Provence, France. In the entire world, there is no place quite like it. With its rolling hills, pristine mountain vistas, hidden medieval villages, fragrant fields of thyme and lavender, rustic wineries, and beautiful sun-drenched pastoral life, it is truly a unique destination. Seemingly forgotten by time, this small town in the south of France transports you back to a simpler time and place. Now, imagine bringing all the harmony and beauty of Provence into your life through design. This is the ultimate guide to all things French Country style interior design and how to achieve a southern France escape in your very own home.
What is French Country Style Interior Design?
French Country style encompasses a number of design elements, so there is not one clear cut definition of what French Country style really is. However, the overall feeling should be one of rustic elegance, a stylish but comfortable atmosphere that welcomes you with its bright, but soothing color palette, rich fabrics, and “homey,” loved furnishings. A French Country space should give the impression that it has been in existence for some time and has been enjoyed by generations. The look fits well in both country homes or in more stately chateaux.
What Color Palette is Most Often Associated with French Country Style Interior Design?
French Country style interior design does not have one definite color palette. In fact, you can utilize almost the entire spectrum of the color wheel and still pull off an amazing style in your home. However, keep in mind that French Country is all about nature, so colors should mimic those you would find outdoors. Some good examples are sunflower yellow, cobalt blue, fiery red, burnt orange, hunter green or even colors that enter the pastel range will work well in the space. The brighter the colors, the more energy and life you will infuse into the space. The more subdued the colors, the calmer and more soothing the space will feel. Select colors that are appropriate for the look you are trying to achieve in your room. Using black and grey as “anchor” colors in the room is a very successful technique. These darker (and bolder) colors provide a grounding effect when using a brighter palette – with hues of red, orange, blue, green, etcetera intermingling in the space – so that the plethora of color choices do not overwhelm one another.
What Type of Furnishings is Most Often Associated with French Country Style Interior Design?
A good rule of thumb when choosing furnishings for a French Country room: use nature and think rustic. What type of materials would you find in nature? Wood, stone, metal, and the like. These elements should, therefore, be incorporated into the room to pull off a successful French Country style. Distressed woods work best, as they give off a rustic flair. Light and dark stains both have their place in this type of décor, so choose whichever furniture finish that you like best – either will work well. Keep in mind that lighter finishes will give an airier, brighter appearance to the room while darker finishes will add a more masculine, rugged, and defined element. Hand painted woods is often used, as well, and add a “folksy” feel. Wicker and rattan (such as that used in the seats of ladder-back dining chairs) are also a nice “natural” touch to the room. Stone can be incorporated in a number of ways, either as an accent or for a bolder look; a stone fireplace will do the trick. Metal is excellent when used as an accessory or accent to wooden furniture pieces.
What Type of Accessories and Accents Work Well in French Country Style Interior Design?
Again, use nature as your inspiration for accessorizing your French Country escape. The most common types of accessories used in this type of décor are pottery (brings in a natural, stone element), copper pots (repurpose as a flower vase for a different look), fresh flowers (hand-cut or loosely arranged, almost as though they were growing wild indoors), exposed brick and stone (in fireplaces or as an accent wall in a kitchen), wicker baskets, colorful ceramics (tiled floors or kitchen backsplashes), Chinoiserie (French pottery with an Asian inspiration), oil paintings of pastoral life, and metal light fixtures (scones, chandeliers, candleholders, and the like), exposed ceiling beams (offer a soaring, open-air feeling to the room), Venetian plaster texturing on walls,
To add an extra French Country style interior design to your home, exposed ceiling beams offer a rustic and romantic feeling. It also opens up the space and makes it “airy” as though you were outdoors. Rustic flooring in distressed wood or clay tiles adds a nice touch. Perhaps more than fabrics and accessories combined, architectural elements can bring wonderful dimension into your French Country room: arched doorways, Venetian plaster walls, brick, stone, and other “nature-derived” materials. Above all, make the room feel effortless, comfortable, lived in, and welcoming – and have fun doing it.
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23 Picture Gallery: French Country Style Interior Design
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