What is Parisian Interior Design?

Parisian interior design is the style associated with Paris. It’s casual but elegant, focusing on high-quality materials and architecture.

It differs from other French-derived styles and balances between ornate and minimal. If you want to bring this style to your home, here are elements of Parisian interior design.

The History of Parisian Interior Design

What is Parisian Interior Design?

Much of what we classify as Parisian interior design today came from 19th-century Haussman-style architecture. In the mid-1800s, the Emperor of France appointed Georges-Euguene Haussman to overhaul Paris. In doing so, Haussmna tore down over 19,000 buildings and constructed 34,000 new ones.

These new Haussman-style apartment buildings featured wooden floors, often in a herringbone pattern, wood molding, and fireplaces. The finishes of the apartments varied by floor and building but now play a significant role in what’s considered Parisian interior design.

Another influence of Parisian design is French culture, which is less consumerist than American culture. For instance, instead of buying home decor to follow the latest trend, a Parisian-style home will feature high-quality pieces that will last decades.

Parisian Style vs. French Country Interior Design

French country interior design is very different from the Parisian style. Parisian is casual and more minimal. French country style draws influence from the Baroque and Rococo eras and combines rustic and glam. 

Characteristics of Parisian Interior Design

If you want the look of a sophisticated apartment in the heart of France, here are the elements of Parisian interior design.

Go for All White Walls with Molding

Crisp white walls are a vital part of Parisian interior design. Most Parisian apartments feature molding or paneling on the walls to add interest.

Adding wall molding to your home and painting your walls white is an easy way to establish a chic French look.

Highlight Architectural Elements

Rather than highlighting decor, a key theme in Parisian design is to focus on architectural elements. So, if your home has arched doors, elaborate molding, or large windows, let those be the room’s star.

Use Marble Accessories

In high-end French homes, marble fireplaces and accents are the norms. If you’re not lucky enough to have marble built into your home, add it through accessories. Consider a marble-top table, marble countertops, or marble tile for the bathroom.

Opt for Wood Floors

A hallmark of original Haussman apartments was parquet or herringbone wood floors. While you don’t have to choose those patterns, opt for hardwoods over carpet or linoleum when possible.

Make Your Fireplace a Focal Point

Fireplaces are another critical part of Parisian interior design. If you don’t have a fireplace in your living room, add a faux version. Let the fireplace be the room’s focal point, and use minimal decoration on the mantel – a couple of candlesticks or pieces of artwork is all that’s needed.

Hang Ornate Mirrors Picture Frames

A large mirror with a carved gold frame can give your space an instant touch of Parisian flair. Also, look for ornate frames for your artwork and family photos. Mirrors and picture frames are great objects to look for at vintage shops.

Keep Your Decor Simple 

Parisian interior design is not one of excess. While you can incorporate artwork, vases, and family photos, do so in a simple way. Not every inch of your wall or flat space in your home should be covered.

Mix Modern and Vintage Furniture

Many Parisian designs utilize modern furniture with clean lines. You can accent the modernity with vintage pieces. For example, you may choose a streamlined sofa with hairpin legs and an antique velvet accent chair with curved legs.

Examples of Parisian Interior Design

Here’s a look at some examples of Parisian-style interiors.

Parisian Style Living Room

Parisian style living room decor
Stojakovic Design Studio

The designers incorporated many key Parisian interior design elements, including molding, white walls, gold framed art, and a marble fireplace. The decor is simple and elegant, and the furniture is left minimal.

Parisian Style Dining Room

Modern Parisian Style Dining Area

The herringbone pattern of the floors is typical of the Parisian style and adds such interest to the room that tons of decor is unnecessary. The designer kept the rest of the room simple, with a modern dining table and a large piece of artwork.

Parisian Style Kitchen

Accent Kitchen Decor In Paris

The fireplace is so common in Parisian interior design that there’s even one in this kitchen. The designer lets the intricate features and high-end materials take focus, leaving the decor next to none.

Parisian Bedroom

What is Parisian Interior Design?

Rather than bright white walls typical of this style, this designer opted for a dark color in this Parisian bedroom. The room features herringbone wood floors, wall molding, and intricate ceiling detail.