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Paris Show Trends Reinvent French Country, 18th Century Furniture

From France come two of the most beloved furniture fashions of all time — elegant 18th Century furniture style and the much copied French country furniture style. But at the recent Maison & Object design trend show in Paris, both styles looked to be undergoing a little reinvention.

In a word, the new look is all about texture. Raw meets refined… with rugged woods, industrial metals, high-touch linens mixing with contemporary shapes that show them off.

From French-inspired settees mixed with dining room collections to upholstered headboards in the bedroom, the new French look is casual, luxurious and able to transform a home into a cocoon of tactile comfort and quiet detachment from a busy world.

As with fashion, French trends travel! Here are some specific trends to watch for…

• French country reinvented. Still warm and nostalgic, the new French country is less about toile fabrics and ruffled skirts than it is about weather-worn woods, neutral colors and simple, comfortable shapes.

• Well-used materials. In an increasingly synthetic world, salvaged objects (rather than period styles) are becoming today’s most chic antiques. Wire-brushed and grainy, distressed woods resemble materials reclaimed from old wood buildings. Linen, hemp and burlap textures look softened by years of laundering.

• Non-wood colors. Washed, bleached and antiqued finishes are replacing stained wood finishes. Chic driftwood, cream and charcoal-colored woods are freely mixed in a room, or even on the same piece of furniture.

• Modest furniture shapes. Simple, utilitarian shapes leans in a contemporary direction, but textured finishes keep them feeling warm.

• Industrial influences. Scrap metals, cast iron and galvanized steel are finding their way onto table tops, industrial cabinets, shelf supports and mesh cabinet doors.

• Layered textures. Pillows, throws and comforters mix woven and high-pile materials… from nubby sweater textures in merino wool to faux fur, cotton and linen textures.

• Glitter, sheen and glam. Crystal accents, sleek fabrics and faux fur offer quite a contrast to the organic trend. But dyed in the chic colors of the season, a faux fur throw can look as good in a glamorous bedroom as in a rustic one! Trust the French to have figured how to pull that off!

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