An artful balance of elegance and old-world flair, combined with a touch of nature, is what makes French country design so popular. Soft and refined, this style is sophisticated in an unassuming way, always proving to be warm, inviting and fresh.
French country has a warm and casual feel that will fit beautifully into any home whose owner loves the style. By incorporating some or all of these elements, you’re bound to have a wonderful French Country interior.
Elements of French Country Design Style
The casual elegance, splashes of color, and emphasis on natural or rustic-looking accessories are just a few things that make French country decor so widely popular. The good news is that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to attain French country style in your home.
Here are some elements that contribute to the beauty of French country design:
- Wood tones
- Multiple fabric patterns
- Colors derived from nature
- Textural surfaces
- Hand-painted and/or gently weathered furniture
- Statement lighting
- Fresh flowers and folk art
The interior of a French country home reflects the look and feel of southern France, which is beautiful, casual and relaxing. Furnishings have a rustic elegance, giving the space character and charm. Windows are adorned with ceiling-to-floor drapes or Roman shades, sometimes accented with fringe or lace. Lighting is decorative, yet functional mainly chandeliers or hanging lanterns. Wood tones are predominant within the space, which contributes to its warmth.
Textures are abundant and celebrated. Many accents have a purpose (i.e. wall-hung plates, baskets, candelabras, jugs, etc, that can actually be put to use), but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a touch of whimsy. Folk art is quite popular within a French country home, but the most popular accent might have to be the colorful rooster. Finally, one of the finishing touches you’re sure to find are flowers specifically ones native to the location where the design style originated.
Furnishings within a French country home are simple, yet stylish; elegant, yet functional. While French country pieces are predominantly unadorned, it isn’t uncommon to see items such as fruit, roosters or floral patterns to be hand-painted on them. When it comes to wood, oak or pine are often primary choices. Iron, metal, and leather are compatible choices for finishing off the look.
In the dining area, opt for a large table—rectangular or round—with a dull waxed or low-sheen finish. Finish it off with some occasional chairs that have curved and carved details, such as ladder back style or chairs that have vertical slats and rush seating.
Another option, and one that makes French country style complete, is an armoire. Not only are armoires a beautifully integral piece to this design style, but they are also an extremely functional way to store pots and pans, clothing, bed or bath linens, or tableware.
Colors in a French country home will often reflect nature. Subdued hues of blue, red, green and yellow are used frequently, as well as other neutral tones (and the occasional lavender accent). It’s these warm, neutral colors that create the relaxed and casual environment French country design style is known for.
Darker hues such as black and gray are primarily used to punctuate those common French country colors and define accessory pieces. Furniture that displays a rusted metal look and lighting fixtures give warm color and wonderful lines to the interior as well.
On the walls, think pale in color with ceilings that contrast largely in part to features like dark, rough wood beams. Provencal printed fabrics in various colors are often used to set off against light-toned natural seating.
Textures and Patterns
French country design relies heavily on visual depth. Texture is introduced into the space through surfaces like stone, stucco, plaster, metal, woven rugs, fluffy trim, and distressed wood. In regards to fabric, several patterns are used. Popular ones include stripes, gingham, plaid, checks, and florals.
An easy way to elevate your French country style is to focus heavily on fabrics, specifically toile. Toile is a traditional design for French Country fabrics. Typically, you’ll find it with a white, cream, or yellow background made of linen or cotton, topped off with large motifs in a single contrasting color, such as black, red, green, or blue. Toile themes include farm animals, monkeys, Chinese patterns, bucolic country scenes, or courting scenes of the 18th century.
Looking to add some French country class to your home? Come visit us at one of our retail locations or online! We have great deals on discount designer fabrics, which will make it easy to find something you love for your home.