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Category:  Decorating

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How To Bring French Country Into Your Home

By Kathy Wilson

French country decorating is one of the most popular forms of country decorating today, yet many are confused about how to introduce this look into their homes.

French country decorating need not be expensive or difficult, and you don't need to go out and purchase a whole new room. It is easy to introduce touches of the French country style without changing your entire decorating scheme.

French country style is a European version of our own American country style that has been popular for generations. French country however, adds more elegance, curved lines, and contrasts with weathered finishes and lots of texture. It is NOT a Parisian apartment! It is a style of the wonderful people of Provence, who work hard, play hard, and love the colors, textures and scents of the outdoors. Common colors in the French country style are golden yellows, deep reds, French blues and saturated greens. Color is vibrant in Provence because of the harsh sunlight. (Hey, the grapes love it!) Themes are not necessary for a French country room, but some common ones are roosters, grapes and wine, lavender and other herbs. Here are some great ideas for introducing the French country style into your present décor.

*Ironwork or metalwork is very popular in French country design, and you can easily find such material in candleholders, wall grilles, and wire baskets.

*Paint a couple of your furniture pieces with a crackle finish. Pair the weathered finish with an elegant fabric table runner. Try using satin black paint on a piece or two for an elegant look.

*Details are important in the French countryside…add trim to your draperies, dress up your throw pillows with ribbon, buttons, or even old beads and jewelry, and make sure comfort abounds in soft throws and well read books.

*Use fabrics that are traditional French country fabric. Toile is quintessentially French country, and depicts country scenes in one color over a neutral background. Red and yellow florals and small geometric prints look fantastic, and black and white checks are fun!

*Use candles, flowers and fabric lavishly.

*The French love to entertain; make it easy to invite loved ones over for an impromptu celebration. Start collecting pretty plates you love, mix and match them at the table, just keep a common color theme and they will blend beautifully. Stoneware and pottery pieces are very French country. Table linens are colorful, and flowers and candles are a must.

*Finally, don't forget the rule of contrast with French country decorating. Pair weathered paint or metal with formal fabrics or beading trim, cozy up a more formal dining chair with a black, red or blue checked fabric. Bring in baskets to hang and use, and hang elegant copper pots off a rustic pot rack sporting a wonderful old patina. Rub a glaze over a curvy lamp base to antique and distress its finish, or better yet, glaze those white kitchen cabinets. Add chicken wire to cabinet doors that hold your best china and wineglasses, and make sure you find a French landscape or floral print to hang somewhere in the room.

Adding French country style to your existing décor can add that sense of elegance you've been looking for, is fun, and can be done gradually and with purpose. Enjoy sharing the style of family, friends, and good food and wine!

About The Author: Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist and editor of The Budget Decorator. She is the home decorating expert for, and has had her home and garden articles appear in national publications. For hundreds of free home and garden ideas, you can visit her at  


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