It may be half a world away but the fresh, casual decorating style of the French countryside fits Australia’s climate and culture beautifully. When you picture the French countryside, green fields, lavender, golden sunshine and crisp blue skies form the colour palette in your mind. These crisp, natural hues also work beautifully in Australia’s climate. Whether you’re in the city or the bush, the outback or the sea, the colours and style of French country will work with your natural environment.
Traditional coloursused in French decorating include rust, red, gold, green, black, white, sky blue, cobalt blue, yellow, lemon, burgundy, lavender and pink. If it’s found in nature, it’ll make its way into country decorating. Tones aren’t terribly bright, but tend to come from the warm side of the colour wheel. When choosing colours in your French decorating, be guided by the beautiful French Provençal fabrics.
In fact, French Provençal fabrics are a wonderful way to introduce French country into your home. These magnificent fabrics are available in such an array of colours and styles, you’re sure to find something you love and you can use this as a starting point for your French country decorating. These intense prints can be quite busy and overwhelming but the beauty is they can be mixed with simpler fabrics in stripes, plaids or solids.
Another classic French fabric is toile, which can bring classic elegance to your home. Use fabric to gradually and inexpensively bring French style into your home. Using French Provençal fabric for accents such as pillows and tablecloths are a great way to bring French charm into your home.
French pottery is another great collectible that brings classic charm to modern homes. The colours used are similar to Provençal fabrics and similar motifs, which include lavender, olives, sunflowers, grapes and roosters, are featured.
A key component of French country decorating is the use of natural materials. From stone floors and fireplacesto timber beams in the ceiling, French country homes blend beautifully with their surroundings. Even if your home isn’t constructed from these kinds of rustic materials, you can bring in the natural style with the use of timber, wicker and wrought iron in your furniture and accessories. Again, the use of a few key accessories in natural materials can bring a French feel to your home. Look beyond colour and appearance and consider the texture of furniture and accessories as well, as the juxtaposition of various textures brings that casual charm to French homes.
The French are sticklers for detail and one feature of all French furniture is beautifully carved timber. While the Provençal style may not be as elegant and formal as Parisian apartment chic and the furniture may be more rustic, it is by no means clunky or simple. Curves and carving, with a strong attention to detail, are key elements. Natural timbers used include beech and oak but painted furniture is extremely common. A coat of whitewash can unite an otherwise eclectic selection of furniture.
Common pieces of furnitureyou might find in a French farmhouse include dressers displaying a collection of bright pottery, large dining tables flanked by mismatched chairs, and armoires, which can be found in any room, traditionally housing anything from linens to saucepans — although these days they’re a great place to store media equipment. French country furniture is versatile and practical, making it a great investment.
Don’t stop with the inside, though. Bring French country to your garden with bright, easy-to-grow flowers such as geraniums, sunflowers and lavender. A cutting flower garden is very French — bunches of fresh blooms in pitchers or clear glass vases are a common way to bring colour into a French home. Using that special blend of charm, colour and casual style that the French have mastered, you can bring a new feel to your home.