Discover Your Own Unique Style of European Home Decor
Just how does one pinpoint the style of European home decor, when there seem to be so many variations on this broad theme? My feeling is that the definition of this concept is entirely up to you! And the process of finding your own personal expression of it can be a lot of fun.
After all, Europe itself is made up of many nations, each with their own rich history and decorating aesthetic. You may be drawn to the style of one particular country or historical period, but the wonderful thing about European interior design is that it can be a blend of many different influences.
Following the design strategies which I will lay out for you here today, you can choose your favorite elements from each time period and region of Europe and pull them all together to create a distinguished style that's all your own.
Traditional Chic with a Touch of Glamour
The Victorian era was all about opulence. Every possible surface was embellished with intricate decoration. However, it's still important to know when to stop when going for this look. Without exercising a little restraint, a room can quickly begin to look cluttered and oppressive.
To keep things in balance, I try to maintain symmetry in traditional decor whenever possible. I used the white wainscoting on the walls to guide the placement of the wall decor, starting with the gilded gold mirror as a large, elegant visual anchor point. I filled the surrounding wall space with framed prints lined up perfectly within the grid. This creates the feeling of order and tradition, and is a bit of a departure from the more casual, organically placed wall art I typically go for when I decorate a modern interior. I carried the line of symmetry through to two ornately upholstered armchairs.
If you are remodeling an —original— Victorian living room or redecorating a modern space in this style, don't be afraid to veer away from plain white walls. Colored wall paint was widely used during this period, often involving faded tones such as this dusty rose. Ask your local paint store if they carry a line of heritage colors to find some authentic inspiration for your color palette. To compliment the pink wall color, I chose an elegant sofa in a neutral shade of taupe with a similarly muted tone. Its tufted details and curved back give it traditional charm which is kept in check by its simple, solid upholstery material.
An Opulent Living Room with Traditional French Details
This room has all the hallmarks of European interior design, with certain elements that specifically reference a French traditional style. The French doors seem to open onto a Parisian terrace, filling the room with natural light. If you lack your own Parisian balcony, you can maximize natural light in your home using sheer window treatments and bright white walls. A chandelier is another way to fill a room with light, and this one definitely fits the traditional style, with its aged brass and opulent jewels. A bouquet of long stemmed red roses tops off the look, instantly giving any room romantic Parisian charm.
The loveseat is a great find, upholstered in a soft velvet texture which makes it comfortable and inviting, despite its extremely upscale wooden carved details. The large mirror with ornate gold frame echoes this opulent carved look. Luckily, mirror frames of this style are widely available as affordable reproductions.
Dark, richly hued wood fills the rest of the space, which is achievable because of the white walls and maximized light I mentioned earlier. From the dark wood of the traditional parquet floors, to the rounded side tables, chaise lounge, and armchairs, dark wood adds an air of history and a warm, welcoming hue to the neutral color palette.
A Serene Study with Quiet Elegance
Dedicate a quiet corner of your living space to relaxation with a comfortable armchair and a collection of vintage books. Unplugging from all of our modern gadgets and screens from time to time gives one's spirit and eyes a much needed rest.
What Victorian living room would be complete without a Persian rug? In the late Victorian era, rugs like this were all the rage, as they allowed the obsession with decorative detail to continue onto the floor space, adding a feeling of well travelled cultural heritage as well as a soft texture.
This room loosely follows the romantic look of the traditional French decor style, but keeps things sweet and simple. Dark wooden side tables and a gold framed mirror feature carved details but on a small, unimposing scale. Because this decor doesn't go overboard, I could afford to add one large element, for which I selected a lovely French chandelier. If you're going for this style, don't forget to add romance with fresh flowers.