French Country Decorating

French country decorating is characterized by charm and its versatility of being relaxed yet refined.

It offers comfort and tradition with a matchless mix of the familiar, (much like the way of French living) giving life and reference to the past. There are no so called “rules” and interiors vary widely with warmth and sophistication. Here are four key French decorating tips and key elements to French country decorating:

Color: The colors are rich and vibrant or a subdued earth tone drawing its radiance from nature. The colors of nature never clash and so nearly anything goes.

french country decorating Blues of the Mediterranean to the violet blue of the lavender fields. Sunflower yellow, poppy reds, leafy greens and stone gray from the landscape, olives and plum from the vineyards are all colors that work.

Introduce color with fabric, furniture, floor coverings, tile, paint, art and accessories.

Light: Light plays off color, furnishings and textures differently. Some surfaces absorb light while others reflect light. Too much light is jarring and cast shadows.


Strike a balance with French country lighting between shadow and light to flatter everything in the room.

Texture: Rooms are more interesting layering an intriguing mix of textures creating a sensuous and comfortable interior. Achieve balance by mixing fabrics, wall and floor coverings with slate, iron, rush and other natural materials.

Combine a strong surface with soft, light with dark, old and new, sophisticated with relaxed.

Scale: Large scaled furniture and accessories are favored.


Even in smaller living quarters and French country home designs think “over scale” and opt for fewer furnishings. Scaled up pieces suggest roominess and individual pieces are appreciated more. Successful rooms will have balance but not symmetrical which allows the oversized furnishings to work.

Furnishings, and French country furniture has been passed down for generations one to the next. The eclectic furnishings from different eras (many can be flea market finds) mix well, giving the space a welcome feel and are less serious. Fill your rooms with comfortable overstuffed sofas and chairs with rolled arms that invite you to sit.

Large handsomely carved armoires with curved bonnets,

french country decorating commodes with intriguing hardware, ladies’ desks, console tables with graceful cabriole legs, and hutches that answer the call for storage and aesthetics.

Stone, tile and wood are natural choices for flooring with French country decorating. Floors are left bare or covered with faded oriental rugs and Aubussons that evoke an antique air, or a bordered sisal.

Walls are painted, papered or a trompe l’oeil, which is making a flat surface to appear as a three-dimensional painting or mural.


Fabric billows on skirted tables, canopy beds, pillows and throws.

Window treatments often “puddle” on the floor with details of a luxurious fringe and tassels for an artful touch.

This style of interior has a passion for the finishing touches of French country decor such as potted plants, cut flowers and the romance of this old world elegance continues outdoors with French country gardens.

french country garden

The French also have a passion for fine food and if you do too, here are some fabulous French cooking recipes to love, and more French country decorating ideas to savor.

French country home decorating offers a lot of freedom and expression of an individuality as distinctive as your personality (as does flea market decorating).