Some interior design elements have more lasting appeal than others, and anything featuring the Louis XVI style can seamlessly find a place in a modern home. Here are some ways to add some 18th-century flair to your 21st-century style.
Few pieces have as much versatility in the home as a Louis XVI style chair. Whether you are lucky enough to have an original or a well-crafted replica, the clean, straight lines of this versatile piece make it a flexible canvas to blend in with your unique style. Feel free to paint its frame with your favorite color or cover its cushions with a daring abstract print. A Louis XVI style chair always has a seat at the table.
The cabinet makers under Louis XVI, including Martin Carlin, were masters of functional design. Small tables with moveable parts and secret compartments are as practical today as in 18th century France. A small, moveable table can function beautifully to hold a cocktail or provide secret compartments to keep useful objects like pens, remote control units and reading glasses handy but out of sight.
For a feminine take on Louis XVI style, channel your inner Marie Antoinette by choosing the light color palette that the Queen favored. Light, beige or pastel wood furniture finishes and, upholstery or window treatments can hint at traditional toile when the repeat pattern is more daring or updated.
The bathroom or powder room is an area where you can express your extravagant side with wild abandon if you feel that restraint is better for other places. An oversized mirror with neoclassical swags above vanity with elegant cartouche panels can create a luxurious yet sleek environment.
If you want to recall the mood of Marie Antoinette’s casual elegance, try adding some cane-back chairs with medallion accents around a kitchen tabletop with a beautiful flower-filled Grecian urn. Add some panel details to your kitchen cabinets and add some pretty gold hardware, but use a matte finish to keep the look modern.
The straight lines characteristic of the Louis XVI style can inform the design of your home’s exterior grounds. Add rows of boxwoods or well-trimmed hedges intermingled with stone bordered flower beds to create a manicured look. Tuck away a reading bench in a private spot to enjoy the same bucolic solitude that Marie-Antoinette enjoyed at the Petit Trianon.
Interior design styles may come and go, but Louis XVI design features are enduring.