The French Country Kitchen blends rustic and elegant design to create a soft, welcoming home for delicious meals and wonderful gatherings.
Farmhouse kitchens are seeing a surge in popularity for their relaxed, welcoming, and lived-in feel. But all too often, these kitchens look too rustic and rundown. That look can feel out of place in most modern homes. This is where the French or English country kitchens come in.
This style of kitchen design expertly blends vintage, rustic, elegance, and glam. In the same space, you’ll see a well-worn kitchen table made from reclaimed wood paired with a crystal chandelier and granite countertops.
Get inspired to modernize your kitchen by looking to the French countryside. By changing key elements of your kitchen, you can have a comfortable yet glamorous kitchen to cook in as well.
1. Apron Sink French Country Kitchen Ideas
The hallmark of a farmhouse kitchen is the apron sink. These sinks have a distinct look because they feature exposed fronts. They also tend to be larger. Whether your goal is to have an American, French, or English country kitchen, you should have a farmhouse sink.
To install one, you’ll probably need the assistance of a contractor to do some slight kitchen remodeling work. You’ll have to cut out the front of your cabinets and counter to accommodate the sink. These sinks also tend to weigh more, so you’ll want to add additional support under the sink inside of the cabinet.
For a traditional look, stick with porcelain. But if you want to embrace the elegance of French country kitchens, you could choose marble or copper for your sink.
2. Blue And White Theme French Country Kitchen Ideas
Classic French country style embraces neutrals with a theme of blue and white. The next time you’re at the hardware store, head to the paint department, and you’ll find “French country blue” from all of the largest paint manufacturers. This is the traditional blue color you need.
Use the blue to accent and highlight the white and neutrals of your kitchen. You could have a blue pattern on your toile fabrics. Or you could have a blue range hood and stove. If you really like the shade of blue, you could paint your kitchen cabinets.
Look for vintage china that features the blue and white theme while depicting farmhouse themes. These vintage pieces will add a sense of authenticity to your French country design.
What if blue isn’t your color and it’s the last thing you want in your kitchen? Not to worry! You can use a soft pink or sage green instead. These are both commonly used in more modern French country decor. Aim to use muted and earthy tones for your color palette.
3. Classic Cabinetry French Country Kitchen Ideas
Country French style is a perfect blend of rustic and elegant. You can see this brought to life in the kitchen cabinets. They’re typically plain white cabinets, but feature detailed touches that elevate them. You can give your kitchen’s cabinets the country French touch by adding trim work.
Add crown molding to the top of the upper cabinets. Then add detail to the cabinets by choosing doors with trim and skip the shaker style doors. Look for ways to add ornate and intricate wood carvings and furniture inspired features. This could be carved columns on the corners or an archway connecting the upper cabinets.
A hallmark of a French kitchen is the range hood built to match the cabinetry. It’ll be large and sloping with carved trim around the edge.
To keep your kitchen from looking too polished and elegant, give the cabinets some aging. They should look lived-in and a bit worn. This will provide the rustic element to the ornate cabinets.
4. Copper Cookware French Country Kitchen Ideas
Foodies and chefs alike love copper cookware for its conductivity, rapid heating, and quick dissipation. While they’ve been popular for centuries all over the world, most identify copper cookware with French kitchens. These beautiful warm colored pots and pans make their appearance in French country decor.
Decorate your kitchen with your copper pots and pans. You could hang a wrought iron rack above your kitchen island and hang the copper cooking tools from the hooks. Or you could hang a rack on the wall. This puts your cookware on display as decor and makes it readily accessible.
5. French Country Farmhouse Kitchen Decor Ideas
Once you choose the major elements of your kitchen, you need to finish your interior design to turn it into a French country cottage. Focus on adding accent pieces that continue the trend of blending rustic and elegance.
You could place woven baskets full of fresh produce and arranged florals to bring in the rustic farmhouse element. Then you could place antique kitchen tools that you find in vintage shops. This could be anything from wooden spoons to antique scales. Another popular choice is porcelain pieces such as pitchers and serving ware.
6. French Country Kitchen Appliance Ideas
When it comes to the appliances in your kitchen, skip the ultra-modern stainless steel finishes and streamlined touch controls. These will look too sleek and out of place. Instead, look for appliances with traditional styling. The stove should have dial controls. The appliances could have bold metal trim.
If you can’t find retro-inspired appliances, consider hiding your modern ones. You could build or purchase cabinetry that hides the modern appliances behind uniform cabinet doors.
7. French Country Chic Kitchen Ideas
French chic is about easy-going elegance. Your goal is to effortlessly blend rustic and glam. Some pieces are well worn and rustic. Other pieces are elegant and chic. The trick is to balance the two so that you don’t have too much of either style.
For a successful French country decor, you don’t want to try too hard. Consider using butcher block for your countertops. This is both beautiful and functional. Then for a glamorous touch, you could hang a chandelier with crystals. This will give you the touch of glam.
You can continue this balance through the eating area furniture. The kitchen table could be antique or made from reclaimed wood. Then you could have elegant chairs to place around it, upholstered with a French voile fabric.
8. Gold Accent French Country Kitchen Ideas
Gold accents are the perfect way to add elegance and glamor to your French country decor. Traditionally, decorators used gilded pieces. Gilding is the term for applying gold leaf to an object or painting it gold.
You could look for authentic gilded pieces, but that will be seriously expensive. Instead, you can blend modern touches, such as gold hardware for the cabinets. You could switch out the lighting and plumbing fixtures for gold. Look for fixtures with intricate details and traditional styling to keep the gold fixtures in line with the rest of the kitchen.
If you’d like a more subtle accenting of gold, you could mount gold curtain rods. The majority of the gold will get hidden by your curtains, but it’ll still peak out in places. Or you could use gold silverware for your place settings. This will give you a hint of gold only when you set the table.
9. Kitchen Hood French Country Kitchen Ideas
The kitchen hood is a statement piece in a French country kitchen. It needs to be large, bold, and separate from the cabinets. You could build a stone archway to mimic the look of a fireplace. This will give your kitchen a traditional farmhouse feel.
Another option is to build a hood that starts larger at the bottom and slopes upward, narrowing at the top. Finish the hood with intricate details, carvings, and scrollwork. You could also opt for metal and give it a polished finish.
If you want your kitchen to have a more modern feel, you could make your hood oversized to extend beyond the width of the actual stovetop cooking area. Keep it rectangle-shaped with crown molding at the top. Then you can finish the look with large carved corbels supporting it from underneath.
10. Modern French Country Kitchen Ideas
You can give your French country kitchen a modern twist that will keep your decor feeling fresh, despite its traditional approach. Subway tile is hugely popular in contemporary design trends, yet it originated from traditional building design. You could use the subway tile as your backsplash for a perfect blend of old and new.
Another way you can blend old and new is to use gold hardware, but opt for a satin or brushed finish with clean lines. This will blend the gilt of old with the styling and finishes of modern design trends. You can continue this with your chandelier. It could still have gold and crystals but have a more modern design in its styling.
Don’t forget to blend modern technology into your kitchen. Just because it’s French farmhouse doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the latest technological innovations. Many kitchen appliance companies hide modern technology in vintage-looking stoves. Or you could have LED lighting in your chandelier.
11. Rustic Charm French Country Kitchen Ideas
If you want your French kitchen to look more rustic, you need to utilize more worn and used pieces than glam pieces. Try to use only vintage, antique, and salvaged materials. The more of these pieces you use, the more rustic and aged your kitchen will look.
Use vintage kitchen tools to decorate the kitchen. You could hang antique bread paddles on the walls. Or you could place vintage bottles and jars on shelves as decor. Instead of buying new lighting and plumbing pieces, you could buy salvaged fixtures. Just be sure they are still safe for use. You don’t want to install an iron faucet and risk poisoning your family for style’s sake.
12. Stone Wall French Country Kitchen Ideas
Much of traditional French farmhouse construction was stone, so they’d naturally have exposed stone walls in the kitchen. You can mimic this architectural feature by creating a stone accent wall in your kitchen.
To create a faux wall, you could paint the stone pattern on, apply a pre-printed wallpaper, or mount foam core stone panels. These range in price, so you’ll need to find an application that fits your budget. Aim to create a natural stone or limestone feature. The trick to making it look real is the irregularity of the stone pattern.
13. Traditional French Country Kitchen Ideas
If you’d like to take your kitchen design a step further and give it a traditional country aesthetic, try adding these architectural elements. Instead of just having a stove or oven, have an entire fireplace installed. It should be large so that you can use it for cooking. Then have wooden floors installed to bring warmth into the space. You could commit and use reclaimed wood for a worn and authentic feel.
Finally, add wood beams to the ceiling. This will give the kitchen a cottage feel. It’ll also give you a natural place to hang things from. You could hang the pots and pans directly from the beams if your ceiling is low, or hang a rack for them if your ceiling is higher.
French Farmhouse Kitchen FAQs
What’s the difference between a regular farmhouse and a French farmhouse design?
A: French farmhouse is different because it adds touches of elegance. To keep the decor from getting too run down and rustic, there are touches of gilt and glamour. Don’t be afraid to add a crystal chandelier or antique silver serving dishes.
What is toile de Jouy fabric?
You’ll see this type of fabric in French country kitchens. It originated in Jouy, France during the 18th century. It’s typically cotton or linen fabric that depicts scenes from the French countryside. It could be hunting, farming, or travel. The print is typically a light blue, but you’ll also find pink, mauve, sage, and yellow.
Where do I find authentic decor for my kitchen?
While you could buy new “vintage style” decor, it isn’t authentic. Instead, head to rural areas and check out the local antique or vintage store. Farming communities are the best for these items. You can then find authentic and worn kitchen tools that, once used in actual farmhouses. These will give your kitchen a farmhouse feel without looking like you over-styled or tried too hard.