooring.
I cannot think of one of my friends apartments that I have been to that did not have fab wooden floors. In a flat you would think that having carpet as a noise reducer, this certainly seems to be the case in the UK. Lets just think for a moment about the practical application. As I stated earlier most people rent so the upkeep of carpets would be nearly impossible. Wooden floors are warm underfoot and the natural texture gives a real homely feel to any space.
In the UK parquet flooring and thin floorboards are not the norm but solid wood flooring is a far cray from the early days of glossy laminate that we saw over a decade ago. The added advantage of laying engineered and solid wood flooring also adds a vital layer of insulation.
Art & Personality
I know, I know Paris is famed for art and style I am not saying anything new but until I lived in, in my opinion, the greatest city in the world, I had no idea to the extent that Parisians are dedicated to aesthetics. If you walk around any shops, even if that is just your local Monoprix you will see staff carefully arranging and preening displays. There are Artists selling works on the streets. On the first Sunday of every month entrance fees to Art galleries are wavered, art and culture is not an extra it is an integral part of society and that is reflected in Parisian homes. So if you want to instantly inject some Parisian style into your home buy some art, visit a Charity shop, buy from an independent artist but do not buy the print EVERYONE else has, that is a no no.
Despite the fact that I adore colour and in Yorkshire deep colour is daubed on almost every wall this is not something that is seen in Paris. Obviously there will be exceptions, as there are to all rules but generally if you want to recreate a Parisian home you need to opt for warm white on the walls. A perfect backdrop for all of your other elements. I hope you have enjoyed my my guide to Parisian style.
This post has been sponsored by Luxury Flooring but all of the opinions and words are my own. As always I only work with brands that I love and would use myself.