There's a certain je ne sais quoi about French country decor: the effortlessness, the curation, the subtle glimmers of personality. It can seem aspirational and hard to achieve, but it's not—just allow us to break it down for you. This style is all about mixing and matching. Combining natural materials, muted paint colors, toile fabrics, extravagant lighting, touches of gold, woven tapestries, and more—all with a rustic touch. Throw matching sets to the curb and focus on antiques rather than buying new. French country decor is less about adhering to trends or buying must-have pieces and instead buying what makes you happy and finding a place for it among your existing collections.
The overall affect of French country decor is meant to be warm, welcoming, and casual. As far as what colors to use and not use, there aren't very many rules. Any color can work in French country decor—it's all about tone. Opt for a pastel blue rather than a cobalt, or stick to forest green instead of a jewel-toned emerald. In a French country kitchen, copper and antique brass are the two most popular metal choices for hardware and appliances.
To spark your inspiration and maybe even help you envison a redesign, we've gathered 32 stylish examples of the French country design style, from modern interpretations and eclectic visions to classic renditions. Read on to get to know its characteristics and become inspired to incorporate French country decor in every room in your house.
Rather than opt for patterned wallpaper or a solid wash of paint, designer Erin Martin went a third route: a large mural. Accentuating the arched ceiling, the symmetrical painting brings attention to the room's curves and soft natural light.
Powder rooms often lack the furniture required for a true design moment, but that doesn't mean French country decor stops at the doorway. In this powder room by Mallory Kaye, an antique table gets new life as a vanity, and a stone sink adds rustic flair.
Antiques on Display
Without the gleaming metal pot rail, this kitchen by designers Carey Maloney and Hermes Mallea might look sparse and bare. Not only do the copper pots add warmth and character, but the rail also offers extra storage for the collection to grow over time.
Unlike modernism's sleek straight lines, French country decor embraces curves and soft edges. In this Ariel Okin– designed New York apartment, a scalloped console table and whimsical lamps soften the room's architecture.
To fully embrace French country design's signature coziness, you need ample seating. Opt for neutral upholstery with punches of patterns for an eclectic look. If printed seating isn't enough, use your ceiling as another canvas.
Rather than a stark white, designer Meta Coleman painted this pantry a buttery yellow to complement the warm-toned hardwood floors. Combined with the other two primary colors, this simple palette yields a space that is anything but.
Cubism On Display
In the dining room of this Cape Cod estate, designer Kathryn M. Ireland chose a sea-grass rug to cover the floor and reupholstered the owners' Gustavian chairs to keep a traditional touch. And then there's that fun Cubist moment in the corner.
With layers of laidback linens in a variety of hues, this bedroom exudes warmth and timeless taste. The tall upholstered headboard brings in some bright, playful tones while sticking to the distressed character of French country design.
Interior French doors are a bucket list item as far as chateau-inspired decor goes. In this grand living room by Romanek Design Studio, the pared-back design set against the backdrop of a classic, ornate architectural canvas represents a modern take on classic French country decorating.
The gorgeous, large-scale antique lighting in this foyer really sets the tone for the rest of the home. The exposed beams, stone tile floors, and understated console table introduce that French country rustic look.
Channel Marie Antoinette with cheerful pastels, layered prints, curvy lines, and fun details, like a fringed awning. Here, John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon painted a jaunty mint green and white diamond pattern to disguise the damaged parquet floors. "That was more than seven years ago, and the paint has held up—proof that painted floors are practical and full of pizzazz," they say, adding, "dining chairs move around so much easier on a wood surface than on carpet."
In the dining room of this Manhattan duplex, designed by Garrow Kedigian, is a circa-1900 mahogany table that's surrounded by antique chairs that were purchased at a Paris flea market and re-covered in a Schumacher velvet.
Another common characteristic in French Country design is furniture with slim profiles. Read: Ditch your bulkier items. Looking for a way to put a more modern spin on it? Designer Corey Damen Jenkins mixes colorful abstract art and modern photography with more classic elements, like the antique desk and accessories while the lucite chair provides some contemporary flair.
White painted bricks and stone tile floors set the country chic scene in this kitchen. And with that wrought-iron hardware and hanging copper cookware, we can almost smell the French food from here.
Robust Gallery Walls
A full gallery wall complete with antique gilt frames and classic portraits is a great way to introduce dimension in the living room. And of course, a Louise XV-style settee is always a good touch.
Exposed ceiling beams, distressed wood floors, colorful textiles, and antique paintings and trays on display create a truly charming dining nook.
Studio Razavi gave this historic home in Lyon, France, some modern updates while still honoring the integrity of the space. The floating shelves and bright emerald green accents and blond flooring anchor the living room in the modern era while the raw materials of the mantel and exposed beams stay true to its history.
Designer Darryl Carter added wood beams and trusses to this 1980s living room for a storied French country feel.
To mimic the rustic look of French country decor in a more modern way, opt for a jute rug in the living room. Then upholster a classic Louis XVI-style seat in a fun, contemporary fabric and adorn your walls with abstract art.
Though this sink area boasts a decidedly modern aesthetic, there are many French country-inspired details throughout the space. For example, the antique trays, water cans, and glass vases.
How to Feng Shui Your Bedroom
Everything To Know About Tudor Style Homes
30 Minimalist Living Room Ideas We Love
Is White Subway Tile Overrated?