Modern classic chandeliers, gilded mirrors and ornate wood work are some of the most popular statement pieces chosen to complete the Parisian design aesthetic. Often looked to as the design capital of the world, the classic decor of Paris chic celebrates some of the most historical design elements in both architecture and luxury furnishings.
Residents have a respect for history, and French leadership in design keeps them focused on the quality and rarity of the pieces they select. But creating the Parisian look for your home thousands of miles away is easier than you’d think--you can create the look by following a few key points.
Parisian home with ornate original accents. Photographed by Claude Weber
Work with the bones
Most Parisians live in apartments, and the most coveted locations feature high ceilings, tall windows and unapologetic historical elements. The older Parisian addresses have protected architecture, and postwar development has tried to preserve the architectural features. Many ceilings are unusually high, and walls and ceilings boast artistic trims, cornices, mantels, and more.
If your home or condo features historical elements, be sure to make furniture choices that work with and highlight the era rather than against it. The Cassian fixture works well in tall rooms. Tiers of textured glass and fluted tubes dangle from a satin brass infrastructure. It’s an impressive recollection of Art Deco design that holds true to classic elegance and extravagance. It brings a sense of history and grace to modernist décor, and blends well with almost any color palette.
This Parisian home merges contemporary design with classical elements. Photo courtesy of Elle Decor
Design around the art
Parisians have an eye for art, especially the art of the first half of the 19th-century. They find comfort in mixing well-chosen pieces to represent various schools of design, from Impressionism to Expressionism, Cubism to Surrealism. They might arrange them with a dominant or muted color palette. They might select them by size, or by subject.
Table arrangement in the home of Clare Waight Keller. Photo courtesy of A Note on Style
Because of this respect for uniqueness, designers and homeowners tend to prefer antiques and unique furnishings over more subdued, modern style. While the walls might be adorned with canvasses, chandeliers and pendant lights also serve as a functional art pieces. The idea of elaborate, hanging arrangements brings to mind images of Buckingham Palace, Versailles, and La Scala.
Home of Clare Waight Keller. Photo courtesy of A Note on Style
Make good color choices
Most Parisian homes prefer a “subdued” color as a base, and turning the focus on upholstery and furnishings to add colors and patterns to the room. They consider bold colors to be déclassé, so they shoot for pale or neutral palettes against which their choice of artwork, furniture, and drapes will stand out. Marcella adds that touch of color. Delicate and slender, Marcella offers a canopy of 12 candelabra bulbs fitted into glass cups. The arms curve exquisitely in grooved blue glass from a sculptured glass core belted with stainless steel.
Inspired by Murano glass, the fixture stands out as it spreads below its thin chain. Marcella’s glass design follows a Venetian school in which the glass is melted and molded into organic forms rather than cut into crystals and pendants. The blue hue feels at home among the palest pastels, the faintest grays and the many shades of off-white.
Bet on the gold
After a visit Versailles, you’d think the French owned all the gold in the world. Still reminiscent of the gilded history of kings and emperors, Parisians relish touches of gold and brass, and still rely on them heavily throughout today’s contemporary decorating. These more classical elements allow us to relive a grand tradition while at the same time remaining relevant and on-trend. Gold, brass and other warm metals are versatile enough to blend with the changing decor styles while holding true to the overall historical aesthetic of the home.
The Augustus chandelier respects the traditional chandelier concept while adding a contemporary spin. The slim angled brass frame touches on industrial simplicity and geometry, while the fabric shades remind of candlesticks. The staggered placement creates a familiar yet entirely new silhouette. It adds style without overstatement--a curious blend of classical nostalgia and slender simplicity.