There’s something uniquely different and understated about the way people living in Northern and Western Europe decorate their homes. If you’ve been admiring the look of décor while binge-watching popular streaming shows such as Emily in Paris and Behind Her Eyes, we have some tips for adapting the casually chic European style look to your living space.
First of all, the size difference between the average American home and the typical European residence influences many of the design choices. Since American ceilings are higher and the rooms larger, we tend to use oversized furnishings to keep the aesthetic in balance. Europeans’ considerably smaller living spaces require less furnishings — and those that are chosen are often leaner in profile. Similarly, as bold patterns and bright colors can dominate a room, they work best in large areas where there is plenty of space around them. A modest room with lower ceilings and covered in pattern or color will instantly feel uncomfortably small.
For this reason, European walls tend to be a light neutral palette of cream, off-white, buff, and pale gray tones. Lighter colors make a room appear bigger by reflecting light to brighten the space, which is especially helpful since European residences often do not have as many windows as American homes.
To incorporate European flair, consider changing your wall color to one of these pale hues. You might also change out a bulky cabinet, table, or chair with a more streamlined model that offers functionality in slimmer silhouette.
Here are some furniture suggestions for European style inspiration:
- Cyan Design Bennett console table
- Chelsea House Large Arrow console table
- Cyan Design Mayard cabinet
- Uttermost Tahtesa corner chair
- Cyan Design The Aland cabinet
Less Is More
Even if your rooms are an ample size, you can adapt the European aesthetic of minimal clutter. Having too many things for the eyes to focus on makes a space appear too “busy” and subconsciously smaller.
Another way to achieve a more European look is to ditch the wall-to-wall carpeting (a long-time American flooring staple) and opt for hardwood or parquet floors that are accented with high-quality area rugs where needed.
Some suggested rugs:
- Cyan Design Cerulean Frost rug
- Uttermost Amuza Diamond rug
- Cyan Design Chevron rug
- Uttermost Sieano rug
Mixing Old With New
With Europe’s heritage spanning back farther in history than the United States, it is common to have many more generations of European families having roots in a particular region and, therefore, more occasions of heirlooms and treasured collectibles being handed down.
This European penchant for valuing heirlooms and meaningful accessories from their adventures or travels is what gives their interiors a delightful combination of vintage character, personalization, and modern-day comfort. If you do not have any family pieces of your own, you can recreate this vibe by selecting table lamps, accessories, and lighting fixtures that have a distressed or time-worn appearance.
Similarly, the wall art choices for European homes tend not to be prints of renowned works or enlarged photography, but paintings or drawings from little-known artists. It’s the hand-made, hand-painted aspect that appeals to European sensibilities versus the slickness of a glass-fronted framed reproduction.
Decor and art suggestions:
- Cyan Design Large White Jack sculpture
- Uttermost Saltillo decorative box
- Cyan Design Stewart candlestick
- Uttermost Bulldogs bookends
- Cyan Design Oceania wall art
- Uttermost Fashion Sketchbook sketches
- Uttermost Outside the Window wall art
- Uttermost Golden Raindrops wall art
Controlling the Light
With natural light at more of a premium – especially in the Northern European countries, which receive less daylight – bolstering the amount of light within the living space is important. European households tend to have more table and floor lamps than their American counterparts to keep the ambiance feeling bright and uplifting.
Window treatments are often more substantial in Europe – think lush drapery, thick shutters, and beautiful fabric shades – than the basic blinds of North America. Upgrading your window treatment is yet another way to bring European essence to your home.
- Savoy House Westbrook chandelier
- Uttermost Cancello table lamp
- Hudson Valley Classic No.1 sconce
- Kichler Hayman Bay chandelier
- Currey & Company Gingko sconce
- Uttermost Mincio table lamp
LightsOnline offers an assortment of home décor products – from area rugs, accessories, and lamps to chandeliers, casual furniture, and wall art – to give your American home some European mystique.
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