Decorating French Country Style


Country style originally out of the European courts when wealthy patrons mimicked the popular styles of the court’s furnishing in their own estates, and then adapted these styles to fit a more practical and utilitarian lifestyle. Many remember the teddy bears and lace, along with the federal blues and muted pinks that personified the 1980s country stle decorating boom. But country style furnishings and decor formed its roots in a much more elegant setting.

These elegant but comfortable and utilitarian roots give us the basic varieties of country style decorating today. They share many of the same characteristics though these varieties are considered distinct styles. Muted colors, handmade furnishings and accessories, and patterns such chunky checks, stripes and florals or hand-woven fabrics are all elements of the country style.

American Country

There are quite a few variants within this class of decorating, and quite a few fans of the decorating style. Americana style is commonly thought of when one says “country style” with emphasis on comfort, warmth and lots of charming decor items, a cluttered. But the original American Country style was simple, and celebrated the idea of craftsmanship with clean lines and handmade furnishings. The types of American Country style like Shaker, Amish, or Arts and Crafts style funishings are still very popular today.

English Country

Think of traditional paintings, Chester sofas, plaids and garden-inspired patterns, and carved detailing in furnishings and decor. English Country is a more formal decorating style than American Country, but is still more relaed than one would have once seen at court. The emphasis is on detailing and elegance, with a comfortable twist.

Spanish Country

It style focuses on vivid but earthy colors, natural woods and art is one of the boldest styles in country decorating. Think exposed beams, plaster or stucco walls, hand-painted pottery and tiles, soft curves and hand-carved furnishings and decor. Religious icons and shapes, such as statues or crosses, are also common elements os Spanish style furnishings and decor.

Italian (Tuscan) Country

The Tuscan Country style often melts the line between indoors and outdoors, currently one of the most celebrated styles of country decorating. Think arm, earthy colors, terra cotta, exposed stone and brick, wrought iron, uncovered windows, natural woods and rough plaster walls. The main inspiration behind this style is found in the Italian people themselves-unpretentious, warm, comfortable and celebratory.

French Country

At first glance, much like the English Country style, also known as the French Provincial style, French Country appears, though French Country has its own distinct elements. With delicate curves, French Country furnishings appear “lighter” than English. Though French Country may contain natural elements, it does not incorporate nature as heartly as the English style. Think natural stone, images roosters or othr farm life, roughened wood, plaster walls, toile fabrics and wrought iron.

You are sure to see lavender fields and bright sunshine when you think of Provence and the French countryside. While there are many elements that contribute to the French Country style of decorating, the resulting look is always rustic, old-world, and welcoming. The look fita well into both country houses and elegant, old chateaux. The French Country style of decorating, with its warm and casual feel fit beautifully into your home as well.

Colors used to decorate in the French Country style come from the full spectrum of the color wheel. Cobalt blue and soft ocean tones, bright grass green and dark hunter green, sunny yellow and soft gold, firey red and burnt rust–all these are found in this wonderful decorating style. Bright black and dull grays punctuate the bright colors and define accessory pieces. Rusted metal furniture, lighting fixtures, and furniture give warm color and wonderful lines.

The use natural materials is an important element in piece used in French Country style decoration. Rough stained or painted plaster walls, hefty beamed ceilings and walls, delicate carved wood details, and chair seats woven of rush give texture and simplicity to the look. Natural stone floors are covered with wool or cotton rugs. No real French Country home is complete without a stone fireplace. A heavy beam at the top of the opening serves as a mantle. Tiles, either stone or ceramic, form the border.

The hearth is clay or brick, and herbs, copper pots, and iron accessory pieces hang on the side walls. If you are going to use the French Country style of decorating in your home, read on for more ideas on how to create the look. To feel comfortable with this style, use some or all of the elements.

 To achieve a French Country look for your home, architectural features like stone walls and floors, raw wood distressed ceiling beams and timbers, and irregular plaster walls form the frame of a home decorated in the French Country style. The ambiance of curved panels, hand decorations, and raw wood become new or reproduction rustic furniture. No room decorated in the French Country style would be without an armoire to store pots and pans, clothing, bed or bath linens, or tableware.

Pieces with contrasting texture and color are typical of French Country interiors. Pale plaster walls and ceilings are punctuated with dark rough wood beams. Colorful Provencal printed fabrics are set off against light-toned natural seating. A large dining table, rectangular or round, must have a dull waxed or low-sheen finish. Curved and carved details grace dining and occasional chairs. Chairs are either ladderback style or have vertical slats, often with rush seating. Rustic flooring is of stone, clay, or brick. Old wooden boards work well, too. The focus here is on old and charming.

Traditional French Country products and motifs include roosters, olives, sunflowers, grapes, lavendar, and beetles. The designs are often arranged in regular intervals, bordered by a wide panel of the motifs in different scale. This is typical for textile products such as table cloths and curtain panels. The beautiful colors of the French Countryside decorate fabrics used in French Country decorating. The traditional fabrics combine well with basic plaids, checks, and stripes in modem homes. Provencal pronts combine shades of primary colors with greens, lavendars, and bright orange.

A white, cream, or yellow ground has large motifs in a single contrasting color, such as black, blue, red, or green. Toile is a traditional design for French Country fabrics. Toile themes include farm animals, monkeys and Chinese patterns, bucolic country scenes, or courting scenes of the 18th century. Most toile patterns are printed on linen or cotton.

A room decorated in the French Country style by generous baskets woven or wire baskets, colorful ceramics and tiles, carved wood pieces, and Chinoiserie pottery, and natural grasses. Old, dark or colorful paintings adorn the walls. Lush natural flowers are everywhere. Baskets, an old pitcher or copper pot, or clear glass vases hold flowers inside and out. The aim is to bring the wonderful colors and textures of nature into home.

Basics of French Country decorating has a warm, comfortable feeling. Think sunny, it is best to stay on the warm side of the color wheel with color that have medium to low intensity. Originating in the sunny vineyards and fields of Franch, French Country decor is popular worldwide. It is because of it is casual elegance, sunny splashes of color, and emphasis on natural and rustic accessories.

The furnishing should have graceful and simple lines. French Country features lots of painted furniture. Buying older distressed furniture would be a perfect fit for this style. Wrought iron or rusted metal accents are essential. Fabric in this style are wide-ranging, but relay on toile, a very traditional fabric. You can partner toile with strips, plaids, or solid-anything goes!

Lots of jars holding food staples is a French Country kitchen features in the kitchen. To duplicate the look, find old covered jars at thrift shops or garage sales. Add hand painted labels or print them on your home printer. Use old quaint street or grocery signs for wall decor. Again you can make your own. For inexpensive wall plaques or metal signs, just search out craft stores. To hang pots or utensils, use a wrought iron wall planter. To hold them secure, just add inexpensive hooks.

Whitewash old mismatched chairs and use a round wrought iron patio or garden table for an inexpensive dining set for a traditional French Country dining room in the dining room. And windows in French Coutry rooms should not be weighted down by heavy drapes in the living room. Instead add lacy panels to let the sun shine in while still providing privacy. Try a wrought iron garden bench with pillows for the look of a window seat in front of the window.

To make a great headboard, an old iron garden gate would be good in the bedroom. As a sitting area, use an old metal garden bench at the end of the bed. To bring the comfortable feel into the room, dresser painted colors and distressed should be there. To hold towels and wash clothes, use wrought iron towel racks or old vintage wrought iron fruit bowls in the bathroom. Use an old painted buffet as a vanity for the sink.

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