If you’re looking for a change with your current decorating scheme why not try adding French Country furniture and a few decorative accents? It’s easier than you think to turn any country kitchen, rustic living room or farmhouse bedroom into the fresh new look of French Country.
Some of your existing furniture may already be a perfect fit but a few relatively inexpensive pieces added with a new set of curtains and pillows might be all that is required. If you want to paint a wall or some of your unfinished pine pieces any color will work for French Country furniture as long as it matches the furnishings you’ve chosen.
Perfect hues come from a sunny warm yellow or a soft gold. Warmer tones of red or burnt orange. Small bursts of deep dark hunter green and a vibrant cobalt blue all work when paired with gentle lavender or the less-purple ocean tones. Add some cool gray tones or sharp black to set off patterns or to weight smaller accent items and you’re all set. If you can imagine the French countryside with it’s gentle sun and rolling fields of lavender, you’ll have it.
French Country Furniture – The New Antique Look
The dining room table at right is a good example of French Country but before you run out to buy this table and chair set, a word of caution. This set makes a bold statement so unless you are absolutely in love with it don’t buy it. Consider that the French have antique dining sets in most of their homes. These may be a little more ornate when compared to the rest of their furniture but they have been handed down from many generations and are often the finest quality antiques. Don’t hesitate to purchase a more traditional set when when redecorating your dining room.
The dining room below or at right – although not ornate – also fits into the French country theme but is a little more realistic in style. You will be able to take this set into more themes as your taste changes and it still carries some of the styling the French are known for.
Furniture that works well when adding in the warm reds might have a rusted metal hue or anodized steel as seen in many of the ceiling fixtures of French Country. The shape of the furniture itself will be clean and bright while the finer pieces will have some detailing.
The final look is a little rustic but very welcoming and comfortable. French country furniture might have some curved panels or hand-carved decorative accents. Some pieces could have oiled wood tops with painted legs. And of course you can’t have a French Country room without a wardrobe or armoire in the corner.
In the dining room, large tables are expected. They can be rectangular or round and should have a low-sheen finish. The detailing in the set will be seen in the chairs where carved arms or legs add charm. Dining chairs are often seen with slatted backs and seats. You can make them more comfortable with some nicely patterned cushions.
French Country Furniture Accents
Speaking of cushions and the fabrics that make this room stunning look for the colors above in faded plaids or checks, toile and Provencal floral prints. Toile is a traditional two tone design that depicts a story and often contains farm animals, the countryside, or courtship scenes of the 18th century. Floral prints will be multi-colored (usually in soft greens, lavender, and orange) and actually originate from India in the 17th century. I will write more about that in another post.
Accents to French Country furnishings include motifs or themes of roosters, lavender, grapes, olives, and sunflowers. All or just a few of these accents on some simple furniture lines will finish the look off nicely. Larger examples of French Country furniture are available for viewing online.