When you think of the French country side you probably have images of Monet's lush gardens and tranquil ponds bathed in golden sunlight. While elements such as these as well as others contribute to the French Country style of decorating, the finished room in this style is always warm, welcoming, elegantly European old world and rustic. If you can imagine a gracefully aged elegant country estate in the French countryside, then you are likely imagining the French Country style.
The style is very flexible, you can easily pick and choose the elements you like and still have French Country. There is plenty of style to create a warm and welcoming French Country interior.
French Country Style
Color is not limited, it can be anywhere on the color wheel, though the most popular colors are sunshine yellows, soft shades of gold, bright greens of grass and the dark hunter green of shaded forest, the red of sunsets and roses, rusty metal tones, blues are favored in cobalt blue and the soft blues of ocean. Just think blue sky, sea and flowers, those are your blues. Blue and yellow as well as blue and white are popular color schemes in this style, but there are plenty of colors to choose your own.
Colors are used on walls, accessories, even painted furniture. Even those who are not a fan of color yet love the graceful lines of French Country style are finding a place in their home with a monochromatic version of the style in all white or pale blues.
Decoupage and stencils have a free hand with this style using the motifs of vines, flowers, birds, rooster, fruits and just about any living element from the from the lovely French countryside.
Folk Art is used in French Country style. Black and white cows, pigs, brightly feathered roosters and geese are a few examples of the farm animals found in art, dishes, ceramics, linens and other accessories.
Natural materials are focused on in the architecture with rough stained or painted plastered walls. Heavy distressed wooden ceiling beams, wood with delicate carvings and natural stone, clay or brick floors. Aged wood floors are also found in this style. Gracefully aged and elegant is the guide for French Country Style.
Window sills are deep with tall narrow windows and shutters. A stone fireplace with an ornate mantle typically figures prominently in the style. The surround to the firebox is tile, either ceramic or stone with a hearth of clay or brick. Copper pots and kettles, iron accessories and dried herbs are a portion of the fireplace arrangement.
Lighting runs the gamut from quaint lantern style, to the elegant and aged province and Parisian sparkling crystal chandeliers. Lamp shades typically bear the motifs of the style and include the simple fleur de lis.
Fabrics are used heavily with French Country style. Toile is hugely popular, with plaids, checks, floral, polka dots, gingham check and stripes. The style isn't afraid to mix it up, plaids with floral or polka dots with floral for example. It is your choice. Curtains and tablecloths feature the motifs of traditional French Country style in roosters, sunflowers, lavender, grapes, olives and other motifs as noted under folk art. Ruffles are often used on pillows drapes, slip covers, canopies. Embroidered linens, especially cushions are extremely popular.
The style brings the outdoors in with flowers in every conceivable space including window boxes. Lavender is popular, as are roses and geraniums but any flower is acceptable. The profusion of a Monet garden is the inspiration, use all the flowers you like in vases and bowls of fresh cut blooms, dried flowers or on accessories and art.
Colorful ceramics and tiles, carved wood, pottery and large woven or wire baskets figure prominently on the style. The patina of rusty metals is found in accessories. Vases and bowls are used for fresh cut flowers. Use pillows featuring the fabrics and motifs of the style with or without ruffles. Roosters and cows are the most popular ceramic icons of the style.
Painted furniture or bare and aged wood are popular. Tables have a dull or low sheen finish. Furniture has curved backs and panels often with hand carved wooden pieces.
While fabric traditionally plays a very large place in the style, modern homes are increasingly incorporating leather furniture with curved backs into the French Country style living room. The elegant tufted leather sofa and chairs are also gaining popularity with the style.
Today's modern family increasingly look to modern leather furniture for its long lasting durability, ease of cleaning and comfort to add to a French Country style living room for a more modern version of the style.
Pillows utilizing fabrics and motifs typical of the style are used to tie in comfortable sofa and chairs upholstered in soft, luxurious leather. Shades typical of the style in leather are soft blues, white and cream, with white and cream being the most common due to its versatility to various styles.
French Country style is one that allows adventure, even daring and whimsy to d?cor. The roots are based in elegant and gently aged architecture and wood furniture. The versatility of the style allows an individual interpretation of all that is inspired by nature in the French countryside. Toned down and minimalized or fully dedicated to all the elements, the French Country style remains popular for its graceful lines and old world elegance.
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