When people are asked to associate French rural life with anything, the most often they mention Provence, lavender fields with purple trim and eye-catching valleys. These and some other things like old traditions followed by generations have been an inspiration for interior design and resulted in the appearance of the French country style. (Read: Today's Lesson Is About: Contemporary).
French country style: definition and origin
1. Materials, textures, and patterns
Natural materials dominate the French Country Style Interior. Plaster, stucco or stone walls are usually painted or stained. There are many wood details delicately carved in a variety of patterns. Floors are usually covered with wood, stone or tumbled earthen tiles. It is also not surprising to see a wool or cotton rug on the floor. The focal point of every interior is a stone fireplace like one that used to stand in the old French country houses. (Read: Today's Lesson Is About: Eclectic)
One of the greatest accents in the interior is made on fabrics. They are everywhere and furniture is not an exception. The fabrics are predominantly layered and their goal is to create an artful and luxurious environment. The most common prints are toil, florals, stripes, gingham, and solids that create marvelous combinations if used in the same color shade. The prints can be seen on such natural fabrics as linen, cotton, matelasse, and tapestry. In general, such domination of textile adds elegance and trim.
3. Exclusive furnishing
All the pieces of furniture in the French Country style remind small pieces of art. They combine different materials and textures and are always adorned with anything special. Despite its elegance and chic, the furnishing is very functional and comfortable.
One more peculiarity of the furniture is being distressed. This worn look adds age and value reminding exclusive and priceless antique examples. The French Country style furniture is also shapely, well-scaled and not always matches each other to achieve a collected look. (Read: Today's Lesson Is About: Southwestern).
4. Accessories and decor
Most of the accessories that adorn the French Country style play not only a decorative role but also must be useful. For example, wall-hung plates can be used for serving, open shelves can be a tiny storage for small items while an oversize iron candelabra will add light and warmth to the room. (Read: How To Prepare Your House For Sale: 5 Home Staging Tips & Ideas)
You can also see the motifs of country life in the accessories. It is hardly surprising to see a statue of a rooster or beetles as well as decorate home with olive branches, lavender or grapes. Other popular decorations are a wire or woven basket, ceramics, pottery, pieces of carved wood, and glasses. The latter may serve as vases for flowers that are almost everywhere. This breath of nature adds freshness and life to every interior.
5. Curves and frills
It may not be noticed at first sight but the French Country style is characterized by an abundance of curves and frills. Arched windows and doorways, rounded backs of chairs, curved chandeliers and candlesticks, soft curves in window treatment - no matter where you will look, you will undoubtedly see some rounded or curved lines. They add softness to the interior and make it more cohesive.
6. Old, vintage and restored
French Country style can be called the old-world style too. It is perfect for vintage collections and furnishing as even new pieces are given a rustic and hand-scraped look here. This interior also requires balance that can be achieved by French influences like long draperies, formal fabrics, and various wallpapers.
French Country style is a perfect combination of old and new, chic and elegance, luxury, and simplicity. It can be created at home without much effort - it is enough to use several key elements and you will get a charming and welcoming French Country style interior.