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Two Different Interpretations of French Country Design

By now, the style known as French Country has transcended trends and become a classic source of inspiration for interior decorators. In fact, the style has actually diversified from its origins and come to stand for a variety of looks. However, they all share a few themes: French Country style is about cosmopolitan luxury meeting comfortable rusticity. It’s a combination of the design principles learned from the aristocratic history of gilded, decadent craftsmanship, and the peasant’s pleasure in well-worn fabrics and chipped but charming woodwork. It’s timeless, soft, and widely appealing.

That being said, there are many different ways French Country style can be interpreted. It can be light and breezy, with soft floral designs and ornate woodwork. Or it can be darker, with distressed wooden accents. Some mix several traditional elements, like pairs of lamps and tufted upholstery, while others prefer to keep it casual with plush cushions and jute rugs.

PoshSurfSide_2 Different Interpretations of French Country

Simple and Rustic

This look is all about natural textures and soft tones. The rugged wood planks of the coffee table, the imperfect, blotted feel of the botanical prints, and the rough weave of the wicker baskets all bring in the rusticity of this interpretation. Mix these elements in with the more elegant lines of the bronze floor lamp and the sleek linen sofa, and there’s a warm and unfussy look that characterizes one end of the French Country style.

1. Wicker baskets

2. Botanical prints

3. Bronze floor lamp

4. Linen sofa

5. Ticking stripe pillow

6. Check throw

7. Wood coffee table

Organic and Delicate

The other end of the spectrum is a more ornate, art nouveau inspired look with flowing lines brought by gilded mirrors and the leafy chandeliers. The intricacy of the table lamp and the wooden screen are kept from looking fussy and overdone by the clean lines of the green chair and the side table.

1. Leafy chandelier

2. Gilded mirror

3. White wooden screen

4. Green chair

5. Flower table lamp

6. Accent table

In any interpretation of the French Country style, it’s important to not go overboard with any piece. For instance, a chunky armoire with a shabby chic paint treatment is balanced by a delicate bronze side table. If a sofa has a colorful striped pattern, a pair of cane back chairs with plain upholstery softens the look. These combinations keep the look casual and welcoming, while retaining touches of luxurious decoration.

Adria Saracino and Tali Wee collaborated on the above style guide. Adria is a fashion blogger and obsessive home décor pinner. Tali handles the Houston community outreach for Zillow and enjoys spending time on projects around the house.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica March 28, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Love the simple/rustic look!

Adria Saracino March 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Thank you Jessica! Which is your favorite piece?

Kerry Ann Dame March 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

Of course, I am partial to the Leafy Chandelier 😉 but I do love those Botanical Prints – a great find!

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