French country décor is typically described as a rustic blend of old and new. Family heirlooms sit comfortably together with new furnishings and rich colors are married with earthy natural tones. Move the look outdoors and you start to see features such as aged window shutters and wrought-iron garden furniture. According to houseplansandmore.com, the look was brought from the south of France to the United States in the late 19th century where it became a popular residential look.
Whether you want to achieve the appearance of a grand mansion or a cozy country cottage, the important factor will be a casual and natural looking appearance--like it has been there for 100 years and the surrounding countryside has sprung up around your home. Getting this mix right in your own home requires a careful blend of ingredients.
French country interiors often match bold colors next to earthy tones. This helps to bring out the rustic ambiance of old next to new. For exterior design, do the same with slightly more muted colors. Use shades inspired by nature such as earth, wood and stone. Warm yellows and reds should match the colors of fall. According to great-home-decorating.com, the shades are "colorful, with sunny yellow, golds, terracotta red, lavender, bright and dark greens and, of course, French blue" with "accents of black and gray." You may prefer to turn this theory on its head and use bright colors as accents and stick to muted yellow and beige shades for the majority of the exterior.
The use of wrought-iron furniture and gates helps to add to the feeling of the French countryside of yesteryear. The dark shade of wrought iron blends well with rustic tones of both exterior walls and natural garden schemes, making it a great option for exterior French design.
Keep it simple. Opt for tables and chairs in natural tones or wrought iron with a simple table cloth and vase or old bottle for flowers. Accent your home's chosen color scheme with aged-red or terracotta plant pots. Everything should blend well together but not match too closely. Use the same principles that you would for interior French design and marry together old with new for a harmonious rustic look.
When planning your French country garden, always think natural. Climbing vines, wild flowers and herb gardens are perfect. Avoid too much landscaping as this will detract from the au-naturel look. Use herb and flower window boxes and hand-painted tiles for an extra splash of color on garden walls.
French country design is often marked by the use of brick, stone and stucco on the exterior of the house. A careful blend of rough stucco and stone makes for a natural patched-up look that will make your home appear as if it has been there for 100 years. Add window shutters for a genuine French country look.
- Photo Credit window with blue shutters and red flowers image by green308 from Fotolia.com
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