The Ultimate Guide To French Country Decor

French country style is unmistakable. No matter where you live, these classic interiors will transport you into the heart of the French countryside with ornate decorations, traditional features, and elegant neutral colors. This style typically includes decor like botanical wallpapers, antique furnishings, and plates on the walls. As designer Ariel Richardson told House Beautiful, "The core essence is a refined elegance that is humbled by bringing in aspects of nature such as weathered and white washed wood, and neutral color palettes." The mixing and matching of fine furnishings and detailed patterns makes this style endure.

French country bedrooms combine casual elegance and rustic charm into one style. It's just the right amount of class in the country. This style is not as excessive or luxurious as similar designs like French provincial, but it is equally immersive. Choose how much of the countryside to bring into your home by finding inspiration from this ultimate guide to French country decor.

Add provincial patterns to walls and fabric

French country decor is composed of elements that create a homey effect. For example, toile textiles make spaces feel cozier and more welcoming. According to Apartment Therapy, toile depicts pastoral landscapes and floral scenes. These delicate patterns are available in many colors, including blue, red, brown, yellow, green, and pink. Whether you choose to cover an entire wall or just a portion, the pattern will introduce a bit of charm into your home. Give French country decor a modern twist by matching this retro pattern with contemporary shapes and finishes, like brass fixtures and curved accessories.

This pattern is not the only one to choose for la Maison. Gingham, plaid, and striped designs are also worth exploring for your home. Consider incorporating these designs throughout the house on walls and fabric. Include these patterns in throw blankets, bed linens, and upholstered furniture. For an authentic taste of the French countryside, layer more than one of these motifs in the same space.

Incorporate wood accents

French country style focuses on incorporating rustic charm. One way to accomplish this is by choosing wood furniture for your home. According to SFGate, natural wood tones introduce warmth into a space, instantly making it more welcoming. Different wood types have different personas. Wood styles like mahogany, oak, or cherry are formal, while pine and cedar are more casual. These differences can affect the feeling in your space.

Keep in mind that the types of wood do not have to be the same, but they should be similar. For a cohesive look in one room, try to match furniture items with similar undertones and pigmentation. When decorating with multiple types of wood in one area, choose styles that pair well with one another and complement the mood. You can shop for these items brand new or upcycle an existing dresser, table, or vintage find. Consider sourcing wood dressers, dining tables, chairs, console tables, and stools.

Decorate with upholstered chairs

French country decor evokes a relaxed elegance. It's fancy but understated. When decorating in this style, furnishings will help shape the atmosphere in your dwelling. Along with simple wood furniture pieces, an element of softness is necessary to add laid-back sophistication to your home. Create a sense of balance between the hard furnishings in your space by adding upholstered accent chairs and small sofas.

Use this opportunity to be edgy in your French country style and create a contemporary vibe with modern wingback chairs or reupholstered settees. As interior designer Emma Sims Hilditch told Homes & Gardens, "No home is a show home. We must choose fabrics that will be able to withstand daily life." This statement is especially true for country-inspired lodgings. Leather, cotton, wool, or velvet upholstered chairs are perfect for surrounding a table or sofa. Find a material and chair that suits your lifestyle.

Install extravagant light fixtures

French country decor is understated, but that does not mean it lacks wow moments. When decorating in the French country style, consider adding fixtures that increase interest and texture. An easy way to update the look and feel of a space is by swapping out the lights. Light fixtures are ideal for filling in negative space and adding beauty. Source light fixtures crafted from materials that contrast with the environment, such as iron, metal, silver, and brass.

Decorate your French country-inspired space with a black iron candle tapered chandelier. As designer Anissa Zajac told MyDomaine, chandeliers can pair "well with all of the natural elements in the room while adding drama and depth." The combination of natural metals and natural woods will give your home the depth and texture it needs for the ultimate French country look. Consider other light fixtures like different tapered candle chandelier styles, pendant lights with lampshades, drum or crystal chandeliers, and wall sconces.

Bring in a wrought iron bed frame

A great way to introduce character into a space is by furnishing it with statement pieces. French-inspired furniture often displays symmetrical lines, swirled designs, and delicate details. Material is essential when choosing furniture for your home. Iron, steel, and other metals are favorable for styling a French country look.

If you are decorating a bedroom, wrought iron or metal bed frames are a French country staple that will instantly transform the area. As designer Yoan Walter told New York Magazine, it is "a perfect, versatile piece of furniture that can adapt to many styles." The iron frame will become the focal point in the room and introduce a level of romance that will captivate onlookers. Consider decorating your room with wrought iron bed frames, like the ones available at Walmart. The neutral dark finish can transition through bed linen updates and complement almost any color palette, including light and dark.

Elevate the space with rugs

Vintage-inspired home decor is necessary for a French country design to flourish. Whether you have old-looking furniture or not, you still need a rug to complement the look and add softness. Consider rugs with timeless appeal and versatile color. For example, intricate motifs in neutral color tones are timeless.

For a magnificent floor, layer your space with a beautiful oriental-style rug. According to Architectural Digest, oriental rugs can be used as floor decor to elevate existing furniture pieces and are available in different colors, scales, and styles. You can opt for a monochromatic look and choose a rug that complements existing colors or mix different patterns. This rug is a timeless addition that can enhance visual appeal. Whether selecting a dining or living room rug, they add style to any space. Carpets crafted of wool, hand-knotted, and natural woven fibers are ideal for decorating in a French country theme.

Add drama with curtains

A set of curtains will instantly elevate your home. This window treatment is just what a French-inspired countryside home needs. When choosing curtains, opt for the right level of sheerness. You want to let natural light shimmer through and cascade across all the pieces inside. Curtain styles in French country decor should be light and airy in neutral white, cream, and gray shades. Lace trims and embroidered appliqués are pretty panel additions.

Consider design, fabric, length, and height when choosing curtains. Interior designer Nate Berkus shared with MyDomaine that "curtains that don't hang the full length from the ceiling all the way down to touching — or just skimming — the floor," can be a common decorating mistake. The idea is for the curtains "to give as much height as possible." Measure the length from ceiling to floor in your space. Don't forget to select a rod to support the curtain panels. Keep this element basic with a simple black, white, or neutral metal finish. Personalize the curtain rod by adding finials to the ends. These decorative end caps provide personality and are an easy way to update a look.

Hang decorative plates on the wall

No French country home is complete without decorative plates. If you don't have some antique plates from your grandparents or parents laying around the attic, source some locally. China plates are commonly a muted shade of blue, green, or brown. These toned-down shades are complementary to the color palettes in French-inspired dwellings.

If you decide fragile dishware is the wall decor you need to complete your French country-inspired design, securely fasten them to the walls. You can use plate hangers or temporary methods with different adhesives. Home Depot suggests beginning your layout with a cutout template before displaying them with your choice of adhesive glue, clips, or strips. This preparation will let you perfect the arrangement before adhering each plate to the surface. Rather than display plates individually, showcase the china on the wall with a vintage-style plate rack or stack organized piles on shelves.

Hang up landscape art

Art can transform a wall in so many ways. The size, frame color, and displayed picture are features that change a room and draw a person to an individual work of art. While the best art is the one that picks you, try to choose a landscape piece for your French country-inspired home. Abstract or actual landscapes are ideal. Decorating with natural scenery on the walls will introduce a bit of the countryside indoors.

As Helen Armon-Jones, founder of The Art Buyer, told Homes & Gardens, "If you have a large sofa with a blank wall behind it, then think about hanging a gorgeous large landscape format artwork as this can add height, depth and a focal point to the room. This way, you'll make a statement and the eye will automatically be drawn to it." If a room has a large enough wall surface, try to cover it with proportional art. The larger the wall, the bigger the art. Something too small will look disoriented in the space.

Pair bright colors with neutrals

French country-style color palettes typically feature creamy whites, taupes, and pale grays. These warm, soft neutrals mimic countryside elements and introduce an abundance of light tones into a space. As interior designer Nancy Hoff told Elle Decor, "We find that by keeping a room wrapped in quiet earth tones, the rich natural colors of Mother Nature, right outside the window, are allowed to be more visible and are more pronounced than if they are fighting stronger colors used on interiors." The merging of the interior and exterior colors unifies the aesthetics.

While neutral shades are favorable, French country design is not without contemporary flair. French country-inspired color palettes can also feature brilliant pops of color in muted tones. Softened blues, pinks, reds, and greens are typical French-inspired decor. Imagine pastel pink upholstered dining room chairs paired with soft blue cushions settees in an otherwise neutral space.

Mix and match dining room chairs

Not all furniture items from back in the day necessarily matched one another. It was more common to arrange a variety of chairs and benches around the home since they were often hand crafted, salvaged, or accumulated by other means. A unique collection of room chairs will add dimension, color, and coordination to your French country style. Grouping a variety of seating arrangements is like art.

If you're decorating your dining room, use this opportunity to add a unique, nostalgic element to your dwelling by mixing and matching the chairs around the table. Give your space an eclectic vibe by pairing chairs of different styles in the same room. Begin your look by matching chairs that have similar qualities, such as the same undertones, patterns, color shades, or shapes, according to Home Decor Bliss. This tip will help give the result a sense of cohesion.

Show off your collection of ornate objects

French country decor should transport you to a different time. Decorating with accessories from another era will help achieve this effect. As interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen told Homes & Gardens, "Connecting to the past with personal items that have a story to tell helps to provide a sense of history and connection." How do you feature this feeling in a home design? Dust off something old and find a creative way to showcase it somewhere in your home. You can also display pieces with significant meaning to you, regardless of their age.

Make your design successful by decorating with ornate objects throughout every room. Maybe you already have some of these statues, lamps, vases, tea sets, and dishes. If not, find some! If you haven't already displayed your china on the wall, consider stacking or leaning some on the shelves. Pre-owned items are not mandatory, as there are plenty of vintage-inspired pieces recreated today. Oversized mirrors surrounded with antique embellishments look exquisite leaning against a wall on top of a large wooden credenza.

Fill the walls with texture

Wallpaper is not for everyone, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice texture on your walls. Many wall treatments look lavish in a French-inspired home. Limewash paints, roman clay mixtures, and plaster are some natural options to layer on the walls in your house. These wall coverings are a great way to emphasize a smooth area. Consider covering all the walls in a room or just one.

Plaster is one unique element that can brighten a space without color or light. As architect Emily Farnham told Curbed, "What's attracting people to plaster today is the ability to have a little bit of surface variation, to have more character in this otherwise flat surface. It's one of the things that I think people have a hard time with in new construction; the whole cold, clean regularity of all of the surfaces." Invite this congruity into your home for an authentic French country feel.

Decorate the ceiling with wood beams

Don't be afraid to add a touch of the country into your home. French-inspired spaces share many similarities with the modern farmhouse style, including wood elements. For example, wood ceiling beams are a classic farm home feature. This element is just as elegant and homey in a home inspired by the French countryside as the farmland.

"The first thing to think about is where you want to use them, and what impact you want to try to achieve," shared designer James Huniford to House Beautiful. Add reclaimed wood beams to the ceiling areas in a room or across the entire dwelling. There are no boundaries for ceiling decor. However, don't go overboard. Installing beams in every available space can overwhelm a room. Once the placement is selected, choose a stain that reflects the brightest neutral tones. Creating the ultimate French country home is a few home updates away.