French Country Decor Styles
Have you ever found yourself trawling through websites, trying to find French Country styles but then receiving results that all look so different? Some images can look very rustic, whilst others are more ornate. This is because French Country décor is inspired by different types of French countryside homes of the past. The style varied drastically not only between regions, but also between social classes. The French Country style can typically be divided into three main sub-categories: French Provincial, French Farmhouse and Chateau.
1. French Provincial – “Elegance and Warmth”
This style was mostly adopted by those living in Provence around the 17th and 18th centuries. Many people of this time could not afford the grand furniture seen in palaces. They therefore replicated the elegant furniture using more cost-effective materials but complemented them with beautiful, detailed French fabrics. This style is mostly associated with the earthy, sunny tones of Provence, along with the purple hues from the fields of lavender. Olive green, ochre, terracotta and purples all feature heavily in the French Provincial palette.
2. French Farmhouse – “Rustic”
The French Farmhouse style is very old and has a strong rustic feel. As the name suggests, it is representative of old French farmhouses. Most of the furniture is made from old, light and raw wood. The wood is occasionally painted but with a chippy or heavily-distressed finish. The furniture is simple and there are few ornaments. However, rattan baskets and bird cages are popular in this style of home. The soft furnishings are typically neutral, with time-worn upholstery and deconstructed armchairs.
3. Chateau – “Ornate”
So far you will have noticed that French Country is heavily characterised by a mix of elegance and rusticity. The French Farmhouse style is very rustic whereas the Provincial style is warmer. For me, the Chateau style is just on the verge of French Country because it is less about the country homes and more about luxury, space and grandeur. Historically, this style has typically been used to demonstrate a person’s social class. The furniture is very elegant and of good, antique quality (typically with gold embellishments) and the accessories (like clocks and chandeliers) are very luxurious. Unlike with the other styles, you can dare to mix fabric patterns and colours but be careful not to go overboard!
Remember that you do not need to stick with only one of the French Country sub-styles. You can include several in your home. The most important thing is to stay authentic and to keep in mind that it is not only a style, but a lifestyle that needs to be right for you.