Neutrals No More! Adding French Blue to Your Country Living Room

French country decor is known for its neutral palette of creams, whites, and pale tans, evoking the painted walls and plastered ceilings of pastoral French farmhouses. Yet over the centuries, generations of French homeowners have sought to enliven their rustic abodes with pops of color through floral accents, vibrant textiles, and even brightly painted architectural details. Recently, bold but versatile “French blues” have emerged as a fitting accent shade that adds a dash of European personality without overpowering spaces dominated by versatile neutrals.

From the elegant cobalt blue that graces French porcelain to the almost navy blue shutters of Provencal village houses, blue is an integral part of the French countryside’s visual identity. By incorporating touches of French blue throughout our cream and ivory living rooms, we can honor French design tradition while creating eye-catching contrast. Read on to discover foolproof ways to welcome rich blue hues into the heart of your home.

french country ideas for living rooms

French Blue as a Country French Accent Color

When working with neutrals, French blue offers the perfect bold yet flexible accent shade. Available in a wide spectrum from powdery blue gray to vivid royal blue, the ability to dial a blue tone up or down makes incorporating it less intimidating than bolder reds or oranges.

While vibrant, French blue also plays well with other colors, blending seamlessly with jewel tones in pillows and floral arrangements while popping pleasingly against a sea of creams and taupes. This versatility explains its surge in popularity for updating all-neutral French country living rooms.

Beyond suiting the practical need for an adaptable accent, blue also ties intrinsically to French heritage and culture, from the signature color of locally produced Provencal textiles to the commanding presence of French royal blues adorning palaces and chateaus. The peaceful, contemplative nature ascribed to serene blues translates beautifully to living spaces meant for relaxation.

French Blue Furnishings and Accessories

When used strategically throughout living rooms, French blue enlivens neutrals without sacrificing their flexibility. Some key ways to incorporate blue include:

  • Upholstered chairs or settees in muted blue linen, cotton, or other natural fabrics
  • Ceramic table lamps with hand-painted blue motifs on neutral bases
  • Light blue velvet or linen toss pillows piped in navy blue cording
  • Classically styled wool area rugs with blue medallion centers or geometric blue accents
  • White stoneware or porcelain ginger jars and vases with blue hand-painted flowers

By keeping most larger furnishings like sofas neutral and minimizing blue surfaces like walls or carpeting, you allow vibrant accents to shine while avoiding overwhelming amounts of bold color.

Incorporating French Blue Accents Into Your Living Room

Give Neutral Furnishings a Blue Makeover

One simple way to integrate blue into all-neutral living rooms is reupholstering or accessorizing existing seating, tables, cabinets or shelves with blue textiles and accents. Some easy DIY ideas include:

  • Sew blue and white stripe linen slipcovers for armless Parsons chairs or neutral cushionless benches
  • Add throw pillows in French blue cotton linen with blue fringe or cording
  • Drape handwoven blue and ivory wool throws over armchair backs and arms
  • Replace antique table runners and placements with French blue and cream Provencal-print cotton versions

Update Traditional Lighting and Rugs

Swap out dated or nondescript light fixtures and floor coverings for options amplifying your French blue accent scheme. Look for:

  • Vintage-style frosted glass table lamps with blue striped lampshades
  • Medallion or geometric wool rugs with navy blue and ivory patterns
  • Glass mini-chandeliers updated with new royal blue crystal drops

By mixing these vibrant French blue lighting and rugs among more muted ivory furnishings and lemon-yellow walls, you allow each element to stand out.

Showcase Blue and White China Displays

Collections of blue and white china, common in authentic French households, lend themselves beautifully to both displaying and integrating this classic color pairing throughout a living room’s open shelves, glass-front cabinets, or furnishings. Prime display spots include:

  • Floating corner shelves or wall-mounted plate racks
  • Antique armoires or hutches with glass panel doors
  • Vintage carts or bakers racks to hold collections

Mix both vibrant Royal Dutch blue and white porcelain and transferware patterns along with softer French creamware dotted with blue florals. Collections grouped artfully together make more of an accent statement.

Paint Architectural Details or Walls French Blue

Take blue accents to the next level by painting entire walls or architectural elements like moldings and wainscotings French blue hues. Vivid blues work best for:

  • Wall trim and crown moldings
  • Ceiling beams or coffered ceiling panels
  • One accent wall as a backdrop to lighter furnishings
  • Chair rail moldings or picture rail frames
  • Wainscoting or beadboard on lower half of walls

If going for “full French,” opt for traditional darker navy blues with glossy or high-sheen finishes contrasting adjacent matte ivory upper walls and ceiling beams for that iconic European flavor.

Finish with French Blue Floral Arrangements

What’s a French country room without fresh-cut flowers? Combine blue and white blooms like hydrangeas, irises, and delphiniums in ceramic vases or rustic baskets atop tables, mantels, and cabinets as the finishing touch for this bold yet balanced palette. For table arrangements, opt for blue and white ginghams or Provence-print runners to tie the floral displays to surrounding blue accents.

By taking advantage of the many stylish blue furnishings, architectural details, and accessories available today inspired by coveted French antiques, you can easily amplify the charm factor in your neutral French country living room without skewing your existing cream, tan and white investment pieces into irrelevance.

Whether you opt for vivid, dramatic navy blues or lighter powder blue grey tones, this versatile accent palette checks all the boxes: offering lively contrast for all-neutral schemes dominated by ivories and naturals, providing that quintessential French je ne sais quoi, and promoting relaxation in spaces meant for casual family living.

For even more inspiration on weaving blue elegantly through your cozy country interior without upsetting existing neutral furnishings and fabrics, browse designer portfolios highlighting this enduring combination’s best practices. Soon you too can have a subtle yet standout living room embracing that most Parisian of palettes.

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