A fresh baguette sits on a sunlit dining table, ready to be cut for breakfast. Out of the wood-framed window edged with cottage herbs, you catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. The scent of coffee wafts from a steaming French press.
You'd not be wrong for thinking it's a crisp winter morning in Paris. After all, that's what the French modernist interior aesthetic channels. Think dreamy white walls capped with moulded ceilings, tantalisingly cold marble floors, and rustic distressed wood furniture.
Do you want to use aspects of French modern in your home? Read on to learn all about this covetable style.
What Is French Modern Interior Design?
French Modern exudes all the charm, style, and romance of a centuries-old rooftop apartment in the heart of Paris.
But thankfully, you don't need to hop on a place to experience it for yourself. Transport yourself there every day by decorating your home with touches of French modern.
When choosing modern French interior design, there's no other colour to paint your walls than a crisp white. The white creates a stage for the other, more prominent features of this decor style: dramatic chandeliers, bold furniture choices, and beautiful timber flooring.
Many paint brands have a French white, an excellent place to start when settling on a colour.
If the paint isn't an option for you (perhaps your walls are in poor condition), then wallpaper can work, too. As with wall paint, choose a simple, bright, clean white wallpaper that doesn't draw attention to itself.
When decorators outfit a Parisian apartment, they place much focus on how to bring in as much natural light as possible. This means big windows and skylights are popular.
Parts of the house without natural light and areas designed to impress are outfitted with statement lighting. This could be in the form of a dramatic black wrought iron chandelier hung above an oversized dining room table or extra-tall, hyper-contemporary standing task lighting (again in black) at either end of a comfy couch.
A softer light is favoured in more relaxed and private areas, like the master bedroom. Take your inspiration from the jazz clubs of 1920s France.
Sculptures and Paintings
One of the most covetable features of luxury French modern interior design is the use of dramatic artworks.
Sculptures and paintings add splashes of colour and interest in what is otherwise a relatively subdued palette. Any artwork can work, whether a gorgeous Art Deco bronze figurine or a contemporary mural by your favourite Australian artists.
While any French modernist art you like is suitable for your space, aim to secure authentic pieces. Even better, make it something you picked up at a flea market in Paris.
That way, you'll have a story to tell your guests at your next cocktail party!
In a French modern house interior, every item in your home should have a purpose. This could be functional, or it could simply enhance the decor and satisfy your need to be surrounded by nice things.
Choose a Parisian side table with dramatically curved legs. It's the perfect spot to hold an antique vase or carafe of iced water with lemon slices.
Don't forget about private spaces, too. In the bedroom, complement your great-grandmother's heirloom dresser with a chic Bobette dressing table mirror. The dresser holds memories and meaning, while the mirror is stunningly practical.
Wall and Ceiling Mouldings
You don't need to go all Baroque or French Empire on your walls and ceilings. Even the simplest mouldings can add interest and a touch of French modern to a room.
If you don't have an older home with original moulding, don't worry. Today, ornate plaster or even tin ceilings are relatively easy to order and install, with many pre-made designs available on the market. But, of course, if you really want to channel French modern and have a significant renovation or design budget, look for a company that can make them bespoke to your specifications.
If you're a music fan, consider installing acoustic ceilings in your entertaining rooms. They look beautiful and ensure your conversation flows smoothly.
Wood or Marble Flooring
We all dream of buying a new home and ripping off that hideous rust-coloured shag pile carpet to reveal original hardwood floors in pristine condition.
Sure, here in Australia, you're unlikely to find beautiful parquet flooring under there, but any timber (or timber-look) flooring will help you channel the French modern style. Work with companies offering reclaimed timber floors to give yourself the best chance of pulling off the look. The scuff marks and years of wear add a rustic charm that's hard to emulate in new flooring.
Another option for functional wet spaces like bathrooms and kitchens, or dramatic entryways, is marble flooring. Aim for bright white Calacatta or Carrara marble with minimal veining.
Handcrafted furniture is a hallmark of the French modern style, albeit antique, vintage, or newly crafted. The focus here is on pieces with as much beauty as function. Ideally, you want to pay more and shop less, aiming for furniture items you know you'll want to keep for a lifetime.
One thing that's a must-have in this style is a French modernist armchair replete with soft white cushioning or perhaps woven rattan or resilient black leather. After all, you need somewhere to sit back and enjoy the songs of Édith Piaf or that recently acquired copy of Madame Bovary.
Larkwood Offers A Wide Range of Quality French Modernist Furniture
If you're looking for a breezy aesthetic with a touch of romance, consider creating a French modern house interior. This style is so chic and refined yet also comfortable that it can be used throughout a home, in one room, or mixed in with other more extravagant decor choices.
Not sure where to find French modern furniture in Australia?
Larkwood Furniture was founded in 1988 by expert Australian carpenter Donald Lang, whose legacy lives on in the brand today. All Larkwood furniture pieces are handcrafted from ethically sourced products in our specialist factory in Indonesia. In fact, even at 82 years old, Lang's hands still touch much of the furniture we sell!
One of our most popular offerings is our French modernist range. Shop the collection today.