Though French country style has fallen out of popularity in recent years; being replaced by ultra-modern designs featuring abstract lines and bright pops of color, there’s something interesting about reconsidering the design style for the here and now. And since we think it’s time French country decor made a comeback due to its charming feel and warm spirit, there’s something to be said about going against the norm and opting for French country style in your home. From the more traditional feel to a more modern take on French country decor, there’s something to suit every home with easy style that’s timeless while radiating lived-in luxury.
As part of our design style series and to get you inspired for a romantic home refresh that evokes everyday provincial glamor, we turned to Décor Aid interior designers to help us craft the ultimate French country decor guide, which comprehensively breaks down everything you need to know about creating the perfect French country look with ease.
Color schemes for this style radiate warmth and subtlety. You want the palette to be the complete opposite of the ultra-modern, minimal hues of late. Choose warm neutrals with a relaxed and welcoming feel about them as this look is all about being cozy and comfortable with a refined bent.
When you walk into French country homes, you’ll be sure to notice that you instantly feel at ease in your surroundings and this just maybe, the most enduring characteristic of French country interior design, and why it feels so right for right now.
Dominant shades should be neutral and do invite an element of history into your home – think antiqued white finishes and time-worn patinas as well as fresh powdery pastels, varying shades of greige, and muted greens like a muddy olive and pale sage.
Furniture By Room
An essential element of French country style furniture is languid, relaxed lines and silhouettes boasting natural materials and a lived-in feel. Well-loved furnishings with a distressed finish look perfect for this style of decor as they needn’t be ostentatious, and should instead be simple and rustic, with hints of the ornate.
Do introduce wood and natural furnishings and contrast neutral-toned walls with darker pieces of furniture for a moody juxtaposition and added visual interest. To get you started, here’s a break down of everything you need to know from room to room:
For an authentic French country bathroom, bring in the sweeping lines of a vintage-inspired claw foot bathtub placed atop a neutral tiled or stone floor. Also introduce elegance and character with handsome cast iron accessories juxtaposed with a natural woven bath mat and fresh, bright white towels.
No French country bedroom is complete without a dramatic four-poster bed – if you can get one and its scale works in your favor. Opt for dark wood and an ornate nightstand to bring everything together.
And if your bedroom boasts wood flooring, create contrasts with simple yet refreshing cream or white bed linens and break it up with natural wool, linen or cotton rugs in neutral tones for added texture, luxury, and softness.
The main focal point of a French country dining room, like with any style, is often a large, dramatic dining table. For a more casual approach to French country style, select a table with a low-sheen finish to emphasize the design styles relaxed and quirky spirit.
For a more luxurious take, opt for a high sheen finish in a dark wood and pair it with curved occasional chairs with ornate carved and gilt detailing fit with an unexpected, rugged upholstery.
French country kitchen decor places pride in the process of cooking by prominently featuring cookware and dining ware as a main focal point. If you have space, consider a beautiful glass armoire to display plates and dishes as decorative elements.
Go for bright cream tones, copper accents, and jewel-toned accessories for a rich, celebratory vibe.
A French country living room should always boast plays on upholstery, a juxtaposition of furnishings, and offbeat extras – albeit all comfortable and plush. The room above is a perfect case in point as every piece looks as if its chalk full of intriguing personal history which altogether make for an utterly chic, yet simple common room we’d never want to leave.
For an alternative take on modern French country decor, go for a mix of tonal neutral hues and micro-patterns for a warm minimal direction that you can easily change. And since toile curtains are often a requisite in French country decor and look stunning against a neutral backdrop, they make for a considerable option.
French country style homes often feature natural materials, from wooden floors and exposed wooden beams to woven rattan café seating and cotton rugs. Embrace common natural materials to create a varied, nuanced take on French country interior design that will be exclusive to you.
Natural stone and marble surfaces and floors also look stunning in French country kitchens in light tones, as do brass accents and reflective finishes.
As French country decor elicits the traditional and familiar, skip on having too many pieces that look fresh out of a showroom – they should look as if they’ve lived well and have been loved over time in idyllic French country homes.
Antique furniture works well for this, or take a modern French country style approach with a relaxed yet polished shabby chic feel where distressed finishes and natural stains also work well.
Toile (which is most often a floral-patterned fabric) is great for soft furnishings and also makes for a stunning fabrication for curtains, sofas, cushions, and armchairs. If your French country decor lends itself to something a little more luxurious, upholster a sofa and have cushion covers made in a matching toile fabric. If that would be too much for your approach to a French country living room, save it for pillows and throws.
French country homes wouldn’t be complete without traditional ornate touches finishing off a room. Whether that’s a chandelier or an intricately carved mirror brought into your French country bedroom, those gilt, polished touches make all the difference. Iron decorative items also add visual drama to French country decor and baskets and colorful ceramics will make your home feel more personalized and playful.
Moody, dark, and colorful paintings are sure to add depth, a sense of history, and even whimsy in a well-considered French country living room and scenic prints look great in a French country bedroom, study, and hallway. To emphasize the nation’s love for provincial life, bring in topiaries and vases of bulbous, uncut flowers – which French country homes are never without.
French Country Decorating Ideas On A Budget
Since everyone isn’t gifted with a bottomless budget for their lofty take on French country decor, you’ll be pleased to know that French country homes needn’t break the bank with these design-savvy tips:
Make Shabby Chic Your Own
Have furnishings in need of an update? Go ahead and create your own shabby chic finish in no time with paint and sandpaper. We suggest you test your piece where it can’t be seen at first, but once you get hang of it, there’s nothing which can’t be turned from drab to antiqued.
Do also replace handles and knobs so they look more authentic while easily and cheaply refreshing what you already own.
Scour Yard Sales + Online Marketplaces
Secondhand outlets are perfect for picking up serious bargains that boast historical provenance and design. From furniture to light fittings, soft furnishings and everything in between, there’s a refreshingly perfect new addition waiting for you to bring it into your home at a reasonable price.
And since we’re talking French country decor ideas, there’s no need to worry about pristine finds and scores that are in like-new condition; the lived in and well-worn look is where the charm lies here – which will, in turn, give you much more freedom to be playful and expressive.
Disguise What You Have
You might not be able to afford a classic oak table for a French country style kitchen or dining room, or an ornate canopy bed for your bedroom – so consider covering existing furnishings with large swathes of cream linen and poplin fabrics for a charming approach to upping the ante with considered style, until you can afford what you originally had in mind.
Save On Wall Coverings
Save on resources for wall coverings by utilizing your walls natural beauty and patina to your advantage. Rough, un-painted plastered walls easily evoke the relaxed spirit of French country style and make for a cozy and romantic setting.
By keeping your walls natural, and taking in the warm tones you get with aged plaster, your home will look incredibly authentic and idyllic to boot.
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