Ideas from distressed painted furniture to French Country fabrics!
How do you define French Country decorating? Personally, it is one of my absolute favorite styles. It embodies grace, charm, and simple elegance. The French Country style is warm and welcoming.
French Country Decorating truly has no set rules; just a few guidelines. It is all about textured walls, informal wood tones, vivacious colored fabrics, weathered patinas, and distressed painted furniture. It mixes and matches Old World style with Country Style. Comfort is key, along with a soothing palette.
French Country is elegant without being fussy. Slipcovers, antiques, toile fabrics, and cast iron light fixtures, all encompass French Country.
The French embrace the “hearth and home” lifestyle, and it reflects their love of life. If this is the style you wish to achieve, you will have to be a treasure hunter. You will have to be willing to go to flea markets, antique shops, and garage sales. But I promise, the hunt is half the fun!
French Country Fabrics
French Country fabrics have very vibrant colors. Yellow, blue, red, green, and black are some of most popular colors. Toile is an extremely popular fabric and paired with checked or stripe fabric makes a beautiful and very French combination.
White also encompasses this style. A beautiful bed all in white with cotton, lace, and ruffles also embodies the French Country look. All of your rooms do not have to have vibrant colors. Decorate your master bedroom in white and cream fabric for a serene and delicate look.
French Country Curtains
Window treatments should be near the top of your French Country decorating list! They are essential in creating the French look. It is all about elegance paired with a look of comfort and ease. Nothing softens a window or a room more than custom curtains.
What I love about this style is that the rules are not set in stone. You can have a simple valance that has been made with French Country fabric, or you have long flowing drapery panels out of a soft linen, ticking, or lace. BOTH styles are French Country!
I love the look of long flowing panels. If you want your panels to “puddle” on the floor, you will need an extra 12″ to create a full puddle. So whether you are sewing your own panels, or purchasing ready-made panels, be sure to add the extra 12″.
To form a pretty puddle, tuck the drapery panel under about 5″ to hide the hem. Then grab the panel about half way up, and gently lift up and then slowly let it fall. This will create pretty folds. For a slightly different look, you can shape it into a half circle pushed up against the wall, and press down on the fabric with your hands. This will help keep it in place and give your draperies a tailored look.
This is a French Country Linen table runner I made to accent my dining room table. It is made from heavy linen and then an embroidered lace fabric was added for the ruffle. White dishes (a staple of French Country) look fabulous on this table runner.
French Country Cottage Furniture
Hand painted furniture is gorgeous and unique. That is what French Country decorating is all about! I found this little bench at a garage sale. I painted it green, distressed it with antiquing glaze, and then painted a countryside scene. French Home Decor has an elegance all its own.
Find a unique piece at a flea market or garage sale that you can paint. If you aren’t an artist yourself, you can always stencil a design on your furniture, and then use acrylic paints to paint your design over the stenciled design. It’s like a home-made paint by numbers, without the numbers!
Or, try your hand at creating your own unique French Country Cottage furniture, using Mod Podge and fabric. This project is so easy to do, and it is absolutely gorgeous. This is a cheap decorating idea that turns an old piece of furniture into a treasured heirloom.
The look of toile upholstery fabric is timeless. Paired with decorative pillows the look is charming. When helping clients decide on what furniture to purchase, no matter what their decorating style is, I always tell them to lean towards furniture that is upholstered in subtle colors, or patterns. That way you will not become tired of your choice in a few years, because you can always change things up with decorative pillows.
Adding French Country Decorating to the Bedroom
This French Country bedroom is beautiful! The antique bed, gold framed artwork, and toile bedding is stunning.
Not only is lace romantic, it adds another layer of detail to your bedding.
French Country Decor
You can’t go wrong with a rooster or sunflower picture hanging on your wall! They are both staples of the classic French look. Their colors come alive on any wall.
Red toile china looks beautiful showcased in a kitchen or dining room. The red plate above is hung in a wrought iron plate hanger in my dining room. I actually have two, and they look fantastic. I placed a larger green plate behind the red plate to make it stand out even more.
I find many toile pieces of china at discount stores. I have one red toile plate sitting on a plate rack in a glass cabinet in my kitchen. With white kitchen cabinets the red really looks bright and cheerier.
French Country Lighting
Attractive light fixtures are important in any interior decorating style. Chandeliers, wall sconces, and table lamps must be chosen with care. That doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune.
Have some fun with your choices. This rooster chandelier above is hanging in my laundry room. Checkered lampshades are ideal for the French style! I found the rooster chandelier at the local home improvement store. Don’t feel like every lamp and light fixture has to be a perfect match. It doesn’t!
Shopping for French Country decor can really be a lot of fun. Find things that appeal to you and make you happy. This little chef greets me every morning, and represents daily joy; a hot cup of coffee!
Add some greenery in attractive pottery, just don’t overdo it. Try to find greenery that looks real. This little pottery even has French words on the front. Perfect.
Another French Country decorating staple is architectural salvage pieces. Scour antique shops, flea markets, and salvage stores to find a unique piece. Look for an old frame and have a piece of mirror cut at your local glass shop to fit inside your frame.
Taking French Country Style Outdoors
Carry your French Country decorating outdoors using concrete statues, potted boxwood, and wrought iron accessories. Have fun and enjoy this welcoming style!
Here is a room I decorated for a client that is all about French Country living decorating ideas.
The French Country Decor Guide is a fabulous website that captures the spirit of French Country decorating!