Inspired by the beautiful homes of rural France, the French farmhouse style of interior décor is well suited to just about any home. Done right, it can transform your house from a drab living space to a warm and welcoming abode.
The French farmhouse style is characterized by intricate, distressed woodwork, a soft colour palette of warm subdued hues, old-look surfaces and rich fabrics with mixed patterns. The French are famous for their great taste, which often comes off as refined yet unassuming, and this is reflected in French Farmhouse designs.
If you are looking to emulate this style, your focus should be on creating an elegant yet homey living space. Embrace the use of natural materials with an aged finish complemented by furnishings that show a bit of wear. The pieces and surface finishes you select should lean more towards sturdy and practical instead of dainty and showy.
Another defining characteristic of the French farmhouse style is the use of whimsical accents to add a little quirkiness to a home. This effect is often achieved by making use of farm animal décor – especially roosters and other quaint birds.
Flowers are also a big part of this type of style. These can be natural flowers or floral designs in the unique toile fabrics that are another defining characteristic of this décor trend.
Incorporating French farmhouse style in your kitchen
This style’s versatility and beauty make it a perfect choice for your kitchen. Once you’ve learnt the basic characteristics required to recreate it, you can easily modify it to suit your taste and preferences.
Here are some of the areas you should focus on to perfect the French country style in your own kitchen:
- Colour palette
As mentioned earlier, this particular décor style leans more towards earthy, subdued hues, inspired by the French landscape. Think sunny yellows, muted greys, warm browns, brick reds, sky blues and shades of lavender. You can have sage cabinets offset by ivory walls and grey floor tiles. Your aim is to create a cosy, laid-back space, so limit the use of strong, stark colours.
- Window treatments
French country homes are always light and airy and have big windows to facilitate this. To recreate this look in your kitchen, opt for lace curtains or bespoke shutters. Custom-made shutters are an excellent choice as they can be painted to complement the rest of the room’s décor. Should you opt for curtains, go for those that have embroidered floral designs.
The type of flooring you choose can really anchor your kitchen. Dark, natural wood with wide boards is mostly favoured in this style, as it gives the room an aged, rustic feel. Limestone, slate and fired-earth terracotta tiles are also excellent choices. Remember that your kitchen is a high traffic area and the flooring material you choose should withstand a lot of wear without deteriorating.
In keeping with the style, the kitchen furniture you select should have a weathered look. Don’t be afraid to have distressed furniture sporting a few scuffs to create an aura of aged pieces that have been added over time. A sturdy wooden kitchen table would be a good centrepiece to have. It can be hand painted or varnished to give it a vintage look. Another way to play up the French country theme is to use frilly toile fabric upholstery on your kitchen seats. You can also choose a floral linen tablecloth to match the theme.
- Surfaces and finishes
The French farmhouse style relies on natural elements and your kitchen surfaces should reflect this. You can opt for butcher-block or soapstone counters, and polished wood cabinets. Exposed wooden beams on the ceiling would perfectly play up this interior décor theme. Alternatively, you can have an exposed stone finish on the walls to keep things interesting.
When looking to incorporate farm animal décor in your kitchen, take care not to go overboard. Limit yourself to only one or two pieces to draw attention. This can be a cookie jar decorated with birds, a kitchen rug that features roosters or even a simple painted farm scene that can be used as a backsplash over the stove. Keep it subtle to avoid overcrowding your kitchen.
As you can see, there are many ways to achieve the French farmhouse style in your kitchen. In order to perfect the look, your furnishings, surfaces, colour scheme, windows and flooring all have to blend in with each other. Instead of changing all these areas at once, just pick timeless pieces and colours that will draw the eye and make your kitchen stand out. This way, the unstudied elegance of the style will shine through to make your kitchen warm and welcoming.