Fleur-de-lis is French for “flower of the lily” and it is a stylized symbol of a pressed three-petal iris bloom. The fleur-de-lis has been used for centuries in artwork and decorative items, from the coat of arms of French kings to the official symbol of the City of New Orleans. The fleur-de-lis’ repeated use as a sovereign symbol displayed on flags and coats of arms has influenced its obvious association with elegance and royalty and has established a correlation with perfection, light and life. The elegance of the fleur-de-lis symbol makes it perfectly suited for adding an element of distinction and sophistication.
On the Walls
A living room with French Quarter refinement is the perfect setting for fleur-de-lis displayed on the walls in stencils, wood relief plaques, wallpaper or wallpaper borders. A color palette of cream and taupe with gold accents and punches of jewel-like tones like sapphire, emerald and amethyst may be perfectly accented with fleur-de-lis symbols scattered around the room in a border below ornate crown molding or randomly stenciled on the walls in various sizes with gold metallic paint.
A wonderful application of fleur-de-lis is to repeat the symbol from the walls to other furnishings in the room. In this setting, provincial furniture, opulent fabrics and plantation shuttered windows flanked by brocade draperies extend the French spirit further into the room.
Echo the fleur-de-lis in fabrics and in other accents throughout the room:
• Ceramic tiles: Use ceramic tiles painted with fleur-de-lis designs to surround the fireplace or in floor tile set on a diagonal that starts in the foyer and unfolds into the living room. Or use framed fleur-de-lis tiles as wall art or simply propped up on a mantle in front of an elaborate gilded mirror.
• Fabrics: Repeat the fleur-de-lis in accents such as throw pillows, fabrics or window treatments. Elegant tone-on-tone damask fabrics with embossed fleur-de-lis underscore the theme with a subtle touch. Or add a gilded touch with fleur-de-lis stenciled in gold on wine colored pillows trimmed with braided cording.
• Finials, mirrors and frames: Choose curtain rods with fleur-de-lis accents to hold graceful draperies made of velvet, brocade or damask fabrics. Free standing fleur-de-lis finials can be arranged atop a mantle, shelf, tabletop, or bookcase. Photographs, paintings and lithographs with a European, French or New Orleans theme can be framed with scrolled fleur-de-lis picture frames in gold leaf, silver, pewter or wrought iron. A wrought iron or metal fireplace screen is another graceful accent that can include the fleur-de-lis in a design reminiscent of a French garden gate.
• Wall art: Add the distinctive fleur-de-lis to a bare wall with wall grilles and wall plaques made from classic wrought iron. Fleur-de-lis of various sizes may be made of wood, resin, metal or ceramic and can be combined artistically to create a stunning display by intermingling smaller pieces with larger fleur-de-lis. Or, your room includes a wall ledge or built-in bookshelves, arrange fleur-de-lis wall art along the ledge at pleasing intervals alone or with other items.
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