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French Country Decorating Styles.
French Country DecoratingAlthough Paris was pretty much setting the decorating trends during the 1600s and beyond, the formal style that was popular in metropolitan areas wasn't necessary a good match for the more rural areas of France. As a result, the French Country style of decorating was born. Having its roots in the area of the country outside of Paris, this style of decorating was a better match for the rural areas and countryside.
The "Roots" of French CountryOriginating as a more relaxed alternative to the French formal style that was popular in Paris, the French Country style of decorating matched the needs of those who having a more rural lifestyle. The fact that the French people had differing needs depending on where they lived as well as their societal ranking resulted in furniture styles that deviated from strictly formal styles.
This style of decorating has its roots in Provence, which is the southeastern area of France. In fact, it is sometimes referred to as French Provencal. Because of its connection to this area, the French Country style of decorating has coastal Mediterranean elements included in it.
French Country DecorAlthough less formal as compared to its French Formal counterpart, the French Country style is still beautiful and elegant with a certain rustic charm. Terra cotta tile or hardwood floors, beautiful furniture pieces, delicate fabrics, and wrought iron pieces mark the style. Furniture pieces were lighter than the more formal French pieces, giving the style a more casual, open look.
As compared to the heavier and more expensive wood varieties commonly used in French formal furniture, French Country pieces were often made from elm or oak. Light colored stain or even natural finishes were frequently used. Pieces such as farm-style tables, ladderback-style chairs, armoires, chests, benches and dressers were commonplace. These wood furniture pieces were the perfect complement to the average rural French home with its hardwood flooring and exposed wood beams.
ColorsAs is the case with the formal French styles of decorating, it was common to find colors from the French landscape in this style. Beautiful foliage green, lavender, sky blue, mustard yellow and various red shades were commonplace. However, the French Country style of decorating was more likely to combine lighter shades of these colors with the darker shades.
As is the case with all early French decorating styles, off-white, cream and ivory shades were used instead of plain white. As a whole, the French Country color palette tends to be warm, bright and casual. These colors are a nice match for the lighter and more natural finishes used for furniture pieces.
Fabrics and Decorating AccessoriesFabrics commonly used in French Country decorating have a more rustic look and feel as compared to the more formal decorating styles. Simple linen fabrics in light shades are common, often used as window dressings or draped within a room. Embroidered work is often found as a fabric adornment on rugs and throws. White lace bed linens, quilted blankets, floral patterns and cheerful checkered or plaid patterns are also common.
French Country decor includes rustic pieces such as copper cookware, beautifully glazed pottery pieces, rustic dinnerware, bronze and wrought iron decorating pieces, wicker baskets, and plenty of beautiful fresh-cut flower bouquets. Popular decorating motifs include rural themes such as farm animals, vineyards, grapes and floral patterns.