“French country decor pleases all your senses with its warm feeling!”
One of the styles that has never truly gone away is french country decor. Its charming look is inspired from french countryside living where relaxing, good company and good food are at home.
Palette used in french decor is inspired from the sunny fields of Provence; so you will find a blend of sunny yellows and blues, rusty shades of red and hues of green.
Natural materials are at home in a French decor, doesn’t matter if it’s about walls, ceilings, floors,rugs or window treatments.
It is recognized that french decor place you in a tranquil environment, surrounded by natural things with a hidden depth in its soft tones.
Achieve A French Country Look
Elements of Design in French Country Decor
- Wall Treatments: walls might have wall paneling, whether is polished or painted. It gives the room emphasis in a subtle way. As a decorative painting technique, they can be plastered up to ceiling or just half way with a combination of original stonework.
- Most popular wall hangings used in a country decor are samplers, needlepoint pictures, quilts, as well as objects, such as handcrafted boxes – many created by people with no artistic training.
- French colors are soothe, and bring character and depth. they alter in different lights, but always complement and enhance the other elements of the room. Very much used for the walls is white. But their white is not brilliant and cold, but is instead a soft white with creamy shades or a touch of grey. Often you will see different shades of white used in the same room. Grey as a color will have a pink or peach base, giving it a warm feeling.
Blues and greens – when used – are pale, soft and subtle. Yellow, pink and peach are used also but they are not strong at all.
- Interiors in a French decor are dominated(in a subtle way) by fabrics, being a vital part of the look. In French countryside everybody loves vintage textiles.
“Boutis”, the traditional quilts, are widely collected and used around the house. Originally designed to be used on beds, nowadays they are used as dress cloth on tables, or as throws and covers for sofas and chairs.Antique textiles are collected and used in French country decor. So old linen sheets are much prized, too. Still used as sheets, they can serve as bed covers or lightweight curtains.
- It is interesting and fascinating to see how designs first created in the 18th or 19th century are still appreciated and very popular in modern times. Designs can range from small, precise geometrical patterns to all kinds of coloured stripes with different widths.
A traditional print is “toile de Jouy” with designs ranging from pastoral scenes, chinoiserie fantasies to military triumphs. At a frist glance they look simple with a monochromatic combination, but at a closer look the colors are subtle, with various tones.
Another fabric used in traditional french country decor is “Indienne”. The indiennes were produced the first time in 18th century, anf their motifs are basedon tardtional Indian and eastern design, and without doubt they remain very popular nowadays.
- Window treatments are not sophisticated, but rather simple and plain. White or pale coloured curtains can be tied back with narrow lengths of printed toiles, hooked with rings. They don’t have any lining since external shutters deflect the light.
In addition, I suggest you check out this European designer’s pages about French Country Decorating, with lots of authentic photos and information about French country living and design.
Accents for French Country Decor
- Main characteristics of furniture are: charm, unique design and functionality. Majority of furniture is either painted or polished, adorned with carvings or paintings.
The most recognizable piece of furniture in French decor is the armoire. It can be used in any room, to store linen or cloth, in the kitchen for food or kitchenware.
Another piece used a lot is the “buffet a deux corps” – a cupboard combined with an upper tier made of open shelves, or another smaller cupboard – often whitewashed, painted or color-stained – again with use in multiple rooms.
- The ceiling most of the time is accented with wood beams, or timber, with the natural of the wood left untouched.
- Lighting: in most french decors, there are sconces on the walls. Elaborated, they are draped with necklaces of crystal or glass. Chandeliers are heavily used as well; made of metal they are adorned with looped garlands and drops.
- Metal – wrought iron – is used for window grilles, stair rails or banisters, or door hardware
- Collection displays are made of ceramics, metal glassware, all with a patina of age and with rather robust than delicate shapes.
Objects are displayed for their aesthetic qualities, as well as for their accessibility. Paintings are not grouped, you would rather find one big painting or maybe two smaller ones, arranged symetrically on both sides of a mirror.
- Oversized mirrors are used in every room, with their gilded frames and different shapes.
- Flooring is diverse, but again with an accent on natural materials.
Terra-cotta floor tiles – produced first by Romans – is a “must” in a French country decor. Glazed or unglazed, they have a sense of warmth and comforting feeling. There are some traditional shapes used; small and large squares hexagons and even pavement-style rectangles.
Brick tiles are also prized. Being most of the time handmade, they are often irregular, but with a distintive tone and charm.
Stone is another option for flooring. Hand-cut and finished with a “well-worn” look, they are painted giving a sense of comfort.
And let’s not forget the wood floors! Their look is natural, rarely with a strong color; again the accent is put on natural look.The finish for wood include stained, sealed, polished, waxed or painted. Exotic type of wood is not very much used, but abundant is the wood found in the countryside of France, such as oak, walnut or cherry.
- Floor coverings are rarely used, and they are sisal or another natural covering; definitely in this decor, a wall-to-wall carpet it just wouldn’t fit!