Let your thoughts float to thoughts of fairy tales and timeless design with these French Country Decor Ideas.
French country style is the perfect embodiment of shabby chic. It balances antique and rustic architectural elements with feminine elegance and refined design. The result is a cozy, welcoming French farmhouse with an elegant yet livable style.
The mix of the contrasting elements creates a space that isn’t too shabby and masculine, but it isn’t too pretentious and unapproachable either. Get inspired by these French country design ideas.
1. French Country Living and Sitting Room
When decorating your living room, start by choosing furniture. You want to keep a muted and more subtle color palette. Think lots of white, tans, pale pink, pale blue, and cream. An exception would be vintage or antique furniture. Although, you can always opt for painted furniture if you want to keep the color palette uniform.
Place a large rug on the floor in a light color. It could have a subtle or aged look for a little rustic charm. Then place a couch and a couple of high backed armchairs on it. A coffee table in the canter will complete the rustic living room look.
Don’t forget to hang the curtains. They could be soft white linen, but this may be too much white in the space. Instead, get creative with the fabric to add a bit of color and texture to the room. A pale burlap paired with soft white linen can keep the window treatment light but also add texture and subtle glow to the room. For a bolder look, consider a toile or a flower-patterned fabric.
Every good French country cottage has at least one armoire. You might place one in your living room. If you find a large one, you can convert it into your TV stand or entertainment center. Or you could use it as a display case for your collectibles, movies, or books.
Finish the space with some decorative accents such as a candle holder hung on the wall or vases with fresh cut flowers.
2. French Country Bedroom
The centerpiece of your French country bedroom should be your bed. Wrought iron or worn wood are the ideal bed frame material choices. If you opt for wood, look for a bed frame with a large vintage inspired headboard with lots of detailed carving. Elegantly curved and carved legs are a must, as well.
Keep the color palette muted throughout the room. You can add touches of color in the accents. Use a patterned fabric on the accents throughout the room, such as a pink or red flower pattern or the traditional blue toile. You could use this fabric to create a lampshade, bedspread or comforter, pillows, curtains, or to upholster a bench for the foot of your bed.
Check out your local vintage shops for vintage lace and linen. If it has a slightly yellowed or aged look, even better. Trim your furniture and fabrics with delicate and feminine lace. You can add a lace-trimmed bed skirt and pillows to create a more feminine look to the bed.
Another perfect touch is a vintage vanity table. These tables were once commonplace in elegant homes to provide an area for women to get ready. You could place one in your bedroom for the same purpose.
Finally, choose vintage sconces for lighting on either side of the bed. Choose a pair that are fancy and more elegant in design. Then you can pair them with a chandelier for the overhead light. One with crystals would be perfect.
3. French Country Kitchen
One of the hallmarks of a classic French country home can be seen in useful objects hung as wall decor. Do this in the kitchen, where you can use your pots and pans or cutting boards to adorn the walls. Or you could hang your fine China on the wall to display and enjoy it year-round.
As for the rest of the kitchen, opt for natural stone or wood countertops. These are beautiful, durable, and found in a classic French country home. Place your countertops on top of cabinets with lots of elegant trim. Then pair your ornate and elegant cabinets with more rustic kitchen features.
While most of your home has clean, white plaster walls, in the kitchen, you might consider creating an accent wall. Use recycled brick or stone. It will have the perfect aged look for a country cottage kitchen.
You’ll also commonly find wood beams, exposed and stretching across the ceiling in French country decor. You can create this look by creating fake support beams by building a box from reclaimed wood and mounting it to the ceiling.
The elegance of the cabinets will balance nicely with the rustic touches of the brick and wood beams.
Vintage-inspired gas stoves are on-trend right now. This is perfect for your French country interior design. Pair it with a French-style hood that matches your cabinet trim work, and you can have a complete look.
4. French Country Dining Room
If you haven’t put an armoire in your living room, then it’s a must that you place one in your dining room. It’s the ideal piece of quintessential French decor. Perfect for storing your flatware, silverware, and other table setting accessories.
Your next step is to find the ideal table and chairs. Start by deciding what size table will fit the space. You need enough room to get up and move about.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match your set. It’s commonplace in country French decor to see a modern table with vintage chairs, or the other way around. The trick to making it work is to stick with the rusticly-elegant theme.
The table could be rough-hewn and rustic. Then the chairs could have elegant curves to the legs and luxurious tufted seating.
As with the other rooms we’ve discussed, keep the color palette muted, soft, and warm. Your table cloth, table runner, or place settings are your opportunity to inject color and pattern into the room.
Hanging above the table should be an elegant chandelier. Choose one that’s gilded in gold and dripping in crystals. Finish the room with an elegant display of fresh lemons, flowers, or greenery on the table.
5. French Country Bathroom
You could continue the traditional white plaster walls in your French country farmhouse-style bathroom, but why not add a bit of personality to this small space? Choose a wallpaper that features a voile de Jouy design or a bold floral pattern in soft pinks or blues.
The tub needs to be an independent, clawfoot tub. It simply must. If it has gilded feet, even better. Pair it with vintage-inspired ornate plumbing fixtures that mount on the side of the tub or a wall near it. Most people skip the shower curtain, but if you want one some privacy, you could make one from a soft, sheer material.
A safe choice for the cabinets is to model them after your kitchen cabinets with lots of trim and details. But this isn’t your only option. Instead, look for a vintage piece of furniture and turn it into the vanity. You can place a white vessel style sink on top and run the plumbing through the furniture. You could then whitewash the furniture or paint a delicate flower design on the front. There are even some vintage pieces that already have a floral motif.
For the vanity mirror, choose an oval or square mirror and then frame it with an ornate gilded frame. This mirror coupled with a chandelier will bring glamour and elegance to the bathroom.
The final touch is to replace your modern tile flooring with a rustic stone or wood. If you don’t like the idea of real wood or laminate in your bathroom, then invest in faux wood tile. It combines the rustic look and texture of real wood with the modern convenience of tile.
6. French Country Furniture
French country furniture is a mix of rustic farmhouse and ornate luxurious pieces. The trick is balancing the number of each to achieve the perfect elegant but lived-in feel. One way to do this is by hunting for classic vintage pieces. Look for ones with curved legs and detailed carving throughout. Vintage pieces will have some imperfections and damage that make the piece more approachable with a lived-in feel.
If you find a piece with gilding, grab it. Just plan for that to be the only gilding in the room. It’s good to have a touch of glam, but too much and it’ll overwhelm the rustic pieces.
Another common trend for French decorating ideas is to use whitewashed furniture. This is a great way to breathe life back into furniture that has seen better days. It embraces the imperfections while also giving your furniture and decor a cohesive look.
7. French Country Decor
Take the shabby chic approach when choosing the decor for your French country-inspired interior design. Vintage stores are a great place to start. You can find ornate and elegant pieces that have just the right amount of tarnish or imperfections. This will give you the humble, elegant feel that French country interior design exudes.
Look for vintage pieces that you can display as decor. Try a vintage tea kettle, scale, keys, or other personal care or kitchen tools that we don’t commonly see in today’s homes.
An ornately framed mirror is a great way to both decorate a wall and increase the room’s perceived size. Another nice touch would be a candle holder set or a candelabra. These can be more ornate to embrace the elegance side of rustic elegance.
For rustic touches, you could add a rustic vase with fresh flowers or greens. A country house will have easier access to fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, and flowers. Emulate this by placing these on display in bowls or vases.
French Country Decor FAQs
Can you use the French style in any home?
You can decorate your home in any way you want, however, some homes have a better architectural style for a French country interior. But this shouldn’t stop you from taking inspiration from these ideas for your home. Stick with a muted color scheme, vintage furniture, whitewashed wood, a touch of elegance, and floral or voile fabrics.
Do I have to use real vintage furniture?
No, you don’t. There are plenty of modern furniture pieces that are vintage-inspired. This will give you modern functionality with vintage styling. You may find these pieces fit better in modern homes. They’re also easier to find and more affordable than vintage French furniture.
What if the muted color palette is too dull and pale for me?
This is just a guideline for following in the French countryside decorating style. You can mix and match pieces to make it your own. You could add darker wood furniture to bring warmth and color into the room. Or perhaps your area rug has more vibrant colors for a bold look. Keep them vintage, and you’ll stay on theme.
Where does the French farmhouse style come from?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the French country design comes from the actual French countryside. Specifically, though, it comes from Provence. These country homes had a relaxed approach to decorating. They’d combine ornate traditional elements with more subdued and distressed decor pieces.
You’ll see touches of classic elegance typically seen in Paris and the castle region, just less abundantly. Paneling, molding, and gilding are all present in a more humble way. Everything has a lived-in feel that results in the welcoming of worn areas and imperfections.