Say ‘oui, oui’ to what’s new and fabulous in French country!
We were visiting France recently and had the privilege of taking in some amazing sites, as well as some beautiful design.
Lots of ideas came to mind for future furnishings and accents! Even deep in the countryside, there is an incredible level of chic within the combination of cobblestone streets and age old buildings.
We were staying in hotels, in larger cities, and a few homes of old friends in smaller towns, so we got a variety of views of the classic and beautiful French design styles and wanted to share how you can achieve that French country chic look, right at home.
Incorporate The New With The Old
18th century hand painted backsplashes are combined with Louis XVI dining sets and Napoleon era lighting. How much more old world can you get? And yet, the effect is entrancing.
Combining elegant, high quality pieces that you already have with furniture or accents that evoke a French style is a great way to get a solid blended look.
For example, the Martina Settee from !nspire has the elegant rolled arms, high back and the detailing in the velvet that is inspired by classic French design. The turned post style legs add an element of ‘‘je ne sais quoi’ to this piece that guests will definitely notice.
Combine this with the coffee table and console tables you already have to add a little chic to your everyday.
In private French homes, families often have furniture that is handed down from generation to generation. These solid pieces are in classic French designs that are modernized with the addition of accents or pattern.
Fabric Designs Matter
Detailed French patterns, or even a simpler red and white check, on accent pillows, window treatments or chair cushions, can do wonders to incorporate the look without refurbishing everything.
Intricate two color florals are ever popular in French country design, and you can incorporate them a little, with accent pillows or a framed print, or a lot, by using patterns on furniture or walls.
One intriguing trick in smaller spaces is to use some of the same pattern on the furniture AND on the walls. It creates a blended look that fools the eye into thinking that it is a bigger space. After all, you can say a lot of good things about a Paris apartment but one thing they are not is large!
Tables Made For Long Lunches
Moving on to the countryside, we had the pleasure of falling into the lovely habit of settling in for long lunches every day. It’s a tradition that is going by the wayside in France’s cosmopolitan cities, but in the country, you can still enjoy several courses over a couple leisurely hours, followed by a short ‘sieste’ (nap.)
For this kind of luncheon, an excellent and sizeable dining table is required, with comfortable seating for everyone.
The Takhur Dining Table is rustic and modern in one beautiful mango wood (100% sustainable) table. The detail in the otherwise solid pedestal base is very evocative of French style. Imagine how perfect it would be for the family of four or a table of twelve guests for a casual lunch? Bring on the baguettes and the brie!
Add Avania Side Chairs, with their velvet plush cushioning and solid oak finish legs, and you’ve got a beautiful design to last for hours of lunching.
Using Up Every Nook Of Space
Back in Paris, we found that even the smallest atelier had a nook for sitting and enjoying a coffee. Whether it was a café table and two chairs, or a pair of padded wing chairs with a glorious pattern upholstery, there was always a spot for a break.
The Fargo Side Chair from !nspire would be epic in this capacity! With a distressed gunmetal finish and simple elmwood seat and back, a pair of these chairs with a compact and similarly designed table, like the Modus Dining Table, also from !nspire, would fit the bill completely. Their clean lines and mix of modern with vintage design will fit into any compact space and can be dressed up or down, as the occasion calls for.
Take any room in your home and up the French country charm with a perfect chandelier or a simple design enhanced with patterns of old. It’s easier than you think and elegant beyond all measure.
If you do add some WHi or !nspire pieces to your design, share them with us on Instagram, using hashtag #inspireathome — we’d love to see how it all looks!