Elegant, shapely, textured, detailed and boasting an old world charm, these are the characteristics of the beautiful French provincial look. Don’t mistake it for an overwhelming, heavily ornamental style. It is not. The genuine French style is all about refinement, eclecticism and harmony and used as a way to enhance your home decor can make your guests say “oh la la” even in modern living spaces.
How to define French Provincial style
The sophisticated looks of aristocratic French estates and chateaux began piquing the interest of provincial home owners who desired to replicate the tasteful and elegant furnishings and imbue their homes in ornamental opulence. This mid-to-late 1700s style evolved over the years, shifting its focus from luxurious materials and finishes to a more soothing and welcoming aesthetic incorporating more rustic and distressed materials springing from countryside styles.
The French Provincial theme is rather feminine, combining decorative detailing with textured fabrics and muted colour schemes to create a gentle ambiance of a less opulent elegance that can blend harmoniously within modern settings.
How to achieve a French Provincial décor
Create interest through details
Don’t overcrowd your décor with detailed furnishings either. A few eye-catching, authentic ones suit a French Provincial style much better than having your home look as ripped out from an historic abode.
Invest in antique and distressed pieces
One or two antiquitized or distressed painted furniture items used as feature pieces make for a great way to imbue your home in French Provincial charm. The catch is to mix the old with the new and keep it simple. An antique French armoire or chest of drawers next to a modern armchair or a contemporary metal bed is one way of adding appeal without going overboard.
If you love the rustic look, it’s easy to incorporate furnishings made from candid rustic materials into a French Provincial-inspired décor. They match well with the imperfection and old-world nature of this style.
Shapely lines and room jewellery
Curved silhouettes and carved lines represent an essential element of French Provincial style. Look for whitewashed furniture with soft, rounded contours as major points of interest, though colourful and metallic accents shouldn’t be neglected as well. For a bit of room jewellery, invest in pieces ornated with golden accents, as well as antique bronze and brass finishes.
Douce colour palette
There is a timeless elegance and gentleness in muted colour schemes that admirers of the French Provincial style are very fond of. Don’t limit your décor palette to beige. Coordinate with other soft tones like ivory, grey, sage or taupe. You can take advantage of prints to elaborate your décor and popular motifs include stripes, crowns, fleur de lis or bees.
French Provincial furniture is covered in simple, quality fabrics and heavy linens. They don’t need to be neat as their main role is to add a textured, comfortable, laid-back vibe. No minimalist, crisp white, perfectly ironed sheets here.
Set off your furniture with mirrors and don’t necessarily limit yourself to one. You can use multiple mirrors with sophisticated frames as accent pieces over headboards, next to tables, consoles or drawer chests.