How to mix a bit of French and modern design

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The French know how to enjoy themselves, you have to give them that. But what’s wonderful about their way of life is that is penetrates all levels of being, permeating everything from the way they walk and talk, to the way they cook and decorate the chic apartments they’ve inherited from their rich grand-mere and grand-pere.

So why not be a little bit more like the French? After all, the hectic modern world brings nothing but stress and anxiety on a daily basis, so imbuing your home with timeless French charm might not only help you relax and de-stress, but also reinvent your interior altogether. Here is how you can successfully mix a bit of French with modern design.

Embrace the minimalistic mindset

Yes, it’s all about being chic and laid back, but the French value their freedom above all else, especially in the own home. The place needs to feel spacious and open, allowing you to navigate freely through the rooms. To that end, you want to embrace a minimalistic mindset.

The time has come to purge the clutter from your home and make room for negative space. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put focal points or accents around the house, only to use the negative space to make a statement and emphasise a single piece of art, or furniture. Oftentimes, the French will decorate a wall with a single art piece, or none at all.

Monochromatic, but not quite

Much like minimalism, monochromatic colours are beloved by the French, because they allow for the rest of the decor to come to life with its vibrancy and texture. However, if you simply want to mix in the French design with your existing modern look, you only want to subdue the colour palette rather than make it completely monochromatic.

Pure white is definitely prevalent with this design approach, and you want to use it to set a foundation for the rest of the decor, and in order to support the flow of natural light throughout the room. You can complement the whites with wooden hues on the floors and the furniture, making sure you leave your modern details proudly on display.

Vintage furniture in a modern setting

Speaking of furniture, the French design approach relies heavily on vintage, or antique furniture, and even modern pieces with elegant, almost quaint features, such as a sloping sofa or white French chaise lounge complemented by a glass side table.

The possibilities for mixing patterns, textures, and materials are numerous, and French furniture works wonderfully in a modern setting, such as a vintage cabinet overlooking a modern bed design in the bedroom or an elegant freestanding bath coupled with an oak vanity in the bathroom.

Chic and overstated

When you do put up an art piece or create a focal point, you want to make sure it’s emphasised and even overstated. After all, the minimalist approach might exclude multiple pieces in one spot, but it doesn’t say anything about one grand statement in the middle of the room.

So, go for that grand mirror above the fireplace, or a marble statue in the hallway, it’s all about being chic and decorating outside of the norm. You want to be moved, to feel alive by the design, so don’t be afraid to experiment and exaggerate a bit.

Don’t worry about it, enjoy the imperfections

Finally, the French design is not meant to be perfect, it is not meant to follow the predefined norms and meet the insipid expectations. It’s about being spontaneous and making it work even when the pieces seem like they are out of place.

In that sense, don’t worry too much about the metal chairs around a wooden dining table, it works. And those oversized curtains on the windows, just let them carelessly caress the floor, it doesn’t matter, because the little imperfections are what makes this style so irresistible. Remember, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, but rather find a new place for it.

The modern, sleek look deserves a teaspoon of creativity, a little positive change to make it more welcoming and inviting, more intimate, and unique. Fortunately, by incorporating these tips, you will have no problem mixing a bit of French in with your modern design.

Catherine is a passionate home design consultant from Melbourne. She loves making homes beautiful and buildings sustainable, but she also like sharing her advice and knowledge with people. That is why she is also a regular contributor to the Smoothdecorator blog. Besides all this, she loves reading and enjoys a superhero movie from time to time.

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