When it is time to decorate you need to decide what kind of style is best suited to your taste and to the house itself. There are a lot of different styles to consider for example country, oriental, traditional, rustic, contemporary (to name just a few) and the theme we are looking at here, French. A French-inspired room can mean different things to different people, it may be French country popular in kitchens especially, or something more modern. One designer has broken the French style down into four themes, French Country, French Provence, French Chateau and French Paris. Each of these four themes can be divided into another two categories for example Paris may be Coco Haute Couture or might be Bohemian. The Chateau style is a crisp one, grand lighting, linens that are crisp and silver that is polished and gleaming. The country style invokes feelings of warmth, charm with a mixture of rustic and elegant accessories. Provencal styled rooms have a Mediterranean feel to them and look simple and natural. It uses white as its main color with splashes of deep yellows, reds, greens and blues. This article will give you some ideas on how to use French themed home décor in the different rooms of your house successfully.
French-Inspired Home Design Ideas
A French themed Kitchen
As mentioned the most commonly used French theme for the kitchen is the French country one. This kind of kitchen has a rustic but elegant feel, is warm and inviting with some elements of classic French design. Here are some ideas on what you can do in your kitchen to adopt this theme.
French theme kitchen
Cabinets and furniture – Often a kitchen like this has cabinetry that is furniture styled and includes details like armoire style panels built in on refrigerator’s doors and an island that has an antique furniture look and feel to it. Cabinets can be given an old look to their surface and things like old doors can be re-purposed for a vintage feel. Have a mix of materials around the kitchen, aged wood, stainless steel, copper, iron, slate to give an impression of history. Make sure you change the cabinet handles and drawer knobs to something suitable. The key to this part of the décor is the weathered look to give that feeling of age. For the counter tops consider using a stone material like granite or marble. Stenciled flowers on the cabinets are something some people like to do.
Color and walls – One scheme that would be effective is a creamy yellow on the walls, with sage and muted greys in the rest of the room. Another is blue and white. Other colors that can be used include gold, ivory, fiery red, grass and dark greens and ocean colors. Touches of earth tones would look good, natural browns and beige. If there are old brick walls or beams have them exposed. The walls can also have some stenciling on them if you like that kind of thing. A kitchen can also have artwork up choosing country style paintings that fit in.
Windows – Have a fabric curtain hanging from a bronze curtain rod, something floral would work well, or you could choose something with checks and stripes. Make sure you choose colors that are appropriate to the style and suit the rest of the room. Avoid modern looking curtains and opt for fabric that feels cozy and rustic. Toile makes a good choice here.
Accessories – Use old jars from thrift shops as a way to store things. Hand old grocery signs on the wall. Wrought iron wall planters can be used to hang pans or utensils from. Have old vessels on display on open shelves like copper pots, and include silk or dried flower arrangements. Have a kitchen blackboard up somewhere. Use antiques or antique looking items like an old clock, and old iron egg holders. Display rustic styled pottery, use wicker baskets. Window boxes are another opportunity to develop the theme by using old watering cans or tins. You do not need to visit France or import from there to achieve a French theme for your kitchen from its accessories. There are many home stores and places online that will have a wide selection of items for you to choose from depending on your needs and budget. Some popular themes for accessories include roosters, grapes, leaves and sunflowers.
Lighting – To add some elegance to the rustic charm have a gold finish on the light fixtures. Use overhead lighting as well as spot lighting for areas that will be worked in like the sink area. You could opt for a chandelier with crystal scones or lamps. Make sure whatever you choose it is decorative, nothing too modern and do not get anything too big as that will make the room feel smaller.
Bringing the French to your Dining Room
Many house owners will choose to have a French country style dining room if they have opted for that style in their kitchen to tie the two rooms together. A good way to balance the two rooms is to have a rustic kitchen touched with elegance, and an elegant dining room with touches of the rustic. However you choose to incorporate the French theme home décor in your dining room make sure it still reflects your taste and preferences. Here are some ideas you might want to consider.
Dining and Kitchen
Furniture – You can opt for something rustic and simple for the table and chairs, using aged dark pieces of wood. Pieces with off white paint are common too. For something inexpensive consider having whitewashed mismatched old chairs around a wrought iron patio table.
Accessories – More wrought iron accessories can be used around the room to decorate it. The rooster is a common theme used in some French themed dining rooms, and you can also continue to use apothecary jars and old signs as further additions to the room. Lavender is a popular flower used in this kind of design but any other flower is also appropriate, dry or fresh or silk arrangements. Some genuine French antiques would also be great but you can get reproductions that look good for a fraction of the price.
Color and walls – As with the kitchen you are looking at cheerful colors like yellows, gold, pinks, lavender, reds with hints or splashes of blues and green if you wish. Curtains in Toile in reds or blues are most commonly used but greens, blues or browns would also work. Consider having a large painting as a focal point in the room for dinner guests to enjoy perhaps a landscape of the French Provencal country side. Alternatively if you wish to add both color and texture to the walls consider a hanging tapestry.
Lighting – As with any room getting the lighting right is as crucial as any other element. A dining room is going to be used for a variety of purposes, family get together, formal dinners, romantic meals for two. You need to choose lighting that is going to work with each of those scenarios while still in keeping with the décor. Have some wall lamps or standing lamps as well as a hanging fixture to give you options and have the lights on dimmers. An armoire in here to display the good china would look great and have some spot lighting to bring out the deep richness of the wood and the porcelain itself. Use dark carved metal for the mountings such as wrought iron.
Living it up French Style in the Living Room
The living room is an important room of the house where the family gathers at the end of the day, where you want to unwind and where you bring guests. There are several options to think about when looking at how to incorporate a French style in the living room.
Living room with rustic French theme
Windows – Depending on the style you are looking for depends on the types of curtains you want. In a luxurious room heavy drapes would look good, in something more casual use lacy material. If possible have large windows to allow plenty of light in, perhaps create a window seat in front of it using re-purposed wood or a wrought iron bench, with some cushions.
Color and walls – French country is not the only style you can choose as discussed at the start of this article. The living room is a place where you can be more luxurious if you want to, or more streamlined. Something glamorous and elegant on the walls would be a pale color like mint, cream, gray or blue, and then have touches of gold or silver around the room and accents of white. Something more dramatic might be rich colors like teal, peacock blue, teal or emerald greens with accents of white or black. If you prefer wallpaper go for ornate patterns and bold designs in authentic French designs. A great option is to combine paint and wallpaper by creating an accent wall that is wallpapered and the rest of the room can be painted. Your accessories are a place you can continue to add color to the room, a peacock blue rug, gold trim, brass candlesticks, and so on.
Furniture – Your furniture would in an ideal world be authentic vintage or antique pieces from France that look elegant. Backs of chairs, legs and arms have carvings and it should be either in a dark wood or painted black or white with some gilting. However replica furniture can be just as attractive, practical and is definitely more affordable. Coverings and cushions should be opulent so think of materials like silk, satin, damask, brocade, lace, velvet and of course toile. Other pieces like a chaise lounge, a French styled sofa, an armoire or a little bistro table and chairs set tucked in the corner may be a good fit. Your style of furniture really depends on the what kind of French look you are going for, you can get furniture in styles like Baroque, Rococo, Renaissance, classic revival as well as provincial.
Lighting – Crystal chandeliers for a grand room add elegance and interest if your room has a high enough ceiling. You can have ones that shine light down or up. Have wall lamps or scones that are gilt and opulent shades using silk, and fringed.
Accessories – A decorative mirror would look great and would help reflect light around the room. Mount pictures in black or white frames. Have some French art on the walls, for those of us who cannot afford an original Monet there are always prints! Dried or fresh flower arrangements, perfume bottles, candles, pottery animals, crystal, candy tins, even bottles of wine are things that can be used to add different objects of interest. Check out your local flea market or online for some great deals.
Classy living room
Oo la la in the Bedroom
The bedroom is a great place to bring French design too, France and Paris is after all meant to be the place for love and romance! Here are some ideas to create a retreat from the world and a place you can relax, sleep and romance in.
Parisian bedroom design
Accessories – Some wrought iron art on the wall, candles arranged around the room, layers of woven tapestries. Glass ornaments will add some refinement and elegance. Any pillows in the room should have detailing on them such as embroidery, trims or piping. Have a French print or painting hanging on the wall in antique frames.
Lighting – Another chandelier if you want one! This time have it in a delicate style. Also have delicate lamps in the room perhaps Tiffany styled. You might even decide to have wall sconces here. Have it all on a dimmer switch.
The bed – A metal bed frame would look great, in wrought iron even better. If you are in to re-purposing items how about finding an old iron gate from a flea market and using it as a headboard. The wrought iron will help balance out the other more feminine touches. Or you can get a bed made from distressed wood with carvings on the legs and headboard. Your duvet can be one of a number of options as there are many French style designs available. Something classical would be a cream background with delicate flowers on it. Add some textured cushions to the bed too, some oversized pillows, bolster cushions and some throws. If you want to go full out a four poster bed would be fantastic with ornate carvings and details on it and gauzy material hanging around it and make a canopy. Use more luxurious sheets.
Furniture – Place an old wrought iron garden bench at the end of the bed as a place to sit. Have an armoire as well as other regular bedroom furniture like dressers. Paint the furniture white or eggshell paint and then distress it by sanding certain parts of it down to the natural wood color beneath. Have wooden knobs on drawers and use stenciling or wallpaper the back of the dressers to finish the look. You could also opt for dark wood furniture. Find yourself an antique dresser and side table or look for a good reproduction. Remember even in the bedroom that French style furniture should have some elaborate carvings.
Color and walls – Cream is a great choice as items on display will look good but it still has some warmth. It also helps make the room seem larger and with a mirror or two will lighten the room. Other options would be something from the soft pastel colors like a pale blue or soft green. If you prefer to wallpaper choose something with a European pattern that has plaids, toile or pinstripes for example.
Floors – If possible have the bare floorboards exposed and then paint them cream too or a grey or light blue. If it gets cold on the feet in the winter have a rug or two down that fits with the style.
Windows – Full length curtains in a simple style that can be tied back to frame the windows will give a Parisian feel though you can go with simple white shutters if you prefer. Have wrought iron curtain rods to hang them from.
Clean French style in the Bathroom
Another important room of the house whether you want to re-decorate the main bathroom or your en suite, it is possible to bring French themed décor to this room too. You want natural elements here and the details are important so here are some for you to think about.
French bathroom design
Color and walls – The color scheme here would be similar to the bedroom. White, cream or soft pastel colors. Avoid bright or bold colors.
Furniture – Have an elegant vanity in there that has been adapted to be used in the bathroom. They can be customized to hold a sink and taps if you ask. Consider getting a claw foot bath tub. Use a traditional dresser for storage, have an intricate framed mirror.
Accessories – Again bring in some wrought iron. This time you could have it as a towel holder, or use old wrought iron bowls as soap or had towel holders. Have large shells around the bath or sink, use French fabric that has been coated to be waterproof for the shower curtain if you are having one and for the window curtains. Include a collection of French soap dishes or ceramic jars that hold dried or fresh flowers. Avoid over cluttering though, your bathroom should be a place with light and space where you can relax.
Elegant French bathroom design
Flooring – Since we are trying to incorporate natural materials your floor should be something like stone or slate ideally, or terra cotta tiles or wood. Make sure the floor can handle some water of course!
Soap! – Add some French style soap to the bathroom for an authentic touch! It can be soap you use, and you can also have some intricately packed soap that is for display. Cinnamon and Orange, Honeysuckle, Coconut oil soaps are all ones with great smells and would compliment the French themed bathroom. Each has anti-bacterial or antibiotic properties too.