Paris Themed Home Style Guide

Tara Dickinson
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Bonjour mesdames et messieurs! Today is a look into decor elements that make up the style of a Parisian themed home. At the core of a French decorated home is always a perfect balance of duel elements:

  • Modern and antique
  • Classic and contemporary
  • Elegance and comfort
  • Tradition and innovation
  • Extravagant minimalism

And if you happen to have any of these architectural elements already present in your home, you are one step ahead of the design challenge. Parisian apartments are defined by:

  • White walls to showcase historic ornamental detail
  • Chevron style or parquet wood floors
  • Floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Built-in book and display shelves
  • Fireplace- if your home doesn’t have a real one, they are easily acquired nowadays in electric versions with faux mantle as well if desired.



And now a dive into the key decorating elements that will bring the City of Lights into your home.


Less is more

The French style is about choosing the best quality that one can afford. That usually means only a few magnificent items; furnishings paired down to the essentials and only accents that one truly loves. Getting to this place of perfect minimalism for most people will mean an exercise in decluttering. If you have a small space this is even more critical to create the illusion of a larger area. Parisian’s enjoy a simple stylish space that evokes a relaxing atmosphere.


The foundational color palette of a chic Parisian interior are walls painted white, and supported by other tones of white, beige, grey, khaki, and black, or of else a full Tiffany robin’s egg blue. You’ll see later that white walls are purposely done to enhance moulding accents and highlight other extravagant decor.

Walls With Detail

Millwork, molding, trim, and any manner of other architectural details are found in a Paris inspired home. To insert some of these ornate wall details into your space try:

  • Wood wall panels
  • Wainscotting
  • Crown molding
  • Board and batten


Parisian homes most commonly have some type of wood flooring accented with beautiful area rugs.

  • Wood floors
  • Chevron pattern
  • Dark stained hardwood
  • Herringbone parquet

If you’re going to replace your flooring to get this style, hardwood is not your only option. Current selections in today’s market include choices made from recycled materials, luxury vinyl, and even reclaimed floor boards.

Vintage Rugs

You would be hard pressed to find a Paris home without an antique rug adorning several rooms. Here is where a classic mix of modern and vintage come together with more contemporary pieces of furniture being grounded with beautiful vintage rugs. How to best find these treasured carpets? Artisanal flea markets, quality second hand stores, and estate sales. Area rugs make a room feel more put together and are a perfect way to bring in a hint of your design style.


Parisian styled rooms call for furniture that is mismatched, handed down antiques, and mainly of the wood category.

  • Carved wood.
  • Dark toned wood.
  • Touches of gilt to the wood pieces.
  • Distressed, aged looking pieces.
  • Black and ivory painted wood.
  • Upholstered cushions in lovely fabrics with fine details.
  • Down-filled cushioning providing a slightly rumpled look of comfort and elegance.

Iconic Armchair- One furniture piece that stands out as almost a Parisian cliché is the  iconic armchair. This piece became so famous because most apartments in Paris are on the small side, making the armchair preferred over a sofa in the main room. Pieces that are more on the contemporary side help to balance out the more antique-looking items in a Parisian styled room.


Paris style curtains are dramatic, there are no two ways about it. They come full force, ceiling to floor. This element adds a touch of elegance and class to the space. Fabric tends to inch closer to the lighter billowy side but really all textures are embraced. The other option is no drapes at all to let in as much light as possible. Even if you have smaller sized windows, go ahead and place your curtain rod higher than the window to create a full length illusion.


What’s the first thing that comes to mind with the words, “Paris inspired interior lighting”? Oui, it is the almighty chandelier. The statement maker, adding that ‘wow’ factor. So, yes, to create a Parisian styled home you should look for a sparkly chandelier to grace one of your main rooms. This is the hint of extravagance that is balancing with the other paired down elements of the space. Other light elements in Paris inspired style include:

  • Wall sconces with black silk shades.
  • Crystal chandeliers.
  • Glittery mini chandelier.
  • Table lamps with fringed lampshades.
  • Gold lining on a white lampshade (adds a romantic glow).

A DIY project: add beads, fringe, or cording to plain lampshades to get the desired look you’d like for your space.


Parisian homes almost always have at least one large work of modern art hung or even leaning against a wall on the floor. The idea, again, is this balance of the new and old, modern art contrasting against ornate architectural details or antique furniture pieces.

  • Contemporary art
  • Large pieces
  • Travel photography

Art is another element that the French will invest in, finding one quality work that makes a statement.


Another ‘must have’ item for your Paris inspired home decor is a very large, very impressive mirror. Usually hung in the main room above a fireplace or behind the central sitting area. Parisian mirrors are grand, mostly gold, and touched with edges of fine detail. You would be hard pressed to find any Paris apartment or home that doesn't host one of these elegant pieces.

Plants & Flowers

With not much in the way of nature, forests, or grassy parks in Paris, residents have taken to adding greenery in their home lives. From green viney plants, to large floor plants, to vases and vases of fresh and dried flower arrangements. Great indoor plants that are quite hardy include:

  • Philodendrons
  • Sansevierias
  • Orchids
  • Peace Lilies
  • Air plants
  • Anthuriums
  • Snake plants
  • Swiss cheese plants

Glam Accents

In a Paris inspired home, decor accents are carefully thought-out as the allure is in the details. Choose accent pieces with a bit of glam, a touch of class, and some well-loved heirlooms.

  • Sculptures
  • Vases
  • Gilded photo frames
  • Glass
  • Ceiling medallions


Notorious for some of the world’s best perfumes, there can be no doubt the French love scent. This passion has also translated into the home via a slew of heady candle collections. ​​No Parisian home is complete without candles. Decorative as well as adding a cozy feeling of warmth, candles make any space feel loved and lived-in, and not to mention a home filled with exotic scents.


Parisian flair comes from a mixture of several elements, such as choosing a combination of different styles and inserting your own personal form of expression. Paris inspired decor homes cover several different categories:

  • Old fashioned
  • Glam
  • Modern
  • Eclectic
  • Minimal 

These categories allow for a perfect harmonized balancing act of a Yin/Yang mix of styles:

  • glamour and antique
  • old and new
  • lived in and stylish
  • modern and old world

Mixing styles creates a layered look, revealing a wealth of personality. Remember to take your time and choose your home decor thoughtfully. By employing the guidelines outlined above you can easily bring in European glamour and style to your own home.


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