Parlez-vous Français? Don’t worry – you don’t need to speak French in order to enjoy the bright, comfortable and classic style of French Country in your home. From weathered walls to wide wooden tables, it is not hard to achieve the French Country look using the following guidelines.
Well loved look
French Country style is all about well-used, worn-in, imperfect but beautiful architectural elements, furniture and accessories. Forget sleek lines, fine china, and black, white and gray color combos. Instead, fill your house with chunky wood tables, dozens of sweet-smelling flowers, and brightly patterned couches, curtains and pillows styled after the look of Provence, the southeast region in France that borders the Mediterranean Sea.
When choosing a French Country style home, think along the lines of cracked wood beams, curved panels, hand-carved decorations and raw material flooring and walls, like stone or exposed brick. Raw or distressed wood also can be used to cultivate a French Country atmosphere, as do uneven plaster walls.
Don’t worry about that spider crack in the paint in your kitchen, or the slight discoloration of the paint in your bedroom or living room. In French Country “speak”, these imperfections simply add character.
French Country features
Other French Country architectural features include shutters for your windows, narrow, deeply cut window sills, and striped fabric awnings over windows to afford the home dweller extra protect from the heat.
But what if you just want to add some French Country flair to the home you already have, without changing its walls, floors and windows? No sweat. Rustic furniture is a key element to the French Country style. Think oversized rectangle or round wooden dining room tables, with a dull waxed or natural finish.
Chairs and occasional tables of the French Country style can be curved or boast carved designs in the woodwork. Dining room chairs can have a ladderback style or vertical slats. Also, large armoires are well-suited to the French Country look, giving the owner a nice cool place to store dishes, linens, or even clothing.
Finally, achieve that French Country style with the perfect fabrics and accessories that have that certain je ne sais quoi. Use toile material, a gauzy linen or cotton, in white, cream or yellow with bright contrasting colors. Choose themes such as monkeys, Chinese patterns, and eighteenth century courting scenes, all of which are predominant in French Country design.
Large, thickly woven baskets, chunky clay or old metal pitchers, Chinoiserie pottery, and iron garden shelving units all fit in nicely with the French Country look. So do ceramic plates, tiles, tablecloths and curtains sporting motifs of roosters, sunflowers, beetles or lavender. Save money by hunting for these and other accessories at flea markets and antique stores.
The final touch needed to makeover your home in the style of French Country is the addition of flowers. Fresh sunflowers, lavender, and geraniums especially all say “French Country”, and the more the better!
Put flowers in old pitchers or copper pots, in window boxes, and glass vases. Use a variety of colors, and make sure the arrangements don’t look too tame or stylized. Natural grasses are another way to bring the French Country look into you home.
Whether you decide to go full out, adding wood beams and stone flooring to your home, or whether you just add a nice chunky wooden dining room table, carved chairs, or a roomy armoire to your existing furniture, the French Country look can be achieved by anyone who wants to bring a little of the Provence countryside into his or her everyday life.