20 European Style Decorating Ideas for Some Old World Charm

Last updated on October 26, 2023

Transform your home into a charming European haven with these 20 unique and inspiring decorating ideas, carefully curated by an experienced female decorator.

I have seen many different styles come and go over the years. However, one style that has always remained popular is European style decorating.

With its timeless elegance and sophistication, it’s no wonder why so many homeowners are drawn to this aesthetic. From classic French country to sleek Scandinavian design, there are countless ways to incorporate European style into your home decor.

In this article, I will share with you 20 ideas for bringing a touch of European flair into your own space. So sit back, relax and get ready to be inspired!

Vintage Chandeliers

Vintage chandeliers

Vintage chandeliers are a staple in European style decorating. These ornate light fixtures add a touch of elegance and glamour to any room.

Whether you opt for an antique crystal chandelier or a more rustic wrought iron design, vintage chandeliers can serve as the focal point of your space. Hang one above your dining table or in your entryway to make a statement, or use smaller ones throughout the house for added ambiance and charm.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match styles either – pairing an opulent crystal piece with more modern decor can create an interesting contrast that adds depth to your overall design scheme.

Ornate Mirrors

Ornate mirrors

Ornate mirrors are a staple in European style decorating. These statement pieces can add elegance and sophistication to any room.

Whether you choose a large, ornately framed mirror for your entryway or a smaller one with intricate details for your bedroom, it will instantly elevate the space. Mirrors also have the added benefit of reflecting light and making rooms appear larger than they actually are.

For an even more dramatic effect, consider grouping several smaller mirrors together on one wall to create an eye-catching display that is sure to impress guests. When choosing an ornate mirror, look for unique shapes and interesting details that will make it stand out as a focal point in your decor scheme.

Velvet Upholstery

Velvet upholstery

Velvet upholstery is a luxurious and elegant choice for European-style decorating. The soft, plush texture of velvet adds depth and richness to any room.

It can be used on sofas, armchairs, ottomans or even as accent pillows. Velvet comes in a variety of colors from jewel tones like emerald green or sapphire blue to neutral shades like beige or gray that complement other textures such as leather or linen.

When using velvet upholstery in your decor scheme, it’s important to balance the opulence with other elements that are more understated so the space doesn’t become overwhelming. For example, pair a velvet sofa with simple wooden coffee table and minimalist artwork on the walls.

Velvet also works well when combined with metallic accents such as gold lamps or silver candlesticks which add an extra layer of glamour to your space without being too flashy.

Incorporating velvet into your European style decorating will create an inviting atmosphere that exudes sophistication and comfort at once.

Gilded Accents

Gilded accents

Gilded accents are a hallmark of European style decorating. The use of gold leaf or metallic paint on furniture, mirrors, and picture frames adds an element of luxury to any room.

A gilded mirror can be the focal point in a living room while a gilded console table can add elegance to an entryway. For those who prefer subtlety, small touches such as gilded drawer pulls or lamp bases can still make an impact without overwhelming the space.

When incorporating gilding into your decor, it’s important not to overdo it – too much gold can look tacky rather than chic. Instead, choose one or two statement pieces and let them shine against more neutral backgrounds for maximum effect.

Floral Wallpapers

Floral arts

Floral wallpapers are a quintessential element of European style decorating. They add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room, whether it’s the living room or bedroom.

The key is to choose patterns that complement the overall color scheme and furniture pieces in the space. For instance, if you have neutral-colored furniture, opt for bold floral prints with vibrant hues like reds or blues to create an eye-catching contrast.

On the other hand, if your furnishings are already colorful or patterned, consider using subtle floral designs in muted tones as an accent wall behind them instead of covering all walls with busy wallpaper patterns which can be overwhelming at times. Floral wallpapers also work well when paired with vintage chandeliers and ornate mirrors for a truly European-inspired look that will never go out of style!

Antique Furniture

Antique furniture

Antique furniture is a staple of European style decorating. Pieces with intricate carvings and ornate details add character and charm to any room.

Look for vintage chairs, tables, dressers, or cabinets that have been well-preserved over time. These pieces often feature high-quality materials such as solid wood or marble tops that are both durable and beautiful.

When incorporating antique furniture into your decor scheme, it’s important to strike the right balance between old-world elegance and modern functionality. Consider pairing an antique dining table with contemporary chairs for a fresh take on traditional design or using an antique dresser in a bedroom alongside sleeker accents like metallic lamps or geometric-patterned rugs.

Antique furniture can also be repurposed in creative ways – try turning an old trunk into a coffee table or using vintage suitcases as storage containers under the bed. With its timeless appeal and unique character, antique furniture is sure to elevate any space it occupies while adding depth and personality to your home’s overall aesthetic.

Marble Surfaces

Marble surfaces

Marble surfaces are a hallmark of European style decorating. This luxurious material adds an elegant touch to any room, whether it’s used for countertops, flooring or even decorative accents.

Marble comes in a variety of colors and patterns, from classic white with grey veins to bold black with gold flecks. It can be polished to a high shine or left honed for a more natural look.

In the kitchen, marble countertops provide both beauty and functionality as they are heat-resistant and easy to clean. In the bathroom, marble floors create an opulent spa-like atmosphere that is perfect for relaxing after a long day.

Marble also works well as an accent material in furniture pieces such as coffee tables or side tables where its unique veining pattern can add visual interest without overwhelming the space.

When incorporating marble into your decor scheme remember that less is often more; too much of this beautiful stone can make your home feel cold rather than cozy so use it sparingly but strategically throughout your space!

Herringbone Floors

Herringbone floors

Herringbone floors are a classic European design element that can add elegance and sophistication to any room. This pattern is created by laying rectangular tiles or planks at a 45-degree angle, creating a zigzag effect that draws the eye across the floor.

Herringbone floors can be made from various materials such as wood, tile, or even concrete and come in different colors and finishes to suit your style preference. They work well in both traditional and modern interiors alike but are particularly popular in grand entryways or formal living rooms where they make an immediate statement upon entering the space.

If you’re looking for an easy way to elevate your home’s aesthetic appeal with minimal effort, consider installing herringbone flooring for timeless beauty that will last for years to come!

Wrought Iron Details

Wrought iron details

Wrought iron details are a hallmark of European style decorating. From intricate stair railings to ornate bed frames, wrought iron adds an elegant touch to any room.

In the living room, consider incorporating a wrought iron coffee table or side table for added texture and visual interest. In the bedroom, a wrought iron headboard can serve as a statement piece while also providing sturdy support for your mattress and pillows.

Wrought iron accents can also be found in lighting fixtures such as chandeliers or wall sconces, adding warmth and charm to any space they illuminate. Whether you opt for bold black finishes or more subtle bronze tones, incorporating wrought-iron details into your decor is sure to add timeless appeal that will never go out of style!

Crown Molding

Crown molding

Crown molding is a classic European design element that adds elegance and sophistication to any room. It is a decorative trim installed where the walls meet the ceiling, creating an architectural detail that draws the eye upward.

Crown molding comes in various styles and sizes, from simple designs to more ornate ones with intricate details.

When choosing crown molding for your home, consider its size in relation to your ceiling height. A larger crown molding will look better on higher ceilings while smaller ones are suitable for lower ceilings.

You can paint it white or match it with your wall color for a seamless look.

Crown moldings work well in living rooms, dining rooms or bedrooms as they add depth and character to these spaces without overwhelming them visually. They also pair well with other European style elements such as chandeliers or antique furniture pieces.

Adding crown moldings can transform any space into an elegant retreat reminiscent of old-world charm found throughout Europe’s grandest homes and palaces!

French Doors

French doors

French doors are a classic element of European style decorating that can add elegance and sophistication to any home. These doors feature multiple glass panels that allow natural light to flood into the room, creating an airy and bright atmosphere.

French doors come in various styles, from traditional wooden frames with intricate details to modern steel designs with clean lines. They are often used as entryways between rooms or leading out onto patios or balconies, providing a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces.

French doors also offer privacy while still allowing for visual connection between different areas of the house. Whether you choose vintage-inspired or contemporary versions, incorporating French doors into your decor is sure to elevate your space’s overall aesthetic appeal while adding functionality at the same time!

Classic Artwork

Classic artwork

European style decorating is often associated with classic artwork. From Renaissance paintings to Baroque sculptures, European art has a rich history that can add depth and sophistication to any space.

When incorporating classic artwork into your decor, consider the size of the piece and its placement in the room. Large-scale pieces can make a bold statement as a focal point on an accent wall or above a fireplace mantel, while smaller pieces can be grouped together for added impact.

Don’t be afraid to mix different styles of art from different eras – eclectic pairings can create an interesting conversation between old and new elements in your home’s design scheme.

Neutral Color Palette

Color palette

Neutral color palettes are a hallmark of European style decorating. Soft shades of beige, cream, gray and white create a calming atmosphere that is both elegant and timeless.

These colors can be used on walls, furniture upholstery or even in accessories such as throw pillows or curtains. One advantage of using neutral colors is their versatility – they can easily be paired with bolder hues to add interest without overwhelming the space.

Another benefit is that neutral tones tend to make rooms feel larger and more open by reflecting light around the space. When working with neutrals it’s important to incorporate texture through materials like linen, wool or leather so the room doesn’t feel flat or boring.

Toile Fabrics

Toile fabrics

Toile fabrics are a classic element of European style decorating. These fabrics feature intricate patterns that often depict pastoral scenes or historical events.

Toile can be used in a variety of ways, from upholstering chairs and sofas to creating drapery and bedding. It’s important to balance the use of toile with other elements in the room, as too much can overwhelm the space.

Consider pairing toile with solid colors or simple stripes for a balanced look that still showcases this beautiful fabric pattern.

Layered Textiles

Layered textiles

Layered textiles are a hallmark of European style decorating. This technique involves layering different fabrics and textures to create depth and interest in a room.

Start with a base layer, such as an area rug or upholstered furniture, then add layers of throw pillows, blankets, curtains or drapes made from different materials like linen, velvet or wool. Mixing patterns is also key to achieving this look; try pairing stripes with florals for an unexpected twist.

Not only does this technique add visual interest to your space but it also creates warmth and coziness that is perfect for the colder months ahead!

Elegant Drapery

Elegant Curtain

European style decorating is all about creating a luxurious and sophisticated atmosphere. One way to achieve this look is by incorporating elegant drapery into your home decor.

Heavy, floor-to-ceiling curtains in rich fabrics like velvet or silk can instantly add drama and elegance to any room.

When choosing drapes for your European-style home, consider opting for neutral colors like cream or beige that will complement the rest of your decor without overwhelming it. You may also want to choose a fabric with intricate details such as embroidery or lacework.

To complete the look, be sure to invest in high-quality curtain rods and hardware that match the overall aesthetic of your space. With these simple touches, you can transform any room into an opulent retreat reminiscent of classic European design.

Porcelain Accessories

European style accessories

Porcelain accessories are a staple in European style decorating. These delicate pieces add a touch of elegance and sophistication to any room.

From vases to figurines, porcelain accessories come in various shapes and sizes, making them versatile decorative items that can be used throughout the home.

One popular way to incorporate porcelain accessories is by displaying them on shelves or mantels. A collection of small porcelain figurines can create an eye-catching display when grouped together on a shelf or arranged around other decorative objects.

Porcelain vases are another great accessory for adding interest and texture to a space. They come in many different styles, from traditional blue-and-white designs to more modern geometric patterns.

When choosing porcelain accessories for your home, consider the overall color scheme and style of your decor. Opt for pieces that complement your existing furnishings rather than clash with them.

Incorporating porcelain accessories into your European-style decor is an easy way to add charm and character while staying true to this classic design aesthetic.

Rustic Wood Elements

Rustic wood

Rustic wood elements are a staple in European style decorating. They add warmth and texture to any space, creating a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

From exposed ceiling beams to reclaimed wood furniture, there are many ways to incorporate rustic wood into your decor.

One popular way is through the use of distressed or weathered finishes on furniture pieces such as coffee tables or bookshelves. These pieces can be paired with soft textiles like linen or wool for an effortless yet sophisticated look.

Another option is incorporating natural wooden accents such as decorative bowls, picture frames, and candle holders throughout the room. This adds subtle touches of rustic charm without overwhelming the space.

For those looking for a more dramatic statement piece, consider installing reclaimed barnwood paneling on one wall in a living room or bedroom. This creates an eye-catching focal point that brings character and history into your home’s design scheme.

Incorporating rustic wood elements into your European style decor will create an ambiance that feels both timeless and comfortable – perfect for relaxing afternoons spent at home with family and friends!

Formal Dining Rooms

 Dining room

Formal dining rooms are a staple of European style decorating. These spaces are designed to host elegant dinner parties and gatherings, with attention paid to every detail from the lighting fixtures to the table settings.

To create a formal dining room in your home, start by selecting a large table that can comfortably seat all of your guests. Look for chairs with upholstered seats and backs for added comfort during long meals.

Next, consider adding an ornate chandelier or pendant light fixture above the table as a focal point in the room. Crown molding and wainscoting can also add elegance and sophistication to this space.

When it comes time to decorate your formal dining room, choose artwork that complements the color scheme of the space while also adding visual interest on empty walls. Don’t forget about accessories such as candlesticks or floral arrangements which will help set an inviting atmosphere for any special occasion you may have planned!

Cozy Fireplaces


A fireplace is a quintessential element of European style decorating. It not only adds warmth to the room but also creates an inviting ambiance.

A cozy fireplace can be achieved by using natural materials such as stone or brick for the surround and mantel, and accessorizing it with vintage candlesticks, antique vases or urns filled with fresh flowers, and decorative fire screens. To enhance its coziness factor further, consider adding plush seating like a comfortable armchair or sofa nearby where you can curl up with your favorite book on chilly evenings.

Whether traditional or modern in design, a well-decorated fireplace will always be an eye-catching focal point in any European-style home decor scheme.

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