Be Inspired: French provincial

Warm and cosy, the French provincial decorating style is a reflection of the homes in Provence in the South of France in the 17th and 18th century.

Think colours inspired by the landscape, sprawling farmhouse tables, stone floors and rough plastered walls. It remains one of the most popular interior design aesthetics in the world and can be integrated into any home. In this article, we share some helpful tips to show you how to bring a splash of French provincial into your home.

From our projects with our clients, it’s clear that the French provincial design style remains popular because it combines elegance with functionality. Those who lived in rural France during this period couldn’t afford ornate pieces of furniture found in many city dwellings, so for this reason French provincial furniture is sturdy and often beautifully simple. Signature pieces include armoires, buffets and of course farmhouse tables where the family can gather.

Today,  the popular and aspirational ‘Hampton’ style of homes draw much influence from the traditional French provincial designs. Adding hints of metallic, statement pendent lights and whites rather than creams can modernise the look.

10 ways to get the French provincial look

  1. Feature an elegantly carved armoire in your home (a tall cupboard with shelving). You’d always find an armoire in a French house during this period because they did not have closets. Why? Well closets were considered a room and people were taxed according to the number of rooms they had.
  2. Mirrors are a wonderful French provincial accessory and a great way of reflecting light around the room. Choose a carved wood mirror or something gold.
  3. Shutters are a popular feature of these homes and were normally painted in cheery bright colours. White, however is a classic, timeless choice.
  4. Opt for natural raw materials. Natural stone floors look stunning in a French provincial home, as do distressed ceiling beams, rough plastered walls and lots of wooden details.
  5. The colour palette of a French provincial home is inspired by the landscape. Lean towards warm gold, earthly grass greens, brilliant cobalt blues, and russet reds. Base colours should be creams and whites.
  6. Another common characteristic of a French rural home is a fireplace which the family can gather around during the chilly months. Baskets full of wood add to this homely aesthetic.
  7. Women in France in the 17th and 18th century spent much of their time embroidering so include some of this lovely needlework in your home, whether it be an embroidered pillow, drapery or bed linen. Don’t forget plenty of upholstered furniture – we can recommend our expert upholsterer for this.
  8. When choosing textiles look out for traditional prints that take their cue from nature, such as vines, sunflowers, olives and roosters arranged in geometric patterns. A particularly famed French fabric is Toile de Jouy, a cotton or linen material with a white and beige colour scheme.
  9. A great deal of the charm of the French provincial style is how inviting and personal it looks.  Accessorise your home with rustic baskets, old copper pots, colourful ceramics, wrought iron and fresh flowers.
  10. For a modern look, mix French provincial pieces with modern furniture. You can always give antique furniture a contemporary twist by adding crystal knobs or having a sheet of glass or mirror fitted to the top.

Take a look at our favourite spaces below for inspiration

If you’re feeling inspired and would like to learn more about the French provincial design style and how it would work in your home please call Bernadette on 0417 088 602 to book a consultation.

10 ways to get the french provincial look

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We collect all our favourite interior design images, including those used in this post, on our Pinterest page.

Take a look here.