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Decor We Adore: French-Inspired Design Ideas

December 29, 2014

From Parisian palace to country cottage, French aristocrats and peasants alike set trends for fabric, furnishings and a sophisticated approach to decorating a home that still inspire us today.

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Photo: Thibaut ©

Toile de Jouy

This seemingly ubiquitous fabric pattern has a much more storied past than you may imagine. Literally French for "fabric from Jouy" — short for Jouy-en-Josas, the riverside city where it was first manufactured — bleached cotton printed with pastoral or figural scenes has been popular as a wall covering, bedding and upholstery fabric since its introduction in 1770. The pattern was a technological revolution of its time, the fine lines and intricate design made possible by the recent introduction of copper-plate printing technology. Image courtesy of Thibaut

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Paris Meets Provence

This chic living room combines the best of relaxed French country style with sophisticated Parisian panache. A trumeau mirror, properly placed between the room's two windows, visually expands the space and reflects the adjacent dining room while a pair of linen-covered bergeres defines the seating area. Image courtesy of Marian Parsons, Miss Mustard Seed

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Bombé Not Bombay

Typical of the flamboyant rococo style, bombé commodes add a sexy, feminine touch to any room. All the rage during the reign of Louis XV and his royal mistress Madame de Pompadour, rococo style can be summed up in one word: curves. Highly skilled furniture makers of the time, known as ébénistes, developed methods that allowed them to shape wood panels and trim into the serpentine forms that are still popular today. Image courtesy of Eloquence

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Tradition Meets the 21st Century

Inspired by a stay in a posh Parisian hotel, this luxurious master bathroom takes its design cues from the ornate paneled walls and cabinetry prevalent in the south of France during the 18th century. The look is period but the amenities such as a radiant heated floor, a flat-screen TV concealed behind the mirror and piped-in music are all 21st century. Design by Ken Kelly

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