The property buying process is over and it’s time to have some fun turning your new house in France into a comfortable home. Here’s our quick guide to home furnishing across the Channel.
Deciding how to furnish your home
Once you have the keys to your new French home, the fun really begins. It’s time to channel your inner Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen so you can get busy furnishing it and putting your own stamp on it. We have taken great delight in gradually finding nice pieces of furniture, accessories and ornaments. The key word here is “gradually”. Our number one top tip is to live in your new home for a while in order to get a real feel for it.
Vide greniers are car boot sales, which happen all over the country throughout the year.
If you have bought an old house, you can have tremendous fun finding old pieces of furniture from antique shops (brocantes). These are basically shops selling second-hand furniture. Vide greniers are car boot sales and happen all over the country throughout the year. We have picked up some great items at these over the years that have helped make our home what it is today.
Are you worried you won’t be able to marry old items with new? Our house, which dates from the late 19th century, now has a super modern kitchen and bathrooms, good lighting and shutters, non of which betrays its period charm. Our second tip is to start thinking about what styles (traditional or contemporary?) and designs (retro, rustic, vintage, Scandinavian?) make you feel comfortable. There is no right or wrong to this and the options are vast.
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You may have furniture of your own that you want to bring down to France. That is fine, but think about what you have and whether it will sit happily in your new French home. This is a good time to have a bit of a clear out and decide if the effort and expense of bringing large items over with you is worth it. Also, the fun part is sourcing furniture once you are actually in France!
Don’t discount good old IKEA. There are many IKEA shops across the country, and we can vouch for their kitchens and lighting being of excellent quality. There are also many good stores, usually located on the outskirts of towns, selling larger items like sofas, dining tables, desks etc. Try Conforama for furniture and electrical appliances and Lapeyre for kitchens, bathrooms and a good range of floor and wall tiles.
There are many IKEA shops across the country.
Many older French houses will have tiled or wooden floors rather than carpets. All you really need here is some rugs to soften them. Catry is a good on line shop for all sorts of rugs and mats.
It is interesting to note that many of us in the UK love the French style when it comes to furnishings, while here in France many French people try to emulate “le style anglais”. Perhaps we can learn from each other here. Remember to take your time when finding the right pieces of furniture to suit your French home, rather than rushing and wasting your money. The important thing is to enjoy making your house into your home.