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French Country Decor And Ideas For Beginners

If you’ve ever travelled through France, you’ll know that the country is made up of many different regions, each boasting its own history and proud traditions. That said, when people think of the French countryside, Provence (or the South of France) is what springs typically springs to mind. However, other popular styles of French country décor include inspirations from the Atlantic or North Sea coastal regions, as well as from the more mountainous areas of France.

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French Country Kitchen / Via Istockphoto.com

Despite the regional characteristic of France, you can be sure that all three country decorating styles will feature many shades of white. Earthenware bowls, wicker baskets, vintage wooden crates, retro metal tins and classic white and blue porcelains are also often featured in stereotypical French country designs of all types. You can find these at antique shops or find them in online furniture stores.

Don’t forget some practical elements of design! No French country kitchen would be complete without a row jams and preserves in pretty glass containers. You can skip the canning process and hit up the grocery store if you’re not feeling very adventurous – Bonne Maman jams and jellies come with a neat white label with impeccable calligraphy, and a red and white checker patterned top. You can’t get more countryside than that. You’ll find this quintessential French brand in most large grocery store chains, and it doesn’t cost much more than national brands.

Country style living implies functionality, so use up your earthenware bowls and wicker baskets by lining them with crisp white and red or white and blue tea towels, and filling them with fresh fruit and vegetables. You’ll also want a handy pot of herbes de Provence, and maybe even some dried lavender sachets to spruce up your kitchen pantry and bedroom drawers.

Red, white and blue

Blueport / Via previewcontent.blueport.com

While most people think of America when they see the combination of red, white and blue, the French flag also shares the same colours, and these shades are often featured in French country décor. Textiles are almost always a mix of different shades of white. Think light, embroidered fabrics, woven linens and heavy, pooling drapes that add a hint of lazy luxury to a home. White lends itself well to texture, though avoid bleach-white fabrics, as they often have a cold undertone.

That said, purposeful blue accents (or red ones) can add a nice vibrant pop of colour if it is tastefully done, just like on the Andra Decorative Cushion with Blue Stripes from Furniture.ca. You can even paint some wooden furniture pieces in softer shades like robin-egg blue. Sanding down newly painted furniture can also give it a more distressed, homey look that is typical in a well-loved country home. Whitewashing your furniture is another classic way to achieve a French country feel.

If DIY isn’t really your thing, online furniture stores like Furniture.ca offer great collections of country-inspired items, such as the Coastal Living Retreat Collection from Stanley Furniture. Their Chesapeake Table in English Blue or the Sea Watch Side Chair in English Blue are particularly great finds that would make great additions to a French country home.

Other colour accents can include lavender, green, grey, light blue and yellow for those of you itching for a Provencal home. For coastal-inspired designs, stick to the tried and true blues and creamy whites with little dashes of punchy red. For a mountainous inspiration, earthier greys and whites with darker woods are they key, with occasional splashes of colour from red and white textiles. Gold accents and salmon pinks can also lend a hand on occasion to any French country style home, but whatever you do, try not to hit all the colours of the rainbow at once. A little goes a long way, particularly when it comes to mixing and matching colours.

Furniture

Blueport / Via previewcontent.blueport.com

Wrought iron pieces can also add a beautiful, sophisticated touch to a French country inspired home. Though the metal was first used for very functional purposes – that is to make weapons and tools – for many centuries now, it has been used primarily for aesthetic purposes. The Sonoma Wall Candle Holder and the Hackett Bed are examples of how you can incorporate wrought iron into your home through pieces both large and small.

Quality furniture made of wood can also be a stellar way to bring out the country side in your home. Go for rustic-looking pieces that are slightly worn or distressed. A large wooden farm table or shelf, particularly if whitewashed or painted in a faded blue can instantly evoke the French countryside.

Go Forth and Explore

While we’ve gone over the basics of French country décor, it’s up to you to decide how far you want to take the look. White textiles will look good in pretty much any home, and if you feel like you want to leave it at that, then so be it. But if you do want to take it to the next step, don’t shy away from larger wooden or wrought iron elements. Quality furniture will speak for itself. Just be sure to balance out heavier pieces with lighter elements of French country style… and if you placed those lavender sachets in all the right places, take one deep breath and you just might feel like you’re in really living in the South of France!

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