French country style decorating is widely regarded for its elegant simplicity. When referring to the French farmhouse look, many mean the look of farmhouses from the Provencal area of France rather than the other rural areas. The look and feel of a French country house is warm, down-to-earth, spacious and airy.
The earthiness of a French farmhouse is reflected in the use of color. Walls are often painted in white or off-white with accents of terracotta red or Mediterranean blue. Sage green and smoky gray is also used on walls, floors and furnishings. The traditional look for paint is weathered, with furnishings such as kitchen tables and cupboards being scarred and well worn. Materials used to construct the house and its walls and floors tend toward the rustic with stone, wood, rough plaster and terracotta being common.
The outdoors is incorporated into the interior and the interior flows into the outdoors with much use of patios and gardens. Furniture for a garden or patio is often of wrought iron or wood, with floral cotton cushions. Nature is also reflected on linens, furniture and walls with farm animal, flower, fruit, vegetable or bread motifs as decorations. A French country farmhouse is never without several bunches of fresh-cut flowers in a variety of containers.
The airy rooms of a French farmhouse reflect an elegance created by carefully chosen household items and soft, natural colors. Elegance is created by a spare, clean look as well. Glass and wrought iron touches are common, such as a white wrought iron bed frame in a simple bedroom, or a wrought iron chandelier over a painted kitchen table. Off-white linen sheets with hand embroidered initials are a classic French country touch. Floral fabrics in cotton or linen, or homespun all add to the general elegance of French country.
While the urban French style is known for its ornate and sophisticated style, in the French countryside simplicity is the standard. Wall displays can be unadorned mirrors, framed postcards of French scenery, or even wine and olive oil labels. Household items are arranged in groupings with simple artistic flair, such as candlesticks or antique lanterns combined by color or shape. Crockery, sturdy and simple stoneware or glazed earthenware is often displayed on open shelves. Woven baskets are simple, decorative, functional and can be found in every room of a French farmhouse.
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