What Is French Country Decor?

Sure, it's enormously popular and used to describe everything from the shabby chic look to old world European decor. But what is French country decor, exactly? Think about lavender fields growing in the south of France, crumbling chateaux, bright farmhouses and a sunny garden and you have the essential inspiration for a French country interior.

  1. Types

    • Several looks fit into the French country interior category.

      The shabby chic-influenced look features distressed finishes and a preponderance of paisley. Faded florals, stripes, vintage wallpaper and repurposed flea market finds are at the heart of this decorating approach.

      The more classic French country style is marked by desks and tables with shapely carved legs and armoires or cabinets with inlaid painted panels.

      The bohemian modern approach has more dramatic colors and eclectic combinations of antique, new and kitschy, such as a collection of retro cool dishes in bold colors and patterns.

    Features

    • French country style is about integrating timeworn furniture, finishes, accessories and fixtures into the home. Favorite heirlooms are at home here, as are junkyard gems. Signature looks are stone fireplaces, bistro tables and chairs, funky end tables, rusted metal fixtures and painted tiles and ceramics.

    Effects

    • A well-designed French country home inspires comfort and relaxation. Upholstered chairs and couches in different colors and patterns invite people to make themselves at home. The style is a natural for entertaining, with its emphasis on connecting the indoors to the outdoors and interesting conversation pieces.

    Considerations

    • Even the smallest changes can transform your home into one with French country flair. Try painting an accent wall a mustard yellow or add a trim of cornflower blue fleur-de-lis. Fill your garden with wrought iron decor and vintage fence posts. Dress up an old metal frame bed with a coat of whitewash paint and add a faded paisley, floral or toile blanket for bedding.

    Warning

    • Avoid the temptation to coordinate all your furniture, textiles and accessories. The overly matched look is contradictory to the funky feeling of the French country interior. Instead, choose a key color, such as cobalt blue, and create a flow between pieces that feature the color, such as an Oriental rug, a vintage bottle and a painted dish.

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