French country décor evokes the charm and romance of rural France. This delightful style combines rustic elements with elegant finishes to create a cozy yet sophisticated look. If you love all things French and want to bring a touch of Provence into your home, embracing the French country style may be perfect for you. Here’s everything you need to know to create the beautiful look and feel of French country style in your own home.
Overview of French Country Style
French country style, also known as Provençal style, draws inspiration from the romantic French provinces. It captures the essence of rural French farmhouses with their worn stone floors, whitewashed walls, and beamed ceilings. The overall look is relaxed and welcoming, with a focus on imperfections and simple furnishings.
Some key characteristics of French country décor include:
- Rustic and distressed woods with worn, chalky finishes
- Floral fabrics like toile de Jouy in soft colors
- Wrought iron, brass, and copper accents
- Pottery, ceramics, and stoneware for accessories
- Textured and printed fabrics like burlap and ticking strips
- Vintage or antique furnishings like armoires and sideboards
- Soft, muted color palette inspired by nature – blues, greens, lavenders
- Aged and weathered patinas on walls, floors, and furnishings
- Plenty of natural light and airflow
The French country look balances rugged, well-worn elements with feminine and ornate details to create a casual elegance. It’s meant to look collected over time, with each piece telling its own unique story. This guides the overall feel – relaxed, organic, and steeped in history.
Elements of French Country Style
To help you recreate the classic French country look at home, here are some of the essential elements to focus on:
Rustic Wood Pieces: Distressed wood finishes, natural woods, and painted pieces capture the well-loved charm. Armoires, hutches, farmhouse tables, and distressed kitchen islands are characteristic.
Iron Beds: Iron bed frames with woven headboards or white linens create a romantic feel. Canopy beds draped in sheer fabric add drama.
Benches and Daybeds: Upholstered benches and daybeds provide cozy seating. Look for carved wood frames and off-white linen.
Mismatched Chairs: A mix of wooden ladder-back, slipper, and Louis XIV chairs around a dining table feels collected and charming. Add cushions in floral prints.
Floral and Toile: Small-scale floral prints and classic toile de Jouy patterns in soft blues, pinks, and greens epitomize the style. Use on upholstery or curtains.
Burlap and Ticking: The organic textures of burlap and ticking stripes complement the rural style. Ideal for pillows, poufs, and table linens.
Linen: Lightweight linen upholstery in natural hues and linen bedding wrinkle easily to enhance the relaxed vibe.
Lace and Embroidery: Delicate lace and embroidered pillows, curtains, or lampshades contrast nicely with the worn finishes.
Ironstone Dishware: Classic French ironstone dishware, often blue and white, suits the look. Display collections on open shelves.
Fresh Florals: Dried lavender bundles, hydrangeas, roses, and wildflowers in soft colors epitomize French country charm. Display in vases and botanical prints.
Rustic Pottery: Handthrown pottery, ceramics, and clay vases add organic texture. Look for colors drawn from nature.
Woven Baskets: Keep kitchen staples and firewood in woven baskets and hampers. Natural fibers like jute or seagrass complement the look.
Candlesticks: Iron, brass, and rustic ceramic candlesticks bring flickering ambiance. Groupings on side tables or mantels are inviting.
- Whitewashed walls
- Beamed ceilings
- Worn wood or terra cotta tile floors
- Carved wood mantels over brick fireplaces
- Rustic chandeliers and sconces
- Linen curtains in natural shades
- Aged mirrors and oil paintings for artwork
Tips for French Country Style
Here are some tips for bringing French country charm into your home:
- For furniture, opt for simplicity and imperfection. Painted finishes, slightly distressed woods, and carved details are ideal.
- Incorporate floral patterns and soft colors inspired by nature – sky blues, lavender, sage green, rosy pinks. Avoid bright colors.
- Mix unifyed furniture styles from different periods – French Provincial, Louis XIV, vintage farmhouse. The collected look is key.
- Display collections of books, framed photos, and rustic ceramics together. Focus on what tells a story.
- Add texture with woven baskets, linen upholstery, embroidered pillows, reclaimed woods, and iron accents.
- Use vintage and antique finds like oil paintings, chandeliers, armoires, and architectural salvage.
- Incorporate lighting fixtures that feel French inspired – iron chandeliers, sconces, crystal table lamps.
- Keep walls, ceilings, windows, and floors light to enhance the airy vibe. Sheer curtains allow natural light.
- Place fresh or dried floral arrangements to accentuate the French country charm.
- Include perfumed candles, fresh bread, flowering plants, and other sensory elements.
Rooms That Embody French Country
Certain rooms lend themselves especially well to French country décor. Here are some prime spaces to focus your efforts:
Distressed kitchen islands, French ceramic sinks, and rustic open shelving suit French country kitchens. Include bistro seating, herb gardens, and vintage-inspired appliances to complete the look.
Floral upholstered sofas, whitewashed brick fireplaces, worn wood coffee tables, and antique armoires capture the essence. Sheer curtains, woven rugs, and bright artwork keep it fresh.
Farmhouse tables, woven seat dining chairs, wall sconces, and china cabinets full of ironstone wares are fitting. Dried flower arrangements in ironstone pitchers make great centerpieces.
Iron canopy beds with linen, painted armoires, white wood nightstands, and vintage mirrors create a romantic retreat. Layer in soft pillows and quilts.
Clawfoot tubs, antique vanities, floral curtains, and vintage artwork give bathrooms relaxed French charm. Display glass bottles, candles, and fresh flowers.
Bringing French Country Character into Any Space
Even if you can’t do a full French country décor theme, you can still introduce French country elements into any room:
- Kitchen: Display blue and white ceramic pieces, add a brick backsplash, use vintage-inspired appliances
- Bathroom: Include a clawfoot tub, arched mirror, floral shower curtain, or antique vanity
- Bedroom: Use a quilted bedspread, whitewashed nightstands, a slipper chair, and layered pillows
- Living room: Incorporate a carved wood coffee table, linen sofa, and rustic storage like a hutch or sideboard
- Dining room: Use a farmhouse table, woven seat chairs, a chandelier, and ceramics for tableware
- Office: Display collections of books, blue and white ceramics, a slipper chair, and fresh flowers
Even small details like lace curtains, woven baskets, or ceramic birds can inject some French country spirit anywhere.
FAQ About French Country Style
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about achieving the French country look:
What colors should I use?
Stick to soft, muted colors like sky blue, pale pink, lavender, sage green, cream, and linen white. Avoid bright, saturated colors.
What fabrics work best?
Floral prints, linen, burlap, ticking stripes, lace, and natural cottons in soft colors suit the relaxed style.
How should I finish my wood furniture?
Painted, distressed, or whitewashed finishes add the characteristic charm. Avoid anything too glossy or modern.
What flooring is ideal for this look?
Terra cotta tiles, reclaimed wood planks, stone, and brick all complement the vintage farmhouse vibe.
Should my walls be plain or patterned?
Plain walls in soft whites, greys, and blues keep the focus on the furnishings. Save patterns for pillows and bedding.
What if I don’t like floral prints?
Try ticking stripes, burlap, jute, or muted plaids instead. You can also incorporate embroidery rather than florals.
How do I add French country to a small space?
Use a vintage mirror, slipper chair, ceramic garden stools, ironstone vases, and artwork with soft color palettes.
Achieving Timeless French Country Appeal
French country décor is a timeless choice that brings relaxed rural charm to any home. Distressed woods, floral prints, whitewashed walls, and collections of antiques create a welcoming haven with European flair. Balance rough and elegant elements to capture the essence of provincial France. With its romatic allure and vintage spirit, the French country look remains always in style.
So Your Style Is: French Country? You’re sure to adore this charming style that celebrates all things handmade, vintage, and steeped in history. Embrace imperfection and curate a home that looks collected over time to achieve the relaxed rural elegance of authentic French country décor.