A French country kitchen leans toward simplicity and textured fabrics. You never want to leave this room for plenty of sunshine that delivers the natural elements of the outdoors. With food in the middle of the essence, you want your French kitchen to announce a freshness with natural materials. The presence of hanging copper pans and walls lined with glass cabinets or open shelves will attract the passionate chef.
The 17th-century French country farmhouse is a design that brings practical elegance to the traditional old world charm of European style. The French country style emerged by using the countryside’s rustic elements along with sophisticated crown molding and shiny metals. While transforming to the American modern farmhouse style, the French country flair has remained an important staple in interior design.
Table of Contents
- Color and Texture
- Kitchen Cabinetry with a French Country Look
- French-style Lighting
- Style of Furniture and Appliances
- Using the Most of Accents
Color and Texture
French country homes are delightfully warm and welcoming. There are a variety of ways to achieve this look with color and texture as they play a big role. If pictures of a 19th century English country kitchen melt your heart with a brick fireplace and cooking spaces filled with copper accents, you are a suitable candidate for French country kitchen design.
If you are lucky enough to have existing brick or stone on walls or floors, use them to celebrate the beginning of your French country kitchen. Exposed beams and stucco walls are also ways to begin your creative journey into this lustrous style.
The two styles share much of the same charm in walls of soft natural color. Stucco in cream or mustard yellow is still present in French design kitchens in France. Interior designer artists from the South of France borrowed many elements from English design, like classic earthy tones, to celebrate the French country decor.
Stucco is not as prominent today in a typical French country kitchen, but materials representing stone are nearly always present. Primary neutral colors of ivory white or ecru and secondary colors of beige, gray, or taupe are in common use. Creating textured walls is a simple way to bring out the natural look from the past.
The single wall color of muted blue can complement an island of blue with a butcher block top. The same holds with any different color that falls within the soft natural colors.
While these colors may sound boring, remember that other colors can get added to cabinets, accessories, and furniture. Chalky blue, pink, lavender, green, or terra cotta are popular accents in your French country kitchen ideas for color. Any faded neutral color that is seen outdoors, like stone walls, will also work. Faded blue cabinets with glass panes are a popular choice in today’s French country design.
We need not forget wallpaper and curtains in a French countryside design. Patterned decorative elements add to the warmth and traditional French vintage look that we know of European charm. Blue or yellow toilet wallpaper for curtains or seat covers is an easy way to add spots of color to your French style. Drawstring curtains beneath a big country sink are an excellent sign of French country.
Kitchen Cabinetry with a French Country Look
French country cabinet doors have a delicate yet wholesome appearance that advertises French flair. While not overly covered with elegant designs, panels and trim create a French country theme. One of the most desirable styles in cabinet fronts is the full overlay. With a recessed panel, this cabinetry delivers a modern, yet well-crafted appearance. Iron details in cabinet hardware are the best option for keeping a rustic style.
A wooden cabinet transformed into a kitchen island can set off a neutral color palette with a stunning blue paint color. Pale colors of blue or green are a great idea for the hand-painting base and upper cabinets to create a weathered French country décor atmosphere.
Classic French brass elements, like bronze trim and brass hardware, will add a sophisticated modern feel. Light granite countertops are always welcome, with vintage pieces that decorate the surface. Visit flea markets for simple wooden and metal canisters, trays, and statues. One item that you will find in French country-style kitchens in France today is a colorful rooster to set on the counter or to use in a wall hanging.
Decorating with roosters is a tradition in France and its countryside. Nowhere is it more essential than in your own home, specifically in a French country kitchen. The rooster plays a big role as a protector and an alarm clock. He is proud as he struts his stuff throughout the farmyard.
The rooster became France’s unofficial national symbol as the French Revolution came into being. Seen as resilient and brave, the symbol has continued through many times of war. From ceramic white to any color scheme, a statue of the rooster is almost always present in French country kitchens.
Traditional kitchens are adding style and grace to a range hood. This is something that French country design has paid attention to for centuries. Often the highlight of a country French kitchen, planning paneling and molding in the range cover, will make the perfect place for a design element.
Chandeliers are not just for gracing a dining table or entryway. A French farmhouse kitchen decor can benefit from a sphere-shaped or metal geometric hanging light. Centered in beautiful kitchens, the rhythm of ambient lighting floats across the ceiling.
Aligned recessed light fixtures give cooking areas the right tone of illumination for getting down to business. When proportioned correctly, smaller kitchens seem expanded with good design. A white kitchen with black metal wall sconces adds a modern decor piece while staying rustic.
A couple of French country pendants and wall lights on an upper kitchen wall give a chic appearance as rustic accents. Industrial fixtures work well with the presence of metal.
Style of Furniture and Appliances
Not all kitchens need an island. A true French country kitchen began with a large rectangular kitchen table crafted from oak. Family members would gather around and share the good news while meal prep was taking place. While the kitchen island gradually replaced this vintage table, it is now making its way back.
A piece of solid natural wood for a table and simple country chairs will bring out the warmth of your kitchen space. We can use wooden floors with a herringbone pattern and wooden beams with a stylish island or modern peninsula. Open shelves along a farmhouse sink are a great way to add modern and vintage touches to the entire space.
Stainless steel appliances go with any type of decor choice or select white with distinctive chrome or gold-plated hardware to portray a rich feeling. Match your cabinet hardware to these appliances and a look of sophistication will emerge.
Using the Most of Accents
The home style of French country has a deep history of the nation’s love of cuisine, family, and nature. The obsession with the color scheme in dressing a home’s interior with natural materials and nature’s colors has not let up since the Victorian Era.
The French respect their land and the quality of life awarded to them and love to be reminded of it in their surroundings. Also, passionate about art and design, French country decor is one of the classiest interior decorating styles in the world.
Decorating with pots and pans – a very simple and effective way to add charm to your French country kitchen is by hanging skillets and utensils along a wall or against the backsplash above the stove. Copper pans are the most prevalent, but you can use white enamel or antique cast iron pieces.
Wall art of an entire European gallery makes a brilliant setting on a kitchen wall for setting a natural and scenic backdrop. We also admire botanical flowers in a grouping of four framed pictures. A visit to a second-hand store or a garage sale can give you many ideas on colored glass, metal pitchers, or aged wooden novelties of rustic design.
Live plants or artificial greenery are a must in a kitchen in a French country. Lavender is a popular flower and the smell can be heavenly. Potted plants that are placed in Terra Cotta containers and used on open shelves or counters make the perfect display. If you have a free corner, get a 3-legged stool and display a galvanized bucket that is overflowing with pink or blue peonies.
Use your imagination and your love of the French countryside to add color with accents that will make your kitchen feel just right.
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Karen Gillan, Senior Writer
Experienced Writer with 20+ years. Demonstrated writing experience includes technical writing, magazines, story writing, and journalist projects. Karen has a powerful media and communication background with academic training from LaSalle University (architecture, interior design) and business college courses. She loves editing novels and contributed to a national art journal.