Lessons in French Decorating | SA Garden and Home
TEXT AND STYLING MARIAN VAN WYK PHOTOGRAPHS GREG COX

Last updated on 16 August 2019

Add some quintessentially French touches to your home with a few statement pieces, beautiful linen and a soft palette. 

More French decorating: Creating a French bedroom

LAZY LOUNGING

 

Not even the finest linen should be too precious for an outdoor living area. Natural materials such as rattan, raw wood, metal and unhoned travertine create a neutral backdrop where French linen scatters enhance the relaxed mood. A dog is a typically Parisian accessory, so if you don’t have any four-legged friends place a quirky sculpture on your patio.

TIP: For an authentic look, opt for natural rather than man-made textiles as they complement other natural textures best and age beautifully.

ALL SET

Add French flair to your kitchen displays and table settings with an assortment of porcelain and ceramics. For a fresh look, stick to a white palette and mix vintage china with earthenware and clear glass. Combine functional pieces such as enamel jugs and storage containers with pretty terrines, stemmed bowls and glass domes with delicate details. A French linen ribbon, subtle lettering and a hint of rusted metal add to the charm.

TIP: As well as being decorative, your display pieces can be used to store utensils or for flower arrangements.

READ MORE: Growing french herbs

DETAIL ORIENTATED

French furniture is all about the detail – curves, turned wood, carving and paint techniques – and a ‘less is more’ approach allows these details to shine. The same goes for accessorising: limit displays to a few favourite pieces, but keep things interesting by juxtaposing old and new, shiny and rustic, animal sculptures and classic crystal pieces. Think battered metal and glass, silver and ceramic.

TIPS: A paint technique and new upholstery can transform junk shop furniture into desirable French pieces. Taxidermy is characteristic of French decor displays, but if this is not your cup of tea, opt for sculptures of birds, dogs or horses.

PURE AND SIMPLE

Gorgeous textured linens and cottons in crisp white and muted colours like duck egg and mushroom are the staples of a French scheme. An armoire with decorative moulding or intricate carving is another must-have for an authentic look.

TIP: You don’t have to break your budget on imports. Local design companies produce stylish original table linen without the carbon footprint of imports.

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