I’ve had the insane luck of visiting Paris twice in the last year or so, and it has left an indelible mark on me. It’s tough to find words to describe how alive I feel when I’m there. A million little things contribute to it: the dusty grey rooftops, the swollen clouds, the smell of melting butter, the furrowed brows, the green flashing pharmacy signs, the clinking of wine glasses and cutlery, the blending vowels drifting in and out of my ears. The way I feel like I’m on Mars, and also like I’ve spent all the dreams of my life wandering these streets. The interiors and architecture are completely inspired and I’ve always wanted to decorate a space in that particular Parisian way. Even though 60% of my decor style is California/bright/modernism, the other 40% is definitely made up of my daydreams of someday having an apartment in the City of Light.
(BTW, on my most recent trip to Paris I stayed in an Airbnb in Batignolles that blew me away. The block was bustling, the building was charming, and the decor details inside were even more gorgeous than the photos. Here is a link to the place, if you’re curious and would like to stay there - I can’t recommend it enough!)
There are a few particular clusters of genius within Parisian decorating - and I dream of incorporating a little of all of them into my home someday. (Assuming I ever am able to own a home… #Millenialproblems.)
Offbeat Lighting & Fireplaces
Parisennes seem to be all about the invisible high-low contrast. Imagine a perfect, luxury silk black button down with $20 vintage Levi’s, or an A-line leather mini skirt with a threadbare wool sweater from the thrift store. They go together so naturally that you don’t even notice the distance between the two elements, but there’s just enough contrast to make you wonder. I think Parisian apartments do the same trick with light fixtures. A peeling, Victorian, old-world wall makes a perfect match for a light fixture that is deliberately modern or colorful as a complement. Fireplaces become the perfect place to display some quirkiness: a bottle of liquor, dried flowers, a minimal charcoal sketch.
Windows & Doors
I can’t get over the fact that no one has screened windows in Paris. (Maybe this is a larger European trend - I’ve just been to France & Spain, so I wouldn’t really know…) Interior windows and doors open wide to the streets and gardens, letting in the all the lovely light, noise, and air you could dream of. Most of the windows I saw were full floor-to-ceiling…a reminder that you could quite literally step outside into Paris and join the bustle at any moment. I love the way these integrated windows create a synergy with the outside world.
I cannot get enough of beautiful, curly, decorative moulding. Moulding has roots much older than Paris itself (ancient Egyptians were the first to use the technique), but it’s so synonymous with the City of Light that I feel instantly transported anytime I see it. It adds a perfect classical, historical element - a colorless moulding adds elegance, but I also love a painted accent version for adding character.
Herringbone & Chevron wood floors
I’ve always been obsessed with wood floors - the herringbone & chevron versions all over Paris take that obsession to a whole new level. I love the contrast of a natural wood grain constrained into a super deliberate repeated pattern. The lines create arrows that suggest movement, and encourage a flow of energy around a room. It reminds me of paintbrush strokes.