As I said in my original post about Parisian women, a Parisian woman’s home is not a show home. It is reflective of her. It can be very easy to assume that every Parisian woman lives in an amazing Haussmann style apartment with Louis XVI Furniture, a huge wardrobe, a balcony that has a view of the Eiffel Tower and three French Bulldogs. This simply isn’t true. The vast majority of Parisians live in small apartments and have eclectic styles that emulate her own personal tastes. This makes having a Parisian style home easy… and difficult. The Parisian brings something to her home that gives it that je ne sais quoi, that other people struggle to emulate. Not to worry… You too can create that Parisian home – your way.
Light and Colour
As a Parisian’s home is likely rather small, it is also likely to be dark due to age and size. Even if you don’t have a small, dark house, you should make like the Parisian and do everything you can to enhance the light within your home. Paint the walls either white or off-white, then add lots of mirrors to let the natural light bounce off surfaces. Mirrors make the rooms feel larger and more spacious because you’re adding more light. Similarly, at night, have lots of lamps and even a chandelier. The trend of bright mounted main lights is very modern, but also very harsh. Lamps give off a soft glow and make a room feel homely and comfortable. Parisian women also love to burn candles – but not the overly sweet scented variety. Simple church candles add a strong glow, while scented tea lights or votive in vanilla, lavender or cinnamon give a comforting appeal. A Parisian would never burn some vulgar “snowflake cookie” or “pumpkin spiced latte” scented candle. Nothing so obvious. You want to create ambiance, not attack the senses. When adding a Pop of colour in your home, go for one or two colours – e.g. blue and grey, pink and peach etc. any more and it will overpower and look too much. Children’s bedrooms are an exception… anything goes!
A Parisian Kitchen
As the Parisian loves to cook and entertain, the kitchen is vitally important. But it does not necessarily look like a show home. She is inspired by her grandmother’s country kitchen, where she first learned to cook. She also loves to see interior designed kitchens in magazines. She buys mismatching mugs and plates with pretty patterns, then offsets them with a simple white dinner set. She has a Moka pot coffee maker (not a Nespresso or filter coffee machine), and some Le Cruset cookware. On the window sill or shelf are a collection of cookery books (Mastering the Art of French Cookery, The Joy of Cooking 75th Edition etc.) She may also have some fresh herbs growing on her window sill. Each thing in her kitchen has been carefully placed yet looks like it fell there by accident. In your own kitchen, pick a colour (e.g. blue, orange etc.) and run it through loosely. Pick mismatching chinaware, and show off your favourite cookery books. You may even have photographs or art in the kitchen… A Parisian certainly does.
The Kitchen Table
The main dining hub… this can be in the kitchen or a separate dining room. Always made of solid wood, this table is the place she comes every morning for breakfast, where she sits with her friends and family during a dinner party and at Christmas… she has made love on this table, her children have done her homework on this table. This table is every bit a part of her life as her favourite jacket.
The Living Room
The living room emulates who a Parisian is, as a person, as a woman, as a wife, a mother, a friend, an academic… everything about it is her. It should be the same for you. Start with an incredibly comfortable sofa. Find a style that you love and run with it. Next, find a coffee table, it should be in some sort of contrasting style to the sofa – for example, if you selected an ultra modern sofa, go for a classic country coffee table, and vice versa. Scatter cushions on the sofa and place a soft fluffy rug on the floor. Most Parisian homes have wooden floors, so rugs are a must to add some comfort to the home. Floor lamps are perfect for the living room and are ideal for creating multileveled lighting. The television should not be the centre of your living room. If possible conceal it in a cabinet or in the corner of the room. Have art on the walls, prints of classic works, posters of films or a world map, photographs of places you’ve traveled, family photos etc. all create a “this is me” atmosphere. On the shelves, there should be lots of books. Books you’ve had since childhood, books you read in high school or university, art books, photography books, saucy romance novels alongside hard science fiction novels, amongst a scattering of the classics. The Parisian loves to read, and her living room emulates this. On her shelves, she will also have souvenirs from her travels (a wooden Geisha from Japan, a porcelain Union Flag pig from her last trip to London), small collectible items like candle holders, geeky memorabilia (Pop Vinyl anyone?), photographs in pretty frames, and greeting cards she doesn’t want to get rid of. Anyone walking into this room will be under no illusions as to who lives here… it’s you.
The Perfect Bathroom
If there is one thing a Parisian has to have in her bathroom, is a bath. Any kind of bath, just so long as there is one. The Parisian woman loves baths and relaxing. “Me-time” is important, and taking a bath with gorgeous bath salts or bombs (which she keeps in glass jars) can make all the difference. Pretty things in her bathroom are on display; perfume, soaps, soft towels folded on an old chair. The bathroom should exude luxury – even if it doesn’t have a luxurious price tag.
The Most Important Room in the House. The bedroom. Whether she lives alone or shares it with a lover, it is her place of zen. The most important thing is a large, comfortable bed, with a headboard. All Parisian women know the significance of a headboard – it grounds the bed into the room and can create a cohesive style. Once again, light is so important in this room – but it needs to be softer, more subdued, sexier… Bedside lamps are good, and a softly lit chandelier above the bed creates a romantic focal point. The bedsheets should always be white, and always be cotton. It doesn’t matter if you can get a great deal on polyester or polycotton sheets… they’re gross! 100% cotton is where it’s at. Your other linen should be white too, but those two cohesive colours can be added with throw cushions and blankets. You must have a vanity. A place where you can make yourself look beautiful in the morning. Plus a full-length mirror to check your outfit before you leave. If you share your room with a man, let him bring some masculine elements into the room with harsher lines, crisp shirts, and clocks. You can create a cohesive balance.
Most of all… make sure your home reflects YOU! The Parisian doesn’t live in a show home – she has days where she can’t be bothered doing the vacuuming, and her cat has decided to make a bed in the laundry basket. But so long as people can come into your home and see “you” in it, it will never be wrong. So long as you feel comfortable, happy and safe when you come home… you can’t go wrong. A Parisian’s home is her retreat… yours should be too.