Create The Look Of A Chic Paris Apartment In Your Living Room

Whether it's due to the recent popularity of books like A Paris Apartment or lingering fond memories of the classic Oscar-winning film Gigi, luxurious Parisian decor never goes out of style. Here are nine ways you can create the look of a chic apartment right off the Avenue Foch in your own living room.

Intricate Plaster and Molding Detail

One thing you'll notice immediately about the most desirable Paris apartments is the intricacy of their moldings, walls, doorways, and ceilings. Virtually every element is trimmed with antique plaster details or custom-milled wood. You'll see paneled walls, wainscoting, medallions, and cornices everywhere. Even the old metal steam radiators are decorated with elaborate patterns.

A Dazzling Ceiling Fixture

Suspended from the center of the ceiling, you're sure to find a spectacular light fixture. Try using a reclaimed or vintage crystal chandelier in your living room for the same effect.

Bold Walls

Walls in the uber chic Parisian apartments are usually a bold statement. If you want your living room to look larger, go with all-white or cream paint with perhaps just a touch of gold around the doorways or windows. To cozy up a big room, mimic the French with solid jewel-tone walls, like emerald or vermilion.

Lots of Light

Parisian flats are known for their abundant sunlight. Ideally, you want the largest windows with the sunniest views possible in your copy cat living room, but if this isn't possible, try using large gilt-framed mirrors to reflect light and brighten your space.

Long, Luxurious Drapes

Those French doors and enormous windows are typically framed with beautiful drapes. Try hanging yours from the ceiling to the floor, with excess fabric puddled at the base. You can layer two sets of drapes for a richer look in classic elegant neutrals like beige, ivory, blush, or celadon.


It seems like every Parisian has a fireplace. Yours doesn't need to be real; you can use an electric or gas fireplace or place candles in a non-working hearth. The key is to have a mantel on which you can display personal items like

  • framed photos
  • candles
  • statues
  • little boxes
  • vases

By keeping your knick knacks limited to just a few spaces, you can give your room a toned, layered look without compromising its spaciousness, which is something Parisian decorators have down to an art form.

Greenery and Fresh Flowers

Another thing the Parisians excel at is buying themselves flowers, and floral markets abound in the City of Light. Be sure to sprinkle your living room with little bunches of roses or peonies, and place a ficus or miniature fruit tree in a sunny corner for year-round greenery.

An Eclectic Mix of Decor

Paris is home to some of the best antique and vintage shops in the world. Chic apartments there use an eclectic mix of decor. In the same room, you might find a Louis XV chair, a 19th Century lamp, a lucite table from the 1960s, a contemporary leopard print ottoman, and a painting from the early 20th Century. As long as the lines, colors, and patterns all work together, anything goes.

Gorgeous Hardwood Floors

The pièce de résistance of any high-end Paris apartment is the flooring. Floors in glamorous French digs are always hardwood and well cared for, polished to a warm, gleaming gold tone.

To truly create a Parisian look with your hardwood floors, try parquetry, like a Versailles, herringbone, or chevron pattern. What's the secret to those stunning French floors that have lasted for generations? Here are a few final tips for the centerpiece of your Paris pied–à–terre:

  • Stop dirt and grit from outside at the front door with a good quality entrance mat.
  • Use small area rugs and runners where pets walk.
  • Give up your vacuum cleaner in lieu of sweeping and hand mopping to reduce wear and scratches.
  • Always repair any loose boards or dings immediately.
  • Have your hardwood floors professionally refinished periodically to help maintain their lovely glow for years to come.

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