Elegant French Living Room Design Ideas

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French style can be simple or extravagant, and it is all your decision when planning to design an elegant French living room. When designing a living room or a salon to embody French style in elegance and beauty, it does not have to replicate Versailles. It can, however, imply the unique ideas that make French style so appealing and desirable-chic and European. The French have for centuries prided themselves on creating a look and feel to home décor that never goes out of style. From curtain tassels to gilded crystal chandeliers, a little French style and understanding will go a long way in décor and design. Using traditional patterns, colors and furniture layouts as well as décor, an elegant and authentic French living room is possible.

Paying attention to detail is important when planning to create a living room especially one that is French.

  • It may include lavish window treatments, patterned floor designs, chandeliers and sophisticated antiques and furniture.
  • In addition, painting, wallpapering and upholstering is another addition to create French style with furniture you already own.
  • Adding robin's egg blue or an imperial royal blue to your living room and painting any trim or crown molding white will begin to transform your living room space into an airy and calm environment.
  • Painting a fireplace mantel white to match the room's trim and molding is a simple but elegant change to creating a French look.
  • Much of the elegance attributed to French style is in the curvy and rounded details of French designed chairs, tables and couches.
  • Carved and scalloped furniture upholstered in lush fabrics of satin, silk and even velvet are French inspired.
  • Fabrics with embedded patterns and designs such as a fleur de lis or rose will also give French appeal.
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Large windows or ceiling to floor doors opening from the middle are classic French style, which can include window treatments with flowing, simple and sheer treatments, which easily move when opened. Contrary to sheer, elegant French style is also flowing heavy silk window treatments layered with velvet or grosgrain fabrics. These treatments are best for windows. Keeping color schemes simple on walls and for window as well as door treatments allow for the use of patterned upholstery without being too busy.

  • Gold for fixtures, lighting and hardware will also present an elegant French accent to a living room, but don't over do the gold, it could lead to a gaudy and tacky look.
  • Also keep fixtures and hardware to a minimum if redecorating includes new lights and fixtures especially in gold.

Traditional French furniture and accessories are elegant and stylish and include all types of chandeliers, corner cabinets, antique couches and chairs and lamps. Antiques at stores and auctions are always traditional items that can be redone. These items can also offer a great deal of guidance for style. Antiques can be innately elegant. When designing a living room, make sure these items are solid and sturdy. Wood rot or faulty wiring is problematic if not checked.

Refinishing furniture is also an option to achieve an elegant French style that is new and fresh without losing the original appeal of the piece.

  • Other items to consider for an elegant French living room are end tables, which can be matching.
  • French style does not incorporate a whole lot of table clutter but well placed fashionable items such as decorative lamps, gold and wooden boxes, simple crystal pieces and topiary if it fits your style.
  • In addition, you will not need to add big pillows to sofas and chaise lounges, which are very stylish for an elegant French living room.
  • Small pillows in array of fabrics are pleasant for seats and sofas with high backs and high sides, which is classic French style especially if decorative and flowery gold molding rounds off the edges.

Décor for an elegant French living room can include distressed wood, rusted metals and worn paint finishes. Wall sconces, mirror frames and picture frames can accent a living room with rusted or painted metal finishes. Furniture can include distressed wood and worn paint finishes, which can be found in home improvement stores. Creating an elegant French appeal to furniture already owned will not only save you money, but it will provide a sense of comfort if redecorating an entire room.

When planning the living room, keep in mind that French style does include symmetry between furniture, wall hangings and lighting-sconces, table lamps and floor lamps. Pairing chairs with a small table is a classic look as well as a single sofa with side tables.

Creating an elegant French living room is a beautiful and inventive addition to any home, which can change an entire mood of how you use your living room and perhaps influencing your entire home.

Last Updated: October 20, 2011
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About Sabina Dana Plasse Sabina Dana Plasse holds a bachelor's degree in history from Bucknell University, a master's in liberal arts from Johns Hopkins University and a master's in film and video from American University. She is an award-winning writer and editor living in Sun Valley, Idaho. Besides writing on fine arts, lifestyle, home and garden, entertainment, philanthropy and business, she enjoys teaching film and writing screenplays. Sabina has served as the arts and events editor and living writer for the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper, a twice weekly national award-winning newspaper serving Idaho's Wood River Valley. Sabina adores mountain town living where she is an active snowboarding, skier, mountain biker, hiker, supporter of the arts and an avid seeker of practical living ideas.  

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