10 Elements of French Style Interior Design Explained

French style interior design has always been very popular among homeowners and interior designers. However, what is it anyway? In this article, we will show you 10 elements of French design for your home.

The French interior design is like French cuisine, they are both sophisticated and well-refined. French design is influenced by many past design styles. The list below is the common characteristics of the contemporary French interior design that you can use.

1. Artfully furniture placement
First of all, each piece of furniture needs enough space to breathe. In French interior design, furniture will be placed on the angle. For example, an empty chair is never placed against the wall but it will be placed in the corner. A smaller piece of furniture will be angled against a bigger piece of furniture.

2. The love of high ceiling
High ceiling, from French's perspective, looks more elegant. Then, a valuable centerpiece will be hung on the wall or placed near the wall. In order to maintain the well-balanced look, you should pay attention to the size and shape of the centerpiece. Anyway, ask yourself if it looks just right or it's too much. Good common sense plays the important role here.

3. The bigger the better
French interior design falls in love with big furniture. The reason is that, when you put many pieces of smaller furniture together, the room will look smaller and feel cluttered.

4. The rooms that evolve
While French design prefers "the less is more approach", it also favors the change over time. Setting everything in one go is not quite a French thing. It's absolutely OK to have some empty corners so you can think carefully about what to do next. Also, adding some meaningful pieces from the past or from family history will create the charm.

5. Harmony is the key
To create the harmony in interior design, French people favor "diversity." A set of bedroom furniture that looks the same is the turn-off for French design. Furnishing items with varying design, style, height, the visual weight will be used to create the harmony.

6. Bold patterns are no good
From the French perspective, the use of light patterns is associated with contemporary design. However, the size of the room also comes into play. For a larger room, heavier or bolder patterns can be used.

7. Say yes to natural lighting
French design loves natural light. However, French people use airy sheers or gauzy fabrics to protect the privacy. Heavy window treatment like Ballon shades is the no-no. Crystal chandeliers or antique mirrors are used to reflect natural light too.

8. Say no to leather
Leather, whether it's the genuine leather or faux leather, adds to much visual weight to any room. If you really want to use something like a leather sofa, what you need to do is to use a slipcover to neutralize the weight.

9. Grouping looks better
French designers believe grouping of similar objects is the display of good taste. If you have many small paintings, group them together. Even if the paintings are not exactly the same size, grouping creates a sense of order.

10. Dining is an art
In family dining, heavy flatware is preferred. A centerpiece on the table should lay low so it doesn't interfere with conversation. The freshly cut flowers from your own garden or the garden nearby are super classy.

Are there any other elements of French interior design you would like to add?

- Lemoine, Bertrand, and Alexandra Bonfante-Warren. Architecture in France, 1800-1900. Harry N. Abrams, 1998.

Related Article
- What is French Provincial Decor and Its Furniture?

Last review and update: August 27, 2018

About the Author

Patty Benjabutr is an interior design enthusiast. She loves to write about actionable home decor knowledge because she believes interior design content is something much more than a collection of beautiful photos. You can contact Patty via e-mail.