Creating a French Style Living Room

The French country style has its roots in the Provencal region of France – the south-eastern edge of the country that is most famous for its lush, rolling countryside and its picturesque views. Home decorating that reflects these feelings of peace and relaxation often involves using pieces that add charm, warmth and delicate beauty to the room without being pretentious. You can enjoy a retreat to Provence no matter where you live, simply by decorating your living room in the French country style with the following essential tips.

Furnishings

Old-fashioned European furniture is often designed with thin, curved frames that are brought together with upholstered cushions and seating. Your sofas and armchairs should follow this style in order to really convey the French country atmosphere, and should include rustic fabrics and colour combinations such as red and gold, red and white, or blue and white. Other furniture pieces such as tables, shelves and armoires can be painted in neutral colours, and reworked to create the timeworn ‘shabby chic’ look that is traditional yet stylish.

Fabrics

The fabrics that you use to decorate your French-style living room are extremely important to the overall look. Wrought-iron drapery rods are a very useful accent that can pull together the ideal French country living room, especially when paired with soft, neutral-coloured curtains or draperies. When decorating to match white furniture, linen is an excellent fabric choice, especially in soft patina colours. You can also get the French look by decorating with pillows that are made from linen, ticking or lace.

Decorations

Try your best not to clutter your living room with a large collection of accessories from Old-World Europe, as French style is often quite sleek and bright with an air of simplicity. Good choices for this style are earthenware planter pots, painted ceramic vases, carved wooden bowls, candlesticks, and any accessories that are made from ironstone. Wall sconces are also a great idea for adding a timeless appeal, and brass accessories stay true to the theme as well. When decorating in the shabby-chic style, your accessories do not have to match, as this is part of the charm! Top everything off with a beautiful bouquet of flowers such as chrysanthemums, orchids, lilies or violets.

Rugs

To keep with the rustic appeal, wooden floors do well to maintain the French style. A dark, earth-toned rug can complete the living room style nicely while creating an understated yet inviting ambiance that won’t overpower the rest of the furniture in the room.

Walls

Soft pastel colours, or just plain white, are the best to use for the walls in your living room, and you can even embellish them with stencilled French country motifs such as sunflowers, fruit or roosters. Anything that you hang on the walls should complement the rural appeal, and wall hangings that are framed in antiqued wood or wrought iron make wonderful additions.

The major benefit of decorating your home in the French country style is that it’s so affordable. Old furnishings, colour, fabrics and French motifs combine nicely to create a look that is inviting and relaxed. No matter what décor you already have in your living room, you can easily transform it to create the appealing, rustic atmosphere of the French style.

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