Bonjour! Recently we took a ride through the English countryside in a post about English country cottage design style. Now it’s time to head for the continent — Bienvenue en France!
Oui! Welcome to France! Today we’ll look at French country and farmhouse design styles — really only slightly plural because they’re pretty similar. Just as we did with English country design, we’ll help you get to know the basic approach of the style, explore what colors, textures, and patterns to use (particularly for your upholstery fabric needs, of course), and we’ll wrap up with a quick spin through some other quick tips for bringing this enchanting vibe into your home.
Time to head to a land of lush farms and robust vineyards. So get your passport stamped and throw a baguette and a bottle of wine into the basket of your antique bicycle and let’s take to the countryside.
So What Are French Country And Farmhouse Design Styles, You Ask?
First, let’s set the scene. This is not the bustling and eclectic streets of Paris. Nor is this the beaches and buzzing energy of Marseille. This is the countryside of Provence and other picturesque and pastoral French towns. Sometimes homes in fields and sometimes nestled together on the cobblestone streets of tiny villages and points in between.
Step inside and you greet the character of the people. It’s earthy and practical yet with an air of elegance, softness, and whimsy. It’s deeply welcoming. There’s an unmistakable comfort to the design and decor. And there’s also an equally pronounced sense of style and appreciation of the beauty of the lines of furniture and the impact of patterns. It’s uncluttered but cozy. It incorporates the natural beauty of the countryside but also says welcome inside, welcome home.
In both French country and farmhouse styles, you’ll find loads of natural elements like wood and stone. You’ll also find antique — or antiqued — furniture and furnishings that add to the sense of a lived-in and homey feel.
Where the sub-styles differ is that French country design style furniture leans more curvy and elegant, more of a nod to Paris. And decor continues that with a soft and feminine theme. Farmhouse furnishings, on the other hand, use more straight lines and simple, straightforward, and practical-looking pieces and decor. But comfortable, always comfortable.
French Country And Farmhouse Fabric Colors, Textures, And Patterns
When it comes to your furniture and other upholstery applications, how can you shift your style in a Franco fashion? Both country and farmhouse styles emphasize comfort and natural elements in every aspect of design. But they arrive there in slightly different ways.
When we say “natural” in the context of these interior design fabric styles think neutral. The dominant foundational elements of your upholstery should be creamy whites, beiges, greys, etc.
French country design then builds its gently elegant vibe with colors that echo some of the elements of the countryside. That means soft, chalky feminine tones like pale pink, soft lilac purple, honey yellow, and sauge green.
With a French farmhouse vibe, keep things muted but warm and a bit bolder. Colors that add to the sense of simplicity and grounded design such as browns and slightly warmer and deeper blues and greens like rich sky blue, mossy green, and warm caramel brown.
Both styles have much in common here. Again, natural feels win the day. You won’t find a lot of vinyl and microsuede here. You will find weaves and textures that are (or feel) feel natural. That for sure means fabrics like cotton and linen — especially French linen, of course.
But since the design approaches differ slightly in their overall goal, they differ slightly in textures, too. So, for the French country style, incorporating softer weaves like chenille or even silk enhances the elegance. Whereas farmhouse sticks with simple and rustic-feeling fabrics like denim, twill, and tweed.
And then there’s patterns. A big difference here is French country design’s use of some classic patterns. (And we’ll bet you can guess them already.) Patterns of country scenes like a classic gold and cream toile or this light blue and white Wedgewood and a variety of floral and foliage designs — within the soft-color palette. All of these bring more of the elegance and femininity central to the theme.
Gingham, plaid, and stripes are each common in both French country and farmhouse designs. The difference is, again, mostly the color palette. For example, using a brick red gingham is right at home in farmhouse upholstery but the pattern also works in country-style design in a light and airy color like cornflower blue. Blush pink and light gray stripes are perfect for a French country vibe while hunter green and beige stripes fit the farmhouse feel thanks to their warm and bolder tones. Make sense?
Give Your Country Or Farmhouse Style Home A French Accent: Quick Tips
Before you go, let’s talk a bit beyond just upholstery. Because that’s one of the super fun things about both French country and farmhouse interior design — little things make a huge difference. Even a cursory Google search of each will give you more ideas than you could ever need. (Like these for country style or these for farmhouse design.) But let’s simplify things a bit.
Some quick basic things that go a long way in both styles. Keep it comfy, but uncluttered. And let your home feel, well, homey. Antique furniture or newly antiqued furniture is key. And let your furniture have a sense of story. Bring nature indoors with textures and decor. And let your space feel grounded, yet full of life.
And some quick basic differences to remember. French country design is all about creating an elegant and airy space. But not pretentious — playful. French farmhouse design is all about creating a rustic and simple space. But not stuffy — welcoming. And remember we’re always here to help you with your upholstery and design needs.
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