Just as its names suggests, French country style
originates in the rural hills of provincial France. Picture sun drenched, lavender filled countryside and you have the idyllic setting for an interior style that is classic, chic and oh so trendy right now! It is a simple and sincere yet effortlessly elegant interior aesthetic that is bound to satisfy the soul as much as the eye. This marriage of old world sensibility paired with an edge of sophistication is a decorating style that keeps perennially fresh and is one interior trend that it seems we just cannot get enough off! With its warm and casual feel, it is a style that can fit beautifully into your home too and we are here to give you all the details on just how to do it.
WHAT IS IT?
The rustic French country style is an enviable blend of elegance and humble simplicity. It's given credibility by its old world aesthetic, strengthened by the stability and presence of rustic finishes and timeless appeal from its refined curves and meticulous attention to detail. Because of its inherent contrasts and its warmth and casual elegance, French country style works as well in an ancient chateau as in a country cottage or elegant modern home built today. Not many people can resist a style that is so rich with ornate details but that is as un- intimidating as a Scandinavian inspired interior.
When decorating a home in a traditional rustic French country style it is best to stay on the warm side of the colour spectrum and stick to colours that have a medium to low-intensity impact. Think soft yellows, warm pinks, creams, baby blues. You can, however, borrow from all elements of the colour wheel for a more modern take on this style by using tones such as sunny yellow, soft gold, fiery red, bright grass green, dark hunter green, cobalt blue and softer ocean inspired hues. Keep accessory pieces as accents in a focal palette of black, white, grey and rust.
An important element in rustic French country style decorating is the abundant use of natural materials. Envision roughly plastered walls, hefty exposed wooden beams in ceilings and walls, delicate carved wooden details and natural stone fireplaces. Rustic French style flooring is predominantly constructed from stone, clay, brick or old worn wooden floorboards; the focus of these details is in the old and charming! Typical French country interiors are places with contrasting texture and colour, a magic world where pale plaster ceilings are punctuated by rough, dark wooden beams and dreamy, colourful provincial fabrics are set against neutral light toned seating, not only are these easy to replicate details in the homes of today but your interiors will forever be thanking you for it!
New or reproduction rustic French style furniture
is a must have to achieve rustic French country aesthetic perfection. Furniture should have plenty of graceful and simple curves, raw wood and hand carved detailing. The general rule of decorating in this style is that no French country style home should be without an armoire or three, whether it be in the kitchen to place your pots and pans in, the bedroom to store folded linen or in the dining room to be filled with collected tablewares in beautifully chic blue tones, the armoire is the non-negotiable of this interior style! When looking for furniture to suit this decorating aesthetic, distressed or refined rustic inspired furniture is a perfect fit for this look. Dining tables are a feature furniture item in the French style interior and should always be large, simply shaped (either round or rectangular is fine) and matte or of a low waxed finish, whilst accompanying chairs should carry the stylistic curves and carvings that are traditional to this style. Wrought iron and rusted metal accents are often also incorporated into furniture within this style to provide those rustic, natural elements. When choosing textiles for this interior look, mix and match is a must. The beautiful colours of the French countryside decorate many of the toile fabrics traditionally associated with the rustic French style. Linen and natural cotton also play a large textural part in creating those rustic feels. Cotton or wool rugs and throws are a great way to bring some warmth to this look whether used the floor or draped casually over the arm of a toile covered chaise lounge. Think provincial prints in lavenders, greens and bright oranges paired back with white or cream linen and there you have french country perfection!
The decor pieces used within French country style decorating are key to achieving a cohesive look. Staying true to its country heritage fill kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms with an abundance of hand woven baskets, colourful ceramics, Chinoiserie pottery and vintage inspired, old, rich and colourful paintings of bucolic country scenes. In every proper french style home you will always find a glimmer of gold, be it a piece of furniture or a mirror frame, make sure that you pay homage and add a little glint of gold into your rustic French style interior, added bonus points if it chips and weathers over time to exude all that is ever so chic about this interior style. One accessory to pay close attention to in this style is the bath, it should be large, rustic, decadent and should always if possible have clawed feet; pair your perfect bath back with a wrought iron towel rack and some sumptuous white towels and you will be in provincial French heaven. C’est bon!
FIVE WAYS TO GET THE LOOK IN YOUR HOME:
1. GOOD BONES- French country decorating highlights the naturally imperfect bones of your home be it crumbling plaster walls, exposed beams or brick, or shabby wooden floor. Think long and hard before you fix up any of these perfectly rustic french imperfections!
2. ADD PASTEL- When you're doing French country style you will want to use as many pastel tones as you can get your hands on. Whether you include it in paint work, furniture textiles or decor pieces, add some pastel into your French country style for a subtle tribute to Marie Antoinette herself.
3. LET IT SPARKLE- A defining piece of any Rustic French country style interior is the chandelier, and it's not just for the living room. Think bathroom, bedroom, dining room and any other place you may want to add a little sparkle! Think rustic, wooden detail with a nod to the old world rather than shiny metal and modern.
4. USEFUL ART- A fabulous way to add a little rustic french country style onto your walls is to use some of its Chinoiserie potteries an art feature. In a way that is very traditional in the French style, mount a selection of small and large plates to the wall to create instantly chic French-inspired art.
5. FLOWERS- Provincial France is awash with flowers and your rustic French style interior should be no different. Place big vases of rustic florals throughout your home intermixed with delicate silver bud vases or jugs or fresh or dried lavender for that instant provincial nostalgia.