Paris, city of art and light, romance and style — its colours can evoke the sheen of rain on cobblestones, the vivid Tuileries in spring, the lush, ornate richness of the salon. If you want to enter la bonne vie every time you open the front door, paint your walls at the hues of Paris — the bright and the delicate shades beloved by artists and Francophiles in the Ile de la Cite to Le Marais.
Life Is a Cabaret
The intense hues of different epochs in Parisian history haven’t faded over time. Cabaret walls are still boldly rich and dark, a celebration of the vitality housed in an artist’s garret or a royal palace. Burnt-orange, plum, aubergine, teal, inky charcoal, a range of chocolates and mineral greens, China blue, apple, ochre and lemon function as accent walls, trim or wall-to-wall in a pharmacy, cafe or boudoir. A gilt frame about an oil painting above a marble fireplace would put off a wall of joie de vivre Parisian color. If color saturation is too much for your house’s light level, restrict the deeper hues to a hall or powder room therefore the effect is not overwhelming.
Cloud and Stone
Cool gray, classy as rain or smoke sheeting from the Pont Neuf, is the perfect foil for the collection of modern furnishings and old treasures scored at the Paris flea markets. Pale gray walls with pewter trim and ebonized wood floors will flaunt your Le Corbusier cowhide chaise longue to perfection. A teal velvet sofa and slate-topped table gleam gently against light gray, as will a glossy metal dining table and bentwood chairs. Powdery color-washed medium-gray walls tone down a bedroom using coral linens and a damask slipper seat. A white ceiling and pewter and white striped drapes bring more light into the room.
Creme de la Creme
Something about the yellowish-white or light beige paint in Paris is as lush and thick as creme fraiche. The ivory with a mere sign of a warm palette balances the silvery light of Paris, and might offset the gloomy gray of the wet springs and cold winters. The color has a bit of pink, not blue or blue, in it, and that is its secret to flattering conventional and modern decor — and you and your visitors. A bluish white is harsh and casts an unforgiving light on skin tones, effectively aging you. A pinkish white adds warmth to the lighting, and a youthful glow to skin. Test warmer whites on your walls at every light to come across the tint of pink, slight touch of red, trace of creamy yellow or barely there blush tone at a creme fraiche paint which works for every room in the home.
Commes Les Artistes
Choose your colours in the palettes of painters inspired by Paris. Their choices hang on the walls of the most important museums in the world so why not yours too? Picasso had a Blue and a Rose period, when he worked in monochromatic schemes of blue and blue-green, or predominantly in pink. A pale, matte antique blush on walls trimmed in glossy white goes in every room with every sort of decor. A room in varied shades of blue — by a drift of sky-blue to dark teal or traditional navy — is equally restful and interesting. Van Gogh hungrily absorbed color theory throughout his years in Paris, and remained obsessed with color his whole life. He experimented with brilliant complements to create compelling intensity in his scenes, portraits and still lifes. Trim your lilac walls at sunflower-yellow; add red decor accents to a room using mint-green walls; paint the kitchen powder-blue to underline the terra cotta flooring.