French country design in a home is typically associated with a welcoming, cozy, warm feeling. The rustic elegance of a French country design comes from a good use of colors and materials found in nature. The design originates, as the name suggests, from when country cottages were first built in the south of France. At the time, only natural materials were really available to people and so the floors were laid with brick, terra cotta or stone, while weathered wood cabinets were used for storage, perhaps for dry goods, liquids and even herbs in the kitchen.
Wooden furniture in a French country design home is often stained dark because usually the walls and floors are composed of rich textures and colors. Having simple, plain, furniture ensures that a French country design does not become overpowering and busy.
For example, as natural colors are the guidelines, walls and floors are often painted, with dark wooden beams. Some homes have striking red walls while others use a soft blue and white combination. Either way, natural colors and light enhance the feeling of spaciousness while offering a nice clean finish.
Clearly, the French country design is very popular, though offers a style where each house can still be unique unlike any other, beautiful and luxurious. We at Jenkins Custom Homes in Austin, Texas, have had the opportunity to design luxury houses with a French country design on many occasions. Recently, we were pleased to be able to work with an NFL football player and former University of Texas all-star to perform our unique Lifestyle Analysis. This resulted in their French Country style design shown here. For more images of this design, click on: French Country designs.
French Country Style Designs spell Luxury
When most people think of the French Countryside, they think of a relaxing, rustic lifestyle that appears to have been lost in the busy, overwhelming world of today.
You think of warm breezes, long summer nights, crickets chirping and stars overhead. The image is of a radiant sun shining and long grass gently wafting. You have thoughts of the trees that dot the countryside as you walk along earthen paths or brick walkways.
These subtle and rustic sentiments can be easily translated into great home decor, making strong use of those natural colors that transform your home into a softer, gentler place.
Most French Country Style homes utilize a basic off-white wall as a pallet to really draw out the subtle hints of color that are available. Old world French homes were many times made with a white plaster that colored with age, which gave them a very gentle yellow color and gives them texture. You can replicate this by adding a bit of texture to your walls with a gentle yellow or eggshell; too stark a white will seem strange and offsetting. The room should have a gentle warm glow before you even add accent colors.
Much of the French Country Style relies upon natural colors without relying too heavily on bright or intrusive shades or tones. Think more “field of grain,” “summertime forest,” or, “shady beach,” than “bouquet of flowers.” Earthtones such as dark to light browns, dull yellow tones, woodgrain, ocean blues, rust, burnt orange and brick are all good base colors to accent your rooms and create a feel of luxury.
The texture of your furniture and fixtures can also play heavily into setting the tone of your rustic French design home. Rusted metals, dull gray and sanded blacks will all mix in well with a simple French aesthetic. When it comes to fabrics, toile (a white or beige fabric with repeating picture patterns) is the most commonly associated. However, any natural fabric should work well.
Gentle or indirect lighting paired with a lot of natural light will help give your home the relaxing, natural feel that most people associate with the French Country Style. Avoiding moody or glaring overhead lighting will also help set the tone.
For even more great ideas on how to accomplish French Country design in your new home, drop us a line! We would love to hear about your design challenges.