When you decorate a room in a French Country theme you simply can not forget the French curtains. This can make or break the look you’re trying to achieve.
One major and distinguishing style element of this themed look is found in the specialty curtains. There is not one design or look to French curtains. They can be long and flowing – with a valance or topper – or either style, alone.
The fabrics and prints used in French Country decor range from muted tones of beige, soft yellows, and whites. Rooms that can take the extra punch carry interesting toiles in a variety of colors.
There are very few rules of thumb to follow but are primarily based on the size of the room. Although there are various directions to go with these window treatments, (i.e. long drapes, short valances, heavy fabrics, airy and so on) each will work just fine with this decorating trend.
Style decisions for French curtains are made on color scheme of the room, personal preferences, and window or room size. When in doubt over length, as a general rule long curtains are more formal, short curtains considered casual.
Take a look at some French Country decorating books and you’ll find rooms that have whitewashed wood, sun-bleached walls, and fabrics that tell a story (toile variations). Bedroom suit flowers in toile, while kitchens often sport farm scenes (roosters and cattle).
Creams mixed with black and white can also be found in the vast majority of French country curtains, short or long.
Larger rooms can easily accommodate heavy and luxurious fabrics and smaller rooms look gorgeous in French lace or flowing sheers.
If you have a smaller room and need a little color in your French Country curtains, consider light blue or pale green walls with a touch of Tuscan yellow. That soft faded look in the room is what you’re after – somewhat vintage, if not antiqued.
The furniture is often sparse and harmonic (balanced) whether you shoot for farm French or rich French. Mixing and matching these two styles works equally well as many bedrooms sport ornate and detailed iron beds with country cottage bedding.
Tips for Finding Your Perfect French Country Curtains
- Lace curtains. Preferably French lace, but you can fake it and this still looks great. Lace can be white, off white, or even a soft wash of color. Hang the lace curtains on their own during the summer, then add a thicker panel over top in a toile print for the cooler months.
- Toile originated in France, so use it often. Toile was once hard to find, but is growing in popularity and you can now find many different styles, stories, thickness, and colors in toile fabric.
- Floral prints. Think of the French country side. Lavender, poppies, heirloom roses, and sage abound. Reflect these colors and plants in your French Country curtains.
- Plaids. Plaids in French Country themes are in soft pastels.
The possibilities are endless for French curtains. Once you start looking you’ll find it is hard to choose and may eventually want to decorate your entire home in this style. Just keep in mind that colors on the light/bright side work well but if you go for a floral print, choose one on a white or cream background to get the look.
More on French Country Decorating
French Country decorating is an eclectic mix of richness and warm with whimsy and time honored tradition. It’s a tough look to pull off and still have comfortable easy living, but you’ll know when you ‘get it right’. (read the rest of this decorating article here…)