The Perfectly Imperfect Paris Apartment

Any true Francophile will inevitably dream of having a pied-à-terre in Paris--- a place to put your feet up after long strolls along the Seine, a place to transform your latest market fresh produce into dinner for friends, a place to stash all of those "petits trucs" you've discovered at the Marché aux Puces St-Ouen. 
As much as we may long for our own little piece of dear Paris, often our daily lives and budgets may keep us away from this real estate fantasy.  Until that glorious day when a Paris apartment might be mine, I've resigned to making my own apartment as Parisian as possible. 

Certain decorative elements can exude that typically French eclecticism.  So,how can you put a little Paris in your own place?
  • Get personal.  Paris apartments are filled with objects that look like they've been amassed over years, even sometimes over centuries.  It appears that each artwork, pillow, vase or bowl was hand-selected and comes with a "J Peterman style" story about its journey to arrive at that location.  Use your space as an extension of your life.  You may never write the great American novel, but you can use your home to craft part of your autobiography.

  • Perfection is boring. What often makes French apartments so timelessly chic is that they look lived in.  They are rarely filled with matching sets of furniture or geometrically placed paintings or carefully ironed textiles.  Those tattered edges and slightly askew wall hangings offer a sense of life, a reminder that someone actually lives there, and more importantly loves living there.
  •  Textures are sensual.  The most cozy Parisian apartments seem to be filled with myriad textural elements: a mirrored table, a soft oriental rug, a dangling glass chandelier. The French aesthetic is so very adept at juxtaposing contrasting textures to create visual interest and warmth. 
  • Color palettes should be unexpected and highly personal. Matchy matchy is not a term I would ever associate with Parisian style.  From an ensemble worn to the Opêra to living room furniture, the French have an intuitive sense of color.  It is no surprise that those color-obsessed Impressionists and Post-Impressionists all began painting in Paris, because French personal style seems to be inherently connected to deliciously unexpected and sensuous colors.
What do you associate with French design?  How do you put a little Paris in your own home?

Images borrowed from ToParisPlease, LaSplash, PourHomme, OlivierGagnèreViaElleDecor, ElleDecor, LisaFineViaElleDecor.


  1. Great images! You're so right about the textures. AND the matchy matchy stuff!

  2. Pink Frenchie,

    Just as French women seem to be instinctively chic in terms of fashion, choosing that perfect signature accessory, so they are in interior design, eclectic and bold -- and always highly individual, perhaps channeling their inner Coco Chanel?


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