Think France, think chic! There’s a reason Paris is regarded as the fashion capital of the world, after all. Endless books have been written about chic Parisian style and we’ll never forget the famous Sex and the City finale, or that wonderful Parisian je ne sais quoi.
But it’s not all about the city! Think of the French countryside and soon you’ll be imagining beautiful dilapidated barns, long lazy lunches filled with plenty of bread and wine, and sunlit strolls through endless meadows… Or have we just been reading too much of Mimi Thorisson’s blog?
Sadly a life nestled in the French countryside isn’t on the cards for all of us, but we can certainly channel a bit of that French country style at home.
Start with the walls
Start at the beginning: it’s a very good place to start. The French Country style is no place for clean white or boring beige – instead, embrace muted hues. A chalky pale green or a gentle soft blue would be lovely, or perhaps contemporary mushroom? Alternatively, nothing will give you that shabby chic French look like wallpaper, especially if it’s in a vintage style. This is no place for a trendy statement wall, however, so make sure it’s wrapped around the entire room.
On the other hand, the French Country style is one where exposed brick still works wonderfully. If it’s an option for you, exposed stone can be the perfect backdrop to a country decor.
Unsurprisingly, choosing the right furniture will be key for this particular look. Okay, we might be a little biased, but we think our Country Cottage range is perfect for giving your home that French Country feel. With its soft off-white color and natural wood accents, this collection is the perfect blend of old-school style and contemporary design. What could be more French than that?
Spend a weekend rummaging around antique rooms, thrift stores or flea markets for vintage finds to pair with your Country Cottage range. Use your imagination and, in no time, you’ll have the perfect vintage mirror or floral fabric to reupholster a modern chair. Think of two key things: traditional, and timeless.
Bring the outdoors indoors
Living in the countryside is all about making the most of it – so even if you don’t, pretend that you do! Bring as much of the natural world into your home as possible, but remember to keep it rustic – no manicured displays of tulips and roses here, please! Imagine a wildflower meadow and use that as your inspiration, instead. Bunches of wildflowers will look gorgeous in various places around the house, or for a longer-lasting, low-maintenance approach use strings of fake ivy looped around the headboard of your bed.
French Country decor is anything but polished, and a long way from proper. Shabby chic is ‘shabby’ for a reason, remember! Don’t be afraid of clutter, and keep far away from anything ‘minimalist’. Too much storage is the enemy, so display your favorite trinkets on your furniture rather than tucked away – either in rustic trays or on top of an old lace tablecloth.
Print out some of your favorite photos in black and white, and display them in rusted brass or gold frames. You could even wrap a strand of vintage pearls around for a bit of that throwaway chic style.
Knock on wood
Wood is an absolutely crucial part of French Country style. To add an instant rustic feel to any kind of home, all you need are some beautiful wooden accents. You could keep it simple with a wooden mirror – which would look perfect displayed above a fireplace, if you have one – or go all out and invest in a solid hardwood hutch to display all your shabby chic trinkets. Our French Farmhouse hutch is the perfect fit – especially with a name like that!
What do you think – will you be channelling your inner Frenchman and injecting some of this look into your home? Perhaps you already have! If so, we’d love to see. Send us pictures of how you’re styling your Country Cottage or French Farmhouse furniture on Twitter @USAOakFurniture or with the hashtag #OFLUSA on Instagram.