Finding the right style for your home can be a difficult task. Most families want a decor that reflects everyone in the household, particularly in shared living spaces like the kitchen and living room. The decor can’t be too masculine or too feminine. It should be elegant and beautiful, but not so fancy that you can’t plop down comfortably after a long day. And most importantly, the decor should be visually appealing, yet comforting to everyone in the family – so that the house can really feel like home.
French country is an aesthetic that checks all those boxes (and then a few more). It’s a gorgeous style that’s feminine yet rustic, trendy yet homey, elegant yet easy to cultivate and maintain. Taking its name from the quaint homes of the French countryside, this decor typically features simplistic elements that you can find at any furniture or home goods store.
To create the perfect French country look in your home, simply make sure you stick to these five steps:
Whitewashed Wood and Pastel Accents
In the 18th and 19th centuries, when many quintessential French home decor motifs were developed, whitewash was the easiest way to keep wooden furniture clean. As a result, whitewashed furniture persists as a staple of the modern French country style.
Consider cool, crisp white for your kitchen cabinets or your coffee table, and add a few pops of pale yellows, pinks, or blues for a truly French country look. The light colors will make any room feel bright, inviting, and oh-so-cozy.
There’s No Such Thing as Too Much Toile
If you’re interested in French country decor, you’d better get interested in toile, too. This particular fabric pattern was first developed in Ireland in the mid-1700s but the French quickly adopted the pattern and made it their own. Pastoral toile is most common in French country decor – images of families picnicking, floral arrangements, or other rustic scenes are particularly popular.
When we say “get interested” in this adorable fabric style, we really mean “find places to use it.” Most French country designs feature toile wherever they can! Upholster your chairs with it, decorate your bedspread with it, even make floor-length curtains out of it.Toile scenes are usually drawn in a single color, so it makes for a terrific, colorful pop in any room.
Always Opt for Elegant Lighting
Elegance is one of the key features in French country home decor from the floor to the ceiling. Dress your ceiling up with a little finery by installing a chandelier instead of the standard light fixture. A dramatic light fixture can be a great focal point for any room, or you can use several smaller hanging lights for a more casual kind of flair.
When you are looking for the right chandelier or other types of lighting for a French country home, remember to look out for curves. Rounded, curving elements are a signature design feature of the French country style. The right lighting can dress up even the most casual room decor.
Weathered Furniture is the Way to Go
French Country home furniture is often meant to look weathered or “lived in.” Distressed furniture is fairly easy to come by, or even to recreate with a little sandpaper and elbow grease. Worn paint and rubbed-down edges make your furniture look like a real antique (even if you bought it just yesterday), and it ultimately adds to the quaint, shabby-chic look so essential to French country.
“Whimsy” is the French Country Key
When it comes to finishing touches, there are lots of odds and ends that people consider French country elements. Some people like decorating their homes with roosters and other animal figurines, paying homage to the farms out in the French countryside. Others display beautiful seashells or a colorful arrangement of wildflowers. Others still choose to let their quirky side out, with mismatched chairs or delicate china displayed on the walls.
Whatever you choose to use for your finishing touches, your home can be a true French country beauty if you stick to the basics. Then, let your creativity shine and make each room of your home unique and special for your family.