How to Decorate in French Country Design

French country style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall. Antique arched bed frame with carved embellishments and a matching dresser on the side. Bed covered in flowing white bedding and pink throw pillows. A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery. White hydrangeas lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench. A white desk and chair sits at the left side of the room under big windows.

Written By Tammy Delbridge

How to Decorate in French Country Design

February 3, 2022

How to Decorate in French Country Design

Decorating in French country design has been a long-favored decorating style. The style is best known for calm, cozy neutrals in rustic yet refined interiors. French country designs are punctuated with chic linens, vintage furnishings, natural elements, and old-world architecture inspired by the French countryside. Keep reading as I share how to decorate in French country design.

French country-style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall. Antique arched bed frame with carved embellishments and a matching dresser on the side. Bed covered in flowing white bedding and pink throw pillows. A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery. Pink and champagne peonies lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench. A white desk and chair sit on the left side of the room under big windows.

Creative thinking and productivity have to coexist in my office which also doubles as a guest bedroom. The room captures my heart decorated in French country-style, particularly because of the chic and feminine feel. I live in a house full of boys, so this is a room all for me. It emanates a delicate aura of serenity and calm. Most significantly, I get to add or leave out as many flowery, vintage, and dainty accents as I want with this style. By virtue of its French origin, imperfection becomes perfect detailing. It’s one of many reasons why I’ll forever be in love with French country-syle.

White lilacs in a transparent green glass vase reflect in a round ornate gold antique mirror.

Simple French country decor has a beautiful way of marrying softly patterned textiles, fabrics, and cozy textures with distressed woods and natural elements. Consequently, the appearance feels refined, elegant, and feminine. It’s an effortlessly elegant style reminiscing a simple time in the French countryside.

 

French Country Colors

The essence of choosing French country decor color is to go subtle. In general, neutrals and medium to low-intensity hues on the warm side of the color wheel distinguish the style. Creams, whites, soft yellows, warm pinks, pale pastels, and soft muted blues are calming and traditional color choices.

Side bed view of a French country style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall. Antique arched bed frame with carved embellishments and a matching dresser on the side. Bed covered in flowing white bedding and pink throw pillows. A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery.

I used soft grays, creamy whites, off whites, bright whites, and beige in my room. Neutral colors calm me, so it’s a great fit. Traditional European trim work was often painted in darker tones to showcase it. With this in mind, I went with Poplar Gray from Sherwin Williams on the millwork. The moldings compliment and honor the bright, busy wallpaper pattern. The wallpaper lights up the room, while gray tones soften and calm it with warm undertones. White bedding adds a crisp vibrancy.  It reflects light from the windows and has an airy feel. Finally, touches of pink, beige, and taupe bring interest and a sense of comfort.

Pink and champagne peonies lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench.

 

French Country Design Furniture

One of the signature characteristics of French-country style is simple generational furniture and decor with ornate touches. For this reason, the aesthetic is a perfect fit for anyone with a love of antiques. Particularly, timeworn furniture with simple embellishments like carved and curvy legs distinguish the look. Warm wood and painted or whitewashed furniture are typical options for this style. In effect, the imperfections of well-loved furniture articulate a story and sentiment of old-world French countryside charm. Finally, tufted and upholstered chairs and benches add a cozy comfort that defines French country decorating.

A white desk and chair sit on the left side of the room under big windows of a French country-style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall.

I started my furniture journey searching for a vintage bed with an arched headboard. Something about arches makes this girl go giddy. I was thrilled to find an entire set on Facebook Marketplace for $150. The deal included a dresser, bed, and vanity with a mirror. In addition, the wood had the right tone. Delicate embellishments and beautifully carved leg detailing also enhanced the set. It’s a beloved part of the room.

My antique gold mirror made a perfect focal point above the dresser. To see how I transformed my mirror to the perfect shade of subtle European heirloom gold, click here to find my easy two-step hack.

Pink and champagne peonies lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench.

French Country Architectural Details

Another leading feature in French country design is architectural detail. French country-inspired architecture examples include natural stone, brick, wood beams, wainscoting, and beadboard. Namely, they add the characteristic visual interest of this style. They speak to a time when homes in the French countryside would have been made from stone walls. Wainscoting was first used as a practical way to better insulate dampness that would come through the stone walls. Furthermore, exposed beams also have strong ties to France. At the outset, they were used as support structures and were bare by necessity. Including traditional architectural elements into a design embraces traditional characteristics.

Side bed view of a French country style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall. Antique arched bed frame with carved embellishments and a matching dresser on the side. Bed covered in flowing white bedding and pink throw pillows. A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery.

My room embraces one of these architectural elements. As much as I love the old-world beams and stone, I wanted an updated clean look for this room, so we added a simple painted board and batten. It turned out to be the perfect touch in this room. It adds just enough architectural fancy to bring the French country style alive. For details on how we built this board and batten check out my How to DIY Board and Batten Wainscoting blog post.

French Country Fabrics & Prints

The next layer of French country decor is textured fabric and patterned prints. Floral, gingham, check, and toile patterns are beautiful fabric traditions. While these patterns are characteristic of French country decor, so too are solid and simple neutrals. Flowing exaggerations of fabrics are also fun ways to use fabric in French country decorating. I love how they add softness, interest, and cheer.

French country-style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall. Antique arched bed frame with carved embellishments and a matching dresser on the side. Bed covered in flowing white bedding and pink throw pillows. A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery. Pink and champagne peonies lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench. A white desk and chair sit on the left side of the room under big windows.

My room has a neutral but stunning wallpaper design above the board and batten. The magnolia floral pattern speaks for itself. Moreover, it adds interest to the room. It’s a peel-and-stick textile wallpaper that adds depth to the room. Hence the room needs no artwork. I also love the way the vintage pattern in the rug layers in interest. Although the two patterns seem to clash, keeping the wallpaper and rug in the same color palette makes the look work.

French country style bedroom view with board and batten on the lower walls and magnolia floral print wallpaper on the upper portion of the wall. Antique arched bed frame with carved embellishments and a matching dresser on the side. Bed covered in flowing white bedding and pink throw pillows. A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery. White hydrangeas lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench. A white desk and chair sit on the left side of the room under big windows.

The room has wood dark laminate wood floors with a hand-hewn detailing. The flooring contrasts nicely with the abundance of neutrals in the room. However, a focal point rug elevates and adds a focal point to the contrasting floor. I used an 8 X 10 rug in the same neutral grey, creams, and whites. It serves as an anchor to the bed. More significantly, it adds a layer of cozy texture underfoot.

Making French Country Design Your Own

What a wonderful advantage it is to draw so much inspiration from the internet and social media. I enjoy creating these beautiful spaces and hope you gained some encouragement for how to decorate in French country design. In the end, we draw inspiration not to adhere to strict rules or replicate a design. Instead, the vision should provoke us to move towards whatever design makes our home feel personally comfortable and recharging.

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A bench sits at the end of the bed with curvy vintage legs and tufted upholstery. White hydrangeas lay across the bench and a market basket sits under the bench

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