No matter how small they are (and some of them are teeny tiny!), Paris apartments always seem absolutely enchanting to me. They’re charming in their simplicity and achieve the delicate balance between chic/modern and intimate/cozy. Like Parisian women themselves, they’re full of style and personality but also exude a certain effortlessness, showing no signs of fuss or bother. Most of us scratch our heads, wondering how they do it…
So you can imagine how thrilled I was to learn of Sarah Lavoine’s book, Chez Moi: Decorating Your Home and Living Like a Parisienne. Lavoine is a Parisian woman who gives readers a glimpse into her life and generously divulges many of the “secrets.” She writes in a way that’s light, honest and fun and shares many photos from her own home, garden, closet, etc.
I thoroughly enjoyed this little peek inside Lavoine’s home and life. If, like me, you’re inspired to bring a little Parisian style to your own home, here are 20 easy ways to do it, as outlined in Chez Moi (and, if you’re inclined to dig a bit deeper, be sure to check out the book here).
20 Ways to Decorate Like a Parisienne:
- Don’t be afraid of color on the walls.
- Use mirrors for light and ambiance (play with sizes and frame styles).
- Use throw pillows on chairs and sofas to add personality to the room (changing them with the seasons helps to keep things fresh).
- Mix modern and vintage items.
- Place candles everywhere (Lavoine LOVES candles and uses them in every room).
- Always have fresh flowers in your home. This need not be a big arrangement. Bud vases or a few small bouquets placed throughout the house are just as lovely.
- Keep counters in the kitchen fairly clear. Lavoine discusses how Parisians tend to hide most small appliances, kitchen tools, etc. and, because Paris kitchens are so small, one is forced to scale back to just the essentials (link). No kitchen clutter here!
- Don’t save cloth napkins for special occasions. Use them everyday to elevate the dining experience.
- Use only white plates, which highlight the food being served. Lavoine notes that the pieces need not necessarily match. An assortment of white plates and serving platters in different styles can be interesting and eclectic.
- Have a handful of easy and delicious recipes for entertaining at home (something that the French quite enjoy doing).
- Display art and photographs on the walls which will, not only add personality to the room, but, in many cases, also make the room feel larger.
- Invest in a high quality mattress, as well as fine bed linens and pillows. (The French value a good night’s sleep!)
- Display books as art. Once again, be discriminating and keep only those books that are most cherished.
- Cover windows with sheer curtains in a natural fabric, so as to provide a screen without blocking the light.
- Treat yourself to luxury soaps (bar soap or liquid) in the bathroom.
- Invest in quality terry cloth towels. They will maintain their appearance and last a long time.
- Store certain bathroom items (such as Q-tips and cotton balls) in apothecary jars. If certain things must remain out on the counter, do your best to make them attractive.
- Invest in a large, spa-like shower head.
- Organize the closet by color. This will make it easy to locate items and also draw attention to gaps in your wardrobe (too much black? Not enough color?)
- Frame and hang childrens’ own artwork in their bedrooms. It’s playful, colorful and a fun way to encourage creativity.
I hope that Lavoine’s ideas provided you with some decor inspiration; she certainly inspired me.