Lessons From The City Of Light

Jaclyn Ehrlich
Jaclyn Ehrlich

A trip to Paris inspired Charlotte interior designer Jaclyn Ehrlich to share her four tips to incorporating design you discover while traveling into your own home.

Why Paris? Why France?” I blankly stared at the man before me who was asking these absurd questions. Quite frankly, it had never crossed my mind that anyone would ask that question. After all, it’s Paris, France. Why wouldn’’t everyone have interest in visiting this magnificent city and country. Personally, I have been obsessed for years. It used to be about new friends, hostels and praying for a few lost francs in the bottom of my backpack to fund a delicious purchase from one of the many beloved boulangerie stops. Today, it’s still about personal connections and food obsessions but I know now that it is the spirit and soul of a place that draws you in. I always find incredible inspiration when I travel and have learned many valuable design lessons from beautiful buildings, museums, gardens, restaurants, and most notably – the hotels of Paris.

It’s common for someone to deeply connect with a place that they travel to. Bringing the heart and soul back home – from that special place that you love – creates a beautiful and unique environment full of life and energy. While visiting France, I was able to not only get some much needed R&R, but also get inspired by the city. Paris showcases amazing design on nearly every street and corner, and I soaked that in. I also learned so much from two renowned hotels: Plaza Athanee and Le Meurice. The design at both of these institutions is impeccable. It was a pleasure to see both of them for myself. Immediately I began thinking about how I could incorporate aspects of their design into my own space. Ultimately I concluded that these four considerations can inject some of the design lessons I learn while traveling into my own home.

Ambiance Sets the Mood

Taking the time create the right ambiance in your home is well worth the effort. Hotels are known for this. They focus on scent, lighting and music – appropriate for the time of day – to create an amazing mood for their guests. You can apply this to your own home and your family and your guests will surely enjoy it.

THINK Outside the Box for outdoor living

Life in the Carolina’s affords you the luxury of an extended season for outdoor living. Creating outdoor spaces that are relaxing and beautiful are well worth the investment. Paris is a place teeming with outdoor design. French cafes line the streets, incorporating incredible lighting, functional but beautiful outdoor furniture, and so much more. Take photos of the designs you see on your travels and apply them to your outdoor spaces. Along with the lessons learned abroad consider things like proper shade, fans, comfortable seating, and beautiful local plants.
Color is King

Color plays the biggest factor in the basis for great design. Choosing the right shades is the key to loving your home. Collect photos that you are drawn to from places on Houzz or Pinterest, your favorite travel magazines, and the places you visit. Look to find the common thread among the colors that you are attracted to. If you find these colors are different than what you have, it is time to make a change.

Little Things Matter

Be selective of the displayed items in your home. In hotel design, especially at places like Le Meurice, every detail is thought out and every aspect of the design is precisely where it should be. This sounds complicated but I have an easy remedy. When I go through things with clients to determine what will stay and what will go, I have a 3-point “BFS” filtering rule. Something must be beautiful, functional or sentimental in order to win space in the home.  If none of these apply, it’s likely time to donate or dispose. Surround yourself with beauty, function and meaning – including pieces acquired from your travels and heirlooms – and you will be happier, more organized, have more energy to live inspired.

Traveling can be a powerful teacher, especially when it comes to design. Next time you’re abroad consider these four simple tips. On your return, apply them to your own aesthetic and the dividends will surely pay off. Live and design to the fullest and safe travels, friend.