5 Ways To Incorporate French Styles Into Your Home Décor

Achieving an elegant, sophisticated, and tasteful interior for your home can be a smooth transition if you follow the right design theme. According to Kate & Laurel, French styles became popular in the U.S. during the early and mid-1990s. Not only is this design aesthetic beautiful, but if done correctly, it can create a timeless look you won't have to touch for years. French styles involve a lot of curves, soft lines, carvings, and other exquisite detailing. We have plenty of tips if this type of design seems appealing to you.

Like any other aesthetic, specific color palettes, patterns, furniture pieces, artwork, and more are crucial to achieving the core values of French design. By the time you're done, walking through your home will hopefully feel like a daily trip to France. Our tips will help you combine the correct design elements to accurately achieve such a fashionable style.

1. Take the time to make it special

Chez Pluie says finding the perfect décor pieces takes time and patience and isn't a process that can be rushed. Each area should be designed so that the atmosphere feels exciting and fresh every time you walk through it. For example, create a beautiful outdoor seating area where you can take your meals and enjoy them. It's also advised to avoid brand new furniture, as the French style calls for antique pieces or something considered vintage — but they're also expected to be of good quality so they can last for decades. Standard elements you'd typically see in a French-style home are gilded mirrors, antique commodes, and Louis armchairs.

Styling a French-themed home should also be a fun experience of collecting pieces that bring you joy and express your creativity. There are several antique and vintage items you can hunt down, such as pottery, glassware, or even cutting boards. If you've already got a bookshelf, you can fill it with books wrapped in vintage covers.

2. Choose a timeline

According to European Furniture Styles, there are plenty of different furniture types from many different timelines you can incorporate when working with a French theme. Let's start with the Louis XV period, considered one of the best eras for furniture in France. The style of this time was much more feminine, and symmetry wasn't deemed as important as asymmetry. The pieces were sophisticated and comfortable, and curved lines were emphasized on each piece. An example is the bergère, an armchair with a low seat, curved arms, bare wood frame, and panels between the arms and on the seat, which were covered with fabric. The wood was often carved out to display intricate detailing. 

The Directoire period was also where symbols and emblems were often engraved onto furniture pieces, such as swords, to represent honor. A popular furniture piece at the time was the récamier, also known as a daybed, and it's a beautiful piece of furniture that can make casual comfort look extravagant.

3. Pattern and color

A harmony of pattern and color is a sure way of ensuring your French-style home looks elegant and not messy. According to Creative Market, a typical design in this aesthetic is toile. This pattern typically has a white background with detailed imagery, such as flowers, landscapes, and animals, repeating until the design is finished. The color choices are usually magenta, blue, red, green, black, and brown. This pattern is versatile and can be used as wallpaper, window treatments, upholstery, dishware, and bedding.

Other floral patterns are also suitable, and red and blue stripes are a staple typically seen in upholstery or curtains, according to Designbx. It is also common to match the floor of your kitchen with the color of your cupboards. If your cabinets are painted blue, choosing a decorative, blue floor tile will create a sense of rhythm in the space.

4. The perfect lighting

Lighting is another aspect of design that should never be overlooked, as it can sometimes be the centerpiece that ties a whole room together. The light fixture typically found in a French-styled home is curved wrought iron, according to Oriental Lamp Shade. This material is used as the frames of lights, generally crafted into bent shapes, which follow the typical look of curved French furniture. This style of lighting was created during the 1940s and was based on Louis XIV and Empire periods, according to English Accent Antiques. It's also similar to the Baroque era, another popular design period.

If you want a light fixture that appears softer and brighter, a crystal chandelier will also work, per Eye for Design. They're lovely when paired with a mirror, as the reflection is sure to make the chandelier twinkle. This is a versatile light fixture that can be placed in most rooms of a household.

5. Go the extra step

If you want to stick to the French style theme and go the extra mile, installing paneling on the walls can give you the elevated look you're going for. For example, according to Artichoke, boiserie paneling is a very popular method that particularly became famous in France during the seventeenth century. Boiserie typically covers every part of the walls, doors, cupboards, and shelves. Not only does this method add a wave of sophistication to your home, but it can also make an area feel cozy — truly making it a French method — per Architizer.

However, this method can be expensive. Typically, it costs anywhere between $4.46 and $6.75 per square foot to panel walls, according to Porch. That's not including the price of the material. So, an option is to choose a specific room, such as a dining room, living room, or primary bedroom, and make that area especially French. In the end, this room will most likely be your favorite.