LIKE MODERN MEXICAN FOOD, FRENCH COUNTRY INTERIOR DESIGN IS PERFECT FOR INDECISIVE PEOPLE.
If you love the feminine aspects of Shabby Chic and French Provincial interiors, but at the same time find yourself drooling over the raw, rustic, masculine overtones of Industrial style pieces, don’t worry. You don’t have to choose. French Country style gifts to home decorating enthusiasts what Old El Paso gave to taco lovers around the world and can be summed up by the now-famous words of a young girl: “¿Porque no los dos?”
Also known as French Farmhouse, French Country interiors are, more than anything else, a meeting of opposites. When decorating with this style in mind, balance is key. French Country furniture evokes feelings of casual elegance, finding a sense of equilibrium in contrasting materials, textures and styles. Antique chandeliers, for example, are frequently (and successfully) paired with huge, dark, rustic timber dining tables. Wrought iron is softened with floral fabrics and a gentle colour scheme, just as rough and raw wooden crates balance ornate, curvy, Baroque accessories.
Not sure where to start? Here are five simple steps to get you on your way to creating a stylish, French Country look in your family home.
CALM AND COLLECTED
French Country interiors lean towards a ‘collected’ look, routinely mixing the old and the new, and make a point of steering clear of anything too matchy-matchy. This allows you to decorate your home in on a shoestring budget, eliminating the pressure to buy ‘sets’ and giving you the freedom to pick and choose the individual pieces that look and feel just right.
“I’M GONNA SWING FROM THE CHANDELIER…”
Or maybe not. Sia’s got a great voice and all, but I’m not so keen on her advice. Try your best to get your hands on a beautiful, antique chandelier (or one with a time-worn, vintage look). For an instant injection of signature French Country chic, install one in your dining or living area where everyone can gather and swoon in admiration. Just, you know, don’t swing from it.
Image: Shades of Light
TEXTURED TIMBER TABLE TOPS
Any French Country home would be lost without gorgeous, rustic timber table tops. As a dining table, this is an absolute must when decorating in this style. Choose pieces with a ‘raw’ feel, staying away from anything overly polished and perfected. Many of the products in our collections are built from reclaimed shipping pallets and are brought back to life in a variety of paints and stains (you can even see some of the original nail holes). Not to brag, but we think they’d do quite nicely in a French Country home. Don’t you?
SOFT, FEMININE ACCENTS
A French Country style home just wouldn’t be complete without flowers, either. If you don’t have a botanical garden, or hundreds of dollars to spend on fresh flowers all year round, invest in high quality, artificial flowers and fruits that will look fantastic for years to come. Keep an eye out for cushions in muted, floral fabrics, too. These gentle, feminine elements are essential ingredients when it comes to softening heavier, more rustic furniture items and accessories. Repeat after me: balance is key for French Country!
From humble beginnings in the idyllic rural villages of France, French Country style has since become one of the most popular interior design concepts around the globe, and for good reason: it is simply affordable, elegant and comfortable. Above all, don’t be afraid to mix and match when recreating this look. Keep the word ‘balance’ to the forefront of your mind and you won’t go wrong decorating your home in this casual-yet-sophisticated, inviting style.