In the States, it’s easy to get confused about what things France is really responsible for. We’ve got French fries and French toast to go with our French braids and French manicures. The origins of these and others are, at the very least, suspicious.
In the tradition of the real France comes French country decorating. As a look, it’s gaining popularity; easy to understand once you’ve seen it. Characterized by natural materials and fine craftsmanship, it is as cozy as it is compelling. As long as it stays true to its roots, French country decorating is destined to join the ranks of champagne and the baguette as an authentic and wonderful import.
French Country Decorating
When something goes onto a wall or is placed on a counter, it can have function as well as form. French country accentuates fine craftsmanship by letting functional items become decoration in themselves.
In the kitchen, well worked, and often well worn, metal cookware hangs on the wall or from the ceiling. The sight and smell of dried herbs add old world charm. Fine glassware shimmers in soft sunlight.
In the living room, furniture is fashioned of heavy wood. The coffee table with elegantly curved legs has been delicately carved with old world designs. The fireplace, (and there should be a fireplace) with the solid slab of wood for a mantle, is ready to be filled with crackling flames at a moment’s notice.
The bedroom, once again, leans toward rustic. A solid wood dresser compliments the oak head and baseboards. In the interest of comfort, the bedroom sports warm down and wool blankets; around the room are hints of lace.
Well, you get the picture. Fine woodwork and metalwork can get expensive, though. Lucky for us, French country is best when things look weathered. Those interested in the style should check thrift stores or yard sales in addition to buying new furniture meant to look old.
French Country Materials
The hallmark of French country lies in the materials you use. Every piece of furniture and every decoration should be made of natural material that has been processed little or not at all. The same goes for the actual make up of the house. Stone and wood are the staples of a French country home. Rugs are preferable to carpet.
If you are in the process of building, rough stone and hardwood make a bold statement. A French country room doesn’t shy away from showing a home’s construction; beams in the walls and ceiling are often left uncovered. Colors should look natural and a bit muted, leaving room for the bright colors of individual items to shine.
A French country home or room should feel cozy but solid. When purchasing furniture, quality is better than quantity in this case. Keeping it simple will assure that your room design will be beautiful, functional, and elegant for years to come.