Create a state of nature in your home and bring the outside in with this classic French country design.
The classic French country style is a mix of rustic and refined décor that is inspired by the homes of the French countryside. Also known as Provincial style – which is often a more formal look – French country style features natural elements such as timber whitewashed floors, mismatched décor, aged furniture and exposed ceiling beams. With simple design and natural, practical materials, French country style is perfect for kitchens and dining rooms and can introduce a sense of relaxed warmth to the space.
To begin designing your French country space, start with a basic colour palette of lighter wall colours, such as bright whites or pale blues. Resene Duck Egg Blue and Resene Merino work wonders to create a space that is as elegant as it is relaxing. This dining room puts a contemporary twist on the traditional French country look with walls in Resene Quarter Periglacial Blue, a softly smoke blue with a touch of green. Complemented by the floor in Resene Wan White and accents in Resene Powder Blue, the room takes on a sense of pastel perfection that alludes to French country while carving its own path in the modern world.
Creating a home with French country style that is casual and summery is all about cultivating a rustic space that exudes warmth and cosiness. An easy way to kick-start your design is with a subtle colour palette overflowing with warm neutrals – think creamy whites, pale blues and butter yellows. French country style is simple at heart and champions imperfection, celebrating aged décor and mismatched furniture. If you’re after a darker, slightly more formal look, consider switching out some of those bright yellow and whites for elements in deep blues and greys, such as these sophisticated dining room chairs and pendant light in Resene Shadowy Blue. The idea of creating alternative scenes with the same base colour palette is great to keep in mind when transitioning between seasons and adding a few touches to mimic the changing environment outside your window will mean your interiors remain relevant.
What really brings this space to life is the small touches and intricate details, such as the hand-painted daisy artwork. Created using Resene testpots in Resene Periglacial Blue, Resene Quarter Black White and Resene Energy Yellow, this detailed artwork is framed in an appropriately rustic wooden frame and connects different elements of colour in the room. Other suitable artwork for such a space could include abstract paintings with splashes of yellow, blue and green, or visit your nearest second-hand store to find a lush oil landscape that will bring a sense of depth to the space.
French country is all about layering, so be sure to incorporate patterns, including stripes and florals, into the mix alongside classic brickwork and wood panelling. For the French country fanatic, beauty is found in exposure and the obvious tracing of time through elements such as furniture. If you’re unable to get your hands on some vintage furniture, try creating your own faux vintage look with Karen Walker Vintage Wax from Resene ColorShops – it’s easy to use on bare or stained timber and will give your project an instantly aged look. Alternatively, decorating ideas for a French country home could include painting vintage pots and pans to hang on the wall in a gallery-wall style. To finish the look, incorporate accessories that have a natural connection, such as potted plants and wildflowers. Sprinkle some pops of colour throughout the space with bright ceramics, copper elements and thatch baskets.
Project by Melle van Sambeek. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2022
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