The Characteristics of French Country Design
People use various sources of inspiration when choosing their interior décor. These may include periods in history, personal memories, favorite colors, and current design trends. Another source of inspiration for many people is a style that is associated with a particular country. One such example of this is a French Country interior design theme. If this is a style that you are interested in recreating in your home, then here are the characteristics that define French Country style interior design and some guidance for creating this look yourself.
What is French Country Design?
French country design is a style of interior design that is inspired by country homes and farmhouses in rural France. It is a style that recreates the warm and welcoming feel that you get in a French farmhouse. This style is especially associated with the Provence region of France. Although this is the inspiration behind the style, it is possible to take it in different directions to suit your personal tastes. Freshome says that traditionally this style is rustic, but you can also interpret it to showcase elegant simplicity at its best by taking your favorite features of this design style and applying it to another style of interior design.
Characteristics That Define French Country Design
If you want to recreate the French Country design theme in your home, then it is important to know some of the characteristics that define this style. Some of the main characteristics that define French Country design include the following:
- Color Schemes – There is a wide range of different color schemes that you can use if you are trying to create the French Country theme in your home. In fact, almost every color on the spectrum is used in this style of interior décor. However, lighter colors are often used, such as sunny yellows, neutral shades, and pastels. On the other hand, deep shades of green are also used in this style. Another darker color that works well with this theme is deep red.
- Floors – Floors are a significant feature in French Country houses. They are usually made from natural materials, such as stone flagging or exposed and treated wooden floorboards. Another option for rooms such as the kitchen is tiled flooring. Carpets are not something that features in this style. However, ornate rugs are often added to give some warmth to rooms with bare floors.
- Accessories – This style is almost the reverse of a minimalist look, so accessories are a key element of the style. Paintings are a great way of adding interesting focal points around the room, and you can choose almost any style of painting. You can also use various accessories to add splashes of color around the room. Dried flowers and natural grasses are a nice touch, as are colorful ceramics, Chinoiserie pottery, wicker baskets, copper pots, and window boxes with herbs or fresh flowers.
- Materials – Natural materials are an important aspect of French Country style, says The Spruce. The walls are often rough and stained or painted directly on plaster. Stone is a material that often features heavily. Stone features may include exposed walls, floors, and fireplaces. Wood is another important material associated with this style. Many French Country style rooms feature wooden beams, and this material also features in floors, furniture, and wall details. Finally, wrought iron is a further material that often features in rooms with this style of interior décor. This is usually on the fixtures and fittings of the room.
- Architectural Features – The use of natural materials is obvious in the typical architectural features of French Country style homes. Some examples of French Country architectural features include arched doorways, irregular walls, large windows, exposed beams, exposed stone or brickwork, and picture or dado rails.
- Prints – Adding print designs to the room can create interesting focal points and add a sense of texture and depth to the room. Floral patterns work particularly well with the French Country theme. You can add patterns in various ways, including feature wallpaper, adding wallpaper to the lower half of the room, hanging patterned curtains, laying a rug, or adding cushions to seating areas. Another design for fabrics that is a traditional French option is toile. This often has a background of cream, white, or yellow covered in large designs in a contrasting color, such as green, blue, red, or black. Toile themes are varied and include patterns of animals, country scenes, courtyard scenes, and Chinese inspired patterns. Another way to add patterns to a French Country room is to use motifs on the walls at regular intervals. Popular motif options that suit the theme include beetles, lavender, grapes, roosters, sunflowers, and olives.
- Soft Furnishings – The use of soft furnishings adds warmth and comfort to any room. Cushions, throws, rugs, curtains, and even textile wall hangings are all ways of complementing your French Country theme. Choose soft furnishings that have interesting patterns of colors that work well with the rest of your color scheme. With this interior design style, it is possible to mix and match soft furnishing designs rather than having all the soft furnishings in the same style.
- Light Fittings – Wrought iron is the most commonly used material for light fittings in a room following a French Country theme. There are some beautiful light fittings made from this material.
- Furniture – You can add an eclectic mix of furniture to any room, and you can even opt for second-hand items. The French Country theme features vintage pieces with a rustic look or modern pieces that have been crafted to have an old-fashioned appearance. For most of your furniture, you should choose wooden pieces that are either natural wood or that have a distressed effect added. For sofas and armchairs, choose either a patterned design or ones that are made from a single color for fabric that complements the rest of your room.
French Country Interior Design by Room
In addition to the general characteristics of French Country interior design, there are also some room-specific features. The following is an overview of the different rooms.
- French Country Hallways – You can create a French Country interior design theme in even the smallest spaces of your home. A small occasional or side table in natural wood or painted white wood is a nice feature to include, as is a coat stand. Adding an ornate mirror above the table will increase the sense of space and light in a small room. Opting for tiled, flagged, or wooden floors is both in keeping with this style of interior design and also a practical option for an entrance way.
- French Country Kitchens – Rustic wooden units or units that are painted in white, cream, or muted pastel shades are ideal for creating a French Country kitchen. Ceiling beams will create the look of a French farmhouse. Add some hooks to the beams to hang pots, pans, and dried herbs. A large ceramic sink, such as a Belfast sink, is a more authentic option than a modern metal sink. Elle Décor also suggests that you could try adding touches of earthy colors, toile fabrics, orderly florals, and farm animal features.
- French Country Bathrooms – If you have space available, you should opt for a freestanding bath, says The Spruce. This is both practical and a beautiful feature of a French Country bathroom. Gold taps are typical of the French style. As this is often one of the smaller rooms in a home, choose neutral or pastel colors to create the deception of space and light.
- French Country Living Rooms – The main feature of a French County living room is the fireplace, which usually has a stone surround that is topped with rustic wood. Another feature of the fireplace is the tiled hearth. Ideal Home suggests that you should also include a coffee table and accessorize the room with throws and cushions. The living room is a fantastic space to display some artwork on the walls and one of the rooms where you can display other accessories, such as ceramics. A traditional French Country living room will feature ceiling beams.
- French Country Dining Rooms – Visual Hunt says that the centerpiece of the dining room is the table. Choose a rustic, wooden table that looks inviting. If you have enough room, choose a large table that can seat at least eight people, as large tables feature in French farmhouses. The most typical shape of tables used in French Country interior design is a rectangular table. Buy chairs that match the table, or opt for long benches that seat multiple diners.
- French Country Bedrooms – Sumptuous patterned bedding is the prominent feature of bedrooms created in the French Country style. Add further warmth and a sense of comfort by adding throws and cushions. Another feature that is typical is rugs next to the bed, especially if the room is not carpeted. A nice touch is to add an ornate or rustic dressing table with a freestanding mirror. Choose either a rustic wooden headboard or a white headboard with an ornate style.
Creating the Perfect Marriage Between Rustic and Elegant
For some people, the rustic charm of the French Country theme is too cluttered for their liking, and they want something that demonstrates more sophistication. However, they may like some of the features of this style, such as certain patterns or the use of natural materials. According to House Beautiful, it is possible to combine the rustic nature of the French Country style with elements of sophisticated elegance.
By opting for a light and neutral color scheme with touches of color and pattern from furnishings, you can easily combine the rustic feel with elegance. Keep things simple to retain the elegant aspect you want, but carefully choose and position some accessories to add elements of rustic charm to your home.
Extending the Interior Décor Theme to Create a French Country Garden
If you are a true fan of the French Country interior design theme, then you may wish to extend the theme to your outdoor space. According to Forbes, French Country gardens are formal and use geometry and symmetry. For and design are also important elements of this type of garden, and it is intended that gardens are landscaped in such a way that they draw attention to the house as the centerpiece.
If you have a larger garden, create landscaped hedges with walkways through, similar to a maze. Similarly, clipped shrubs are often a feature. You should create formal borders with plants grouped together according to size and color. A palette of cool colors is preferred, with blues, whites, and greens used as the main colors. You can also incorporate a vegetable and herb garden using raised beds. Stone is a key material in French Country gardens, as this is used as the main material for pathways.
Although French Country garden style is often associated with large formal gardens, it is also possible to create a French Country theme in a smaller garden or a courtyard. Continue with the use of geometry and symmetry by placing stone troughs and plant containers in symmetrical positions around the space. Potted ornamental shrubs are a good option for smaller gardens.
French Country Design – The Final Verdict
The French Country interior design style is inspired by French farmhouses, and this is an easy theme to replicate in your home. Although it is generally considered a rustic look, it is possible to add elegance and sophistication to this style. In fact, this is a style that you can take in many directions to suit your personal tastes and the style of your home. This is a theme that you can use in a single room, or throughout the entirety of your abode.