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5 Renovation and Decor Tips From Chic Paris Apartments

Get ready to be inspired

A view into the kitchen of a 915-square-foot flat in Paris.
Photo via Marie Claire Maison

Embarking on a renovation project of any size is daunting: Even in the smallest revamp, there's so much to consider. Perhaps the least fraught, most enjoyable aspect of all of this potential change, though, is searching for inspiration. And what better place toward which to cast one's eye than Paris?


With housing stock made up largely of historic buildings in various states of repair, and an entrenched design scene, Paris is chock-full of eye-candy. We're pointing out some of the best actionable tips from the gloriously cool photos.

1. Wall shelving has practical uses, sure, but it can also add some design pizzazz to a room.

Photo via Marie Claire Maison
Curvaceous wood-and-metal shelving in French interior architect and product designer Jean-Marc Gady's Paris apartment
Photo by Francis Amiand via Elle Decor España

We know you've heard it before: If you're revamping a micro apartment or an otherwise small space, don't forget to use your walls! Walls are a great place to hang shelves for stashing books, kitchenware, and tchotchkes of all sorts. But the shelving needn't be boring.

We dig these two options, a curvaceous wood-and-steel system displayed in Paris's 8th arrondissement and featured in a recent issue of Elle Decor España; and this wall-mounted storage system that's a combination of ledges and cabinets. The latter wins points with us for following making use of an atypical layout.

And, if you're working with an abnormally spacious home, we envy you and think this storage solution would work just as well, even providing an accent wall of sorts in your unconscionably large digs.

2. If you need to conserve space in a compact apartment, consider built-in shelving.

Photo by h20 Architectes via Dezeen

No floor space? No problem. Though a constrained floorplan necessitates some ingenuity when it comes to things like storage (especially for books, as seen above, and kitchenware), it's not impossible. We suggest built-ins, as seen at this 750-square-foot apartment renovated by local firm h20 Architectes? While that may sound like a considerable amount of space, consider that it accommodates a family of four.

3. In a studio or otherwise open-plan home, try different types of flooring to help demarcate spaces.

Polished concrete flooring (background) in the kitchen, and horiztonally laid wood floors in the dining room (foreground)
Photo by David Foessel via Dezeen

We really dug the old-meets-new vibes in this whitewashed apartment in Paris's 11th arrondissement. Local firm Septembre gave a 645-square-foot unit a revamp, and mixed a variety of flooring types—from wood to concrete to tile—to ace ends. Take a look.

4. Low ceilings? Hanging art high could actually help create an illusion of height.

Photo via Emile Garcin Realty

Not every renovation project includes the scale and scope required to raise ceiling heights; if you're not embarking on a total gut reno, that option is probably not available to you.

Luckily, there are some ways to get around that. In this art collector's home in Paris's Montmartre neighb', masks, prints, paintings, and more cluster gallery-wall style (though, yes, we know—the gallery wall is controversial). This draws the eye upward, and, paired with a high-gloss ceiling, makes the space seem a bit taller than it otherwise would.

5. Don't be afraid to let the house shine.

Photo by A+B Kasha

Some of the most impressive renovations, like this one by Paris firm A + B Kasha, capitalize on original architectural details and forego big changes or stylistic theatrics. Just looking at this space, which clocks in at just 270-square-feet, is making us feel a little more Zen about the possibilities.

6 Fab Flooring Ideas From a Chic Paris Renovation [Curbed]

Designer's Paris Apartment Packs in Pop Colors, Rad Patterns [Curbed]

Clever Built-Ins Let This Small Paris Flat Fit a Whole Family [Curbed]

Quirky-Cool Paris Apartment Full of Fabulously Curvy Designs [Curbed]