The Timeless Elegance of French Country Home Decor

The pandemic, increasingly long work days, and winter cold has Americans dreaming of life in the European countryside now more than ever. On the chance that this idyllic dream is just that, it can serve as an inspiration for creating a timeless and elegant ambiance in your own home. In this blog post, we'll explore the world of French country home decor, its history, key elements, and how to bring this enduring style into your living spaces.

Woman stands at a sink in an old French kitchen cutting vegetables. She wears a white linen dress and has long dark hair

1. Understanding French Country Decor

  • Origins of French Country Decor: French country decor draws inspiration from rural France, particularly the Provence and Loire Valley regions. French country decor originated not out of a specific design, but rather practicality, family size and orientation, and a lack of exorbitant financial resources. 

  • Characteristics: Many French country homes have large sturdy wood tables to acomodate the traditionally large family size and the need for a sturdy, long lasting surface. Stone floors and big windows were typical of the area, designed to let the natural light in and insulate the home from colder weather.

Living room with two large white couches and brown wooden beams.


2. Color Palette and Materials

  • Color Choices: French country decor includes muted earthy color palettes and fabrics, again chosen for their practicality. Whites, yellows, and soft blues kept the sometimes dark cottages cheery, while linen and cotten were fabrics easily available and relatively affordable in the area, as opposed to the silks and velvets found in higher-end areas of the country.

  • When selecting a color palette for your home, we would suggest sticking to off-white neutrals—cream, taupe, and grey are great ways to add warmth and depth to your home while keeping things timeless. And we will always choose linen, wool, and other natural fibers over synthetic ones. We love tossing our Thieffry linen tablecloths on for a rustic yet elevated look at the table.
  • Materials: When selecting materials for your home, opt for natural ones like wood, stone, and rustic metals. While it's not strictly necessary, bonus points if you're reusing old materials for that distressed and timeless look.

Kitchen table with grey plates, bowls, and vase. Bottle of wine sits on the table and yellow light streams through the window.

3. Furniture and Accessories

  • Furniture Styles: The classic French country furniture styles, include armoires, farm tables, and upholstered pieces. Buying these items new can cost a pretty penny, so take your time furnishing your home. Keep an eye out on online web markets and antique shows. 

  • Accessories: While French Country Decor may be simple, it isn't plain! Be sure to add your personality to the mix with some family artifacts as well as vintage French pottery, old mirrors, artwork, and more.

Rustic French kitchen shelf with pots has a big vase of yellow flowers below and a bowl of yellow lemons in a wooden vessel.



4. Bringing the Outdoors In

  • Floral and Botanical Elements: Because food and nature are such an integral part of French country living, be sure to bring the outdoors in with fresh herbs in the kitchen, wood stacked by the fireplace, and a large flower arrangement on the table.

  • Indoor Plants: If you want to keep a more permanent plant inside, we'd opt for something like lavender or an olive tree to keep the Mediterranean spirit alive. 


Living room with large dark couches, black chandelier, and olive tree sits in corner. It's daytime.



5. Lighting

  • Lighting: Because French Country Decor originated long before electricity did, many classic lighting ideas revolve around candlelight. From chandeliers to wall sconces, adding warm, moody light is sure to set you on the right path.

 Mimi Thorisson stands with her son in her arms. She's in her kitchen wearing a short black dress. The kitchen floor has red and white checkered tiles and a large black range.


6. Creating the French Country Kitchen

  • Kitchen Design: Again, practicality is key with any design, but especially with French Country Decor. As you think about designing your kitchen, choose trends that actually make sense, like open shelving, a farmhouse sink, and a rustic kitchen island, perfect for gathering and cooking large family meals around.

  • Culinary Decor: The products you use in your house often speak louder than the architecture or decor itself. When selecting cutlery and plates, choose heritage brands like La Rochere glasses and Laguiole cutlery. And of course we can't forget to mention our new dinnerware line, Avoine et Terre, which has the perfect French Country Decor look. 

Large open concept bedroom with large bed on the right side. It has white linens on it, a large area rug, and a crystal chandelier up above.


7. The French Country Bedroom

  • Bedroom Design: When creating your perfect bedroom, don't forget the importance of romance to the French. Go with subtle touches like vintage headboards, soft bedding, and neutral color schemes to give a dream-like serene ambiance to your bedroom.

  • Textiles: Begin by layering soft, textured linens and adding accent pillows, hanging robes, soft lighting, and your favorite hand cream to complete the look.

Wooden table sits in a brightly lit kitchen. Flowers are on the table and the pantry behind the table has it's doors open. The floor is white tile with small black tiles in between.


8. Final Thoughts and Inspiration

Conclusion: French country home decor is all about capturing the timeless elegance of the French countryside in your living spaces. By embracing natural materials, soft color palettes, and vintage elements, you can create a warm and inviting ambiance that never goes out of style. Incorporate these ideas into your home, and you'll soon be enjoying the enduring charm of French country decor.

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