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Paris is a city of many moods and its flats and grand apartments reflect that. Think of it this way: When you dress for a changeable climate, you layer. The Paris look does precisely that with décor; it’s a style that suggests layers of time and, more important personal experience. It is a style that elevates the individual eye above any particular look or fashion. For that reason, mixing flea market finds and pieces of fine furniture is common. It’s a design gesture that says, I know what’s beautiful whether the price is high or low. It’s also a look that punctures any pretense and adds a welcome touch of whimsy.
Parisian interiors routinely mix contemporary and vintage art on their walls. Once again, the mixture suggests both the passage of time and an individual taste that stands apart from any particular era. The trick is to choose pieces that either complement one another in size and style—or act as dramatic counterpoints to one another. Anything in the middle risks looking muddled and thrown together. Your art, whether purchased from a gallery or salvaged from some thrift shop bin must look like it was chosen to reflect your taste.
One of the striking things about a Parisian flat often is the way they unselfconsciously blend drama with comfort—a single huge painting, often a portrait, beside comfortable furnishings that invite an afternoon of quiet reading. Side tables and a stack of oversized pillows add dramatic effect.
Don’t forget what an over-the-top chandelier, particularly crystal, can do for a room. It adds instant glitter with a hint of tradition.
Perhaps it’s the lingering influence of Louis XIV’s famous hall of mirrors, but nobody makes better use of mirrors than a Parisian. An oversized mirror can make a small space seem much larger or add an element of glitzy, high-style drama, when elaborately framed. Go the other way and frame simply—either with ebony or gilt—and you’ve got a chic contemporary look that seems to make everything it reflects worthy of contemplation. Add a candle or two and the room will come glowingly to life as the shadows lengthen.
Photos from Elle Decor.