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How to Design like a Parisian
By: Melissa Davis – October 19, 2016
Paris is known as the city of love, the forefront of fashion, and the capital of decor. If something is cool, chic, and modern, it was probably made in, or at least inspired by this fantastic city. Mysterious and bold, Parisians have stunned the audience of the rest of the world time and time again, but not all of their secrets are completely hidden. With these simple yet specialized design tips, you too can encapsulate that elusive French aesthetic within your own home!
Here are some of my designer tips to decorate like a true Parisian trendsetter:
Follow a classic Parisian color scheme. The stunning architecture of Paris is only enhanced by the simplicity of its colors. Gray cobblestone melds with smooth pavement to make up its map of sidewalks and streets in a superb combination of vintage and modern aesthetics. You can bring this same sense of style to your home by beginning with a palette of black, soft grays, and pastel whites. I like working with these colours for my clients and then add in a single bold color, like a bright red or deep blue, to capture that luxurious and modern French flair.
Implant some nature-inspired designs into your look. Parisian architecture is brimming with carefully manicured vines and trees. Even beyond this professionally sculpted art, gardens and flowers can sprout anywhere in the streets of Paris. From the winding wisterium plant to especially populous pigeons, there is an abundance of nature blooming in the streets of France. These are usually subtle elements that add to the boldness of the man-made works throughout Paris, simply by bringing a contrasting softness. By adding a framed botanical print or whimsical birdie objet d’art, or unruly hanging ivy houseplant, you can add that delightful effect of nature to your home interior.
Apply a gentle vintage touch. Be careful not to overwhelm the modernity of your home with this, though. Too much antiquity can make a room look completely and totally old-fashioned! A single mini-chandelier or a lone antique desk-lamp can evoke that splendid Parisian sense of timelessness to a modern home. Remember, keep these touches slight, though. The Parisian aesthetic is as much about the appeal of spacial awareness as it is about adding personal effects.
The next tip is to take care in the smallest details. The beauty of Paris comes from the subtly of its expressions. True Parisians know that even the tiniest element can make a difference to a completed masterpiece. Make sure that every piece in the room adds something to the overall feeling. You should be able to explain, to yourself and to someone else, why you applied even the slightest detail to the work. A good way to accomplish this without getting overwhelmed is to walk through the room, pretending to view it with the eyes of a guest, or a flâneur (french for “stroller” or “observer” with specific application to Parisian citizens) and taking note of what stands out to you.
And finally, follow your own aesthetic intuition! If something looks fabulous to you, it probably does to others, too. The reason so many Parisians are confident in their looks is because they know how stunning their works are. Take pride in your design, and rejoice in knowing that your newly decorated rooms are Parisian perfection.
Toronto-based celebrity designer and contractor Melissa Davis, is known for her appearances, creative design and reno work produced for various HGTV shows. Her work has been profiled nationally in print publications. With almost two decades of reno & design experience her firm continues to service clientele throughout Ontario & GTA, specializing in value-adding ROI and resale consultations www.melissadavis.com @melissadavis