The Complete Guide to Designing a French Country Style Living Room

French country decor conjures up visions of charming farmhouses in the countryside of Provence and Burgundy. This relaxed style brings rustic elegance into the living room with distressed wood furniture, vintage fabrics, and cozy, welcoming touches. While staying true to its rural French roots, the look can be adapted to suit both traditional and more contemporary lifestyles.

Defining the French Country Look

French country style originated in the farmhouses and cottages of rural France. Traditional features like stone fireplaces, exposed wood beams, and unadorned plaster walls gave these homes their laidback appeal. To recreate this look, focus on a neutral color palette of tans, blues, and greens paired with natural, rustic finishes.

Key aspects of the style include:

  • Antique furnishings like carved armoires and dining tables
  • Upholstered chairs with provencal, floral, or toile fabrics
  • Distressed wood floors and architectural accents like wainscoting
  • Vintage light fixtures, candles, and fresh flowers for soft ambiance

Blending these elements creates a welcoming, unpretentious look inspired by the easygoing lifestyle of rural France.

Incorporating French Country Furniture

Furniture forms the foundation of any living room design. When choosing pieces for a French country style space, look for:

shabby chic french country living room
  • Carved wood armoires, sideboards, and display cabinets for storage and surfaces
  • Round pedestal dining tables surrounded by upholstered, often cane-backed chairs
  • Benches and settees with aged, distress finishes and natural linen upholstery

French country furniture has an aged, slightly imperfect look. Search antique stores and flea markets for unique casegoods to mix with new upholstered seating. Distressed finishes and carved details on wood bring rustic texture. Slipcovers in natural fabrics like linen and cotton add to the relaxed vibe.

Incorporating French Fabrics

Textiles provide comfort and softness to balance natural wood furniture. For French country style, look for:

  • Floral patterns like toile, chintz, and Jacobean prints on pillows and upholstery
  • Solid linen, cotton, and muslin fabrics in light, natural colors
  • Tea-stained, slightly faded fabrics that exude vintage charm

Fabrics connect the indoor space to nature through their patterns and textures. To make the look livable, use solids and tone-on-tone patterns on larger upholstery pieces, and add bright accents with floral toss pillows.

Options for Flooring and Walls

The right choices in flooring and walls establish the overall ambiance in a French country living room. Consider:

  • Distressed wood floors, natural stone, or terracotta tiles for rustic textures underfoot
  • Exposed ceiling beams and whitewashed plaster walls for architectural interest
  • Molding, paneled wainscoting, or wallpaper for added texture on walls
  • Paint colors in soft, muted hues like robin’s egg blue, sage green, or antique white

Hardwood floors with distressed finishes complement the antique rugs layered on top. For walls, a neutral plaster finish, wallpaper, or blue-green painted walls suits the relaxed mood. Add architectural details like beam accents wherever possible.

Blending Vintage and Modern Elements

The beauty of French country decor is that it adapts well to both period homes and more contemporary spaces. Blend vintage and modern by:

  • Incorporating antique casegoods and upholstery while adding modern amenities like flatscreen TVs
  • Using classic floral motifs on pillows but in an updated color palette
  • Mixing an antique crystal chandelier with contemporary end tables or lamps

The key is to find a harmonious balance between old and new. Use antiques to bring in character along with modern comforts. This allows the style to work in any living room.

Adding French Country Touches

Beyond the main furniture and fabrics, small details impart French country flair. Incorporate touches like:

  • Benches, stools and settees for casual French seating
  • Rustic pottery, baskets, glass bottles holding flowers or vines
  • An antique stone fireplace mantel decorated with candles, art, and accessories
  • Vintage signs, architectural salvage, and other finds from French flea markets

Collecting flea market finds from trips to France is ideal. But antique stores, reproduction items, and DIY projects can summon the same charm. Display books, flowers, and collected decorative items throughout.

Finishing Touches for French Country Style

Final finishing touches elevate the look and create a cohesive feel. Consider:

  • Layering antique area rugs over natural flooring for softness underfoot
  • Placing fresh-cut flowers, plants, and greenery for organic accents
  • Arranging collected items like books, candles, and baskets on shelves and tables
  • Adjusting lighting fixtures to create a welcoming glow at night

Rugs, pillows, and thoughtful decor arrangements make the space feel collected over time. Turn down the lights to create a cozy, inviting ambiance. The finishing touches infuse personality and bring the French country look to life.

An authentic French country interior successfully blends rustic and elegant. It provides a relaxed refuge imbued with natural textures, vintage finds, and timeless practicality. Keep the color palette neutral and natural. Allow well-loved antiques and organic materials to take center stage. French country ultimately creates a peaceful, livable atmosphere inspired by the quiet beauty of life in rural France.

Follow this guide to craft the perfect French country living room for your home. Source and arrange each element thoughtfully to craft a space that evokes cozy French farmhouse charm. The resulting ambiance will feel comfortably lived-in, blending vintage charm with modern livability.

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