Without buying new furniture, how can I add a few Parisian touches to my home?
Bringing together the contemporary with the traditional is a fine balance - and the key to this style's eclectic look.
The main element of French style is architectural detailing. Unfortunately, apartments in the UAE don't come with ornate mouldings and intricately carved wall panelling. But there is a way around this: DragonMart in Dubai has crown mouldings at bargain prices. Buy a chunky cornice profile and install it where the wall meets the ceiling. Paint the cornice and the walls an antique white. Depending on the colour of your upholstery, you could also paint the walls in a muted pastel tone and leave the cornice in white.
To add glamorous Rococo wall panelling without breaking the bank, introduce the Perfecto wall covering by Elitis. It's a contemporary take on the traditional Boiseries popular in 17th and 18th century French interiors. It's available at Rubelli Sahco Studio Dubai (04 332 9197).
Remember, the key is to juxtapose traditional detailing and contemporary design. Try adding a dramatic crystal chandelier if your existing furniture is minimalist and modern.
I know you don't want to throw out all your furniture, but think about adding one or two signature pieces or accessories. The Rococo designs of the Louis XV period are considered the high point of French furniture design, and many stores offer affordable reproductions. For mid-market options, look at Pier Import in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (www.pierimport-me.com).
To bring the Parisian touch to your bedroom, simply update your bed linen. Combine damask patterned covers with bold coloured silk and velvet cushions. Jewel tones such as emerald, ruby and sapphire are characteristic of the French style. Try Zara Home's bed linen and cushion range.
In my home, I have vintage-looking drinks coasters from a flea market in Paris. Simple details such as this, framed French posters or images of Paris landmarks can all create the Parisian feel on a limited budget.
Finally, buy a copy of New Paris Interiors by Taschen. Most good bookstores in the UAE will stock it or order it if they don't. This volume contains some great ideas, and you can add it to your coffee table as the final finishing touch in your newly decorated Parisian abode.
Pallavi Dean is an award-winning independent design consultant who practises in the UAE. If you have a question for her, email firstname.lastname@example.org