A Close Look at Marie-Antoinette’s “Salon de Compagnie”, The Timeless Representation of The 18th Century French Neo-classical Movement

I remember the first time I visited the Petit Trianon with my sister in December 2014. That visit was a true revelation as this is a place that is not only stunningly beautiful but is also a classic representation of the timeless French elegance in interior design. Moreover, and unlike usual historic monuments, this building and its interiors feel contemporary, so contemporary that we actually (very humbly!!) imagined ourselves living there!

“Le Petit Trianon” Palace (situated within Versailles estate) reflects progressive trends merged with ancient Roman and Greek influences and is considered as the best expression of rococo moving towards Neo-classicism. The French Neo-classical style is particularly interesting as it marks the emergence of elegant simplicity with refrained ornamentation.

The style board below is an inspiration drawn from the “salon de compagnie”, the largest room inside “Le Petit Trianon” palace, as redecorated by Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France (1774-1791), a fashion and luxury-loving queen who introduced the Louis XVI Neo-classical style to court (Marie-Antoinette used the “salon de compagnie” as a music room where she hosted gatherings with her intimate friends). Indeed, the wealthy nobles looked to Versailles for the latest trends and finest decorations to furnish their chateaux in a similar style. Until this day, her style is still an inspiration for many contemporary designers.  

Neo-classical color schemes in France mostly included cream, gray, pale blue, yellow, green with black, red and the use of gold as accents. Symmetric ceiling and mural ornaments created a timeless and luxurious atmosphere.

While Marie-Antoinette was redecorating the “salon de compagnie”, one can only imagine that she aimed at showcasing her love for feminine floral decorations, elegant wall coverings and luxurious accessories, thus creating an intimate setting for hosting and entertaining exclusive guests, away from the public life of Versailles. 

The color scheme is split-complementary (a variation to the complementary color scheme).  The base color is soft green pastel, a cool color. The strong and vibrant visual contrast is created with the addition of 2 opposite warm colors on the color wheel: adjacent dark pink and walnut brown.

The soft green pastel wall panels, decorated with elegant carved wooden ornamentation, provide a clean canvas and create an airy atmosphere that allows furniture and accessories to stand out.

The walnut furniture elements (guéridon tables, piano, chests with porcelain details) along with the well-known Versailles patterned floors create a dramatic contrast to the walls. The feminine touch is added with dark pink sofas, chairs, and curtains, garnished with cream-colored floral patterns. And this elegantly brightens up the room. 

The whole room is illuminated (literally and figuratively) with accessories such as bronze lanterns, chandeliers and large mirrors: a sign of opulence and luxury.

I hope you liked this post! Please follow for more.

Inass M Jenner.

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