Interiors: Harmony the key to French home chic

Jane Webster on the importance of colour and how to create a sumptuous salon

In France, grey is a much favoured country and city colour all on its own. Think of the shutters on Place Vendôme. I’m not talking about brutal mortar colour or concrete pavement grey here. This French grey is subtle and soft, with a blue or pink base. The colour is often used on painted furniture as well and gives it a wonderful weighted feel.

It is common to see a white base used as a colour and not as a neutral. French whites are never cold, bright or fluorescent looking. Antique or clotted-cream matt whites are chosen, which have true warmth and layered depth.

The French interpret colour very subtly and use it to tell a story, showing different hues at different times of the day. Paler colours are milky but still have depth. Strong colours are vibrant but never scream.

Traditionally these beautiful French colours were very much dependant on a region’s local colour pigments. When painting walls and furniture each region would use their local ingredients to mix pigments for the colour palette. Across France, traditional recipes ...

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