There are plenty of up-to-the-minute design ideas in the interior design world right now: From the ultra-trendy cottagecore aesthetic to the enduring Scandinavian minimalism style, there is no shortage of themes and concepts to explore when you’re thinking of new design ideas for your home.
But there’s something quite timeless about the French Regency or neoclassical interior design style. Soft pastels, delicate details, ornate chandeliers—when done right, taking your cue from this era can turn your home from drab to fab in an instant. If you want your home to feel like a classy and modern take on this often romanticized period in history, here are some tips and tricks for designing your home Marie Antoinette-style.
Walls and ceiling
The 18th century was also known as the neoclassical period, and it was marked by elegant and royal design choices like the following:
- Decorative wall moldings. One of the most iconic design elements of French Regency-style interiors is decorative moldings. There are plenty of designs to choose from, like casing style, which is usually used to cover gaps between doors, walls, and window frames. Baseboard styles are usually simple and function to cover floor and wall gaps. Crown moldings, on the other hand, are known for having intricate silhouettes and have plenty of different styles. There are many more styles to choose from, and these wall moldings are usually installed using endurable concrete sealers.
- Painted ceilings. Marie Antoinette’s ceiling was famously painted with a pastel blue with soft white clouds on them. If the idea of having your ceilings painted with this design is too intimidating, you can compromise by going for a baby blue ceiling minus the clouds or a white with a hint of soft blue on it. Other painted ceiling ideas include an ornate pattern or molding.
- Trimmings and floral motifs. The Palace of Versailles is also famous for its baroque trimmings in pastel colors and mirrors with ornate frames and floral-themed walls. To give this look a modern upgrade, you can explore some floral wallpapers or paint your wall a pastel color and hang an 18th-century painting.
Another huge marker of neoclassical design is accent chairs and furniture pieces. These pieces usually have straight legs with opulent ornamentation on the backrest. Carvings, ribbons, and garlands are also front and center in many furniture pieces. Gold was often used for tables and chairs as well as for other colors in the room. Since not a lot of furniture stores offer gold pieces, you can DIY using acrylic paint.
You can also look into having the chairs reupholstered so that they’re replaced with Regency-inspired patterns and floral themes. Another important design marker of this era is affixed metals with shapes like gold shells, birds, and lotuses, so be on the lookout for those pieces when you go furniture hunting.
Textiles and colors
When it comes to colors, the name of the game is pastels. Marie Antoinette was known for her light, pastel-colored dresses, and this soft color palette was also very evident in how her rooms were designed. When choosing colors for your home, make sure to stick with pastel pink, green, yellow, and blue, with gold and white for your secondary and accent colors for the walls, floor, and furniture pieces. When choosing colors for your home, make sure to follow the 60-30-10 interior design rule, which goes as follows:
- 60 percent the dominant color, which can be the pastel color of your walls and main furniture
- 30 percent will be the secondary color, which can be used for the drapes, linens, statement chairs, painted furniture, and accents on the walls
- 10 percent for the accent color or the other minor decorative elements like throw pillows, candles, lamps, and others
As for textiles, make sure to stick to materials like taffeta, toile, silk, and brocade—and make sure they’re in pastel, too.
Crystal chandeliers with a modern upgrade are also worthy investments for this specific concept. Choose predominantly white ones. You can also place a feather on a clear vase as a nod to Marie Antoinette, as well as neoclassical planters and gold candelabras. A simple canopy over your bed can also go a long way in evoking the Regency era.
Other pointers to remember
You don’t need to completely turn your home into a museum for this period. You can go sparse in your design and still end up with a home that is distinctly Marie Antoinette. Like everything in design, the devil is in the details—so ensure that everything you put in your home lines up with the aesthetics Marie Antoinette is celebrated for.