French Nordic Kitchen Decorating Ideas & Principles is for admirers of French country, Swedish, Scandinavian, European country, and farmhouse design ideas. If you love an airy white, vintage inspired, authentic, collected, rustic, imperfect, wabi sabi, weathered and barefoot elegant look…get ready for your joy ride, kittycats!
This post contains affiliate links which I hope you will use since they won’t cost you a penny extra yet may earn this blog a small commission.
PIN THIS POST for future reference!
French Nordic Kitchen Decorating Ideas & Principles
Just how does one bring a French Nordic kitchen design to life with objects that are functional and beautiful? Surely authenticity plays a primary role in successfully achieving a pleasing look. But authentic doesn’t have to mean you must take out a second mortgage though! While the authenticity of French antiques and ancient European stoneware will do the trick nicely, you can also arrive at authenticity by incorporating elements from: nature, handmade items, handpainted finishes, and simple lovely elements celebrating Nordic French influence. To create an airy, natural, and ethereal Nordic French mood, consider these decorating ideas I have collected from years of studying and living with the French Nordic country style.
More Purposeful Curation
It is easy to see how Americans vary in their accessorizing and country decor from their European counterparts. The European country approach typically reveres function and purpose. Will the kitchen decor accessory prove useful? Will the accessory be regularly pulled into service? Is it able to store essentials? Is it timeless? Is it high quality and multi-functional?
Saying No to Mediocrity & Filler
It does seem as though a great number of country kitchen decorators feel compelled to add interest to the decor by crowding shelves and surfaces with objects. It makes sense if the pottery or decorative urns are used daily, but if they are simply there for “interest,” than perhaps they should be re-thought to save hours of dusting!
A potential issue with massing decor is the effect can result in a watered-down, mediocre look which lacks quality and character. Without a doubt, massed collections can make a lovely impact as a vignette in a room. Collections can certainly be arranged successfully to read as an engaging art installation does. But overwrought accessorizing can also be disastrous. Over-styled vignettes can easily begin to look like a cluttered, dust-gathering antique mall booth rather than a place for the eye to pleasingly rest.
A Nordic French country approach is less concerned with creating eye candy as it is orchestrating an overall mood. A serene design should evoke a peaceful mood which nourishes the soul. The effect looks effortless and light rather than contrived or over-thought.
Nordic French Style Principles
Are there secrets to achieving a timeless, Nordic French inspired decor look in your kitchen?
First things first. If you get to googling, I’ll warn you right now you are going to land on way too many poorly written posts online which reduce a complex and multifaceted design style to a handful of steps or secrets. As a blogger, it is all too easy to see why such articles exist. The folks who are truly experts at the design style are creative types living the lifestyle and not those geeky types trying to translate the magic into words.
Decor Ideas to Guide You
1. BEGIN BY ADDRESSING THE BONES…Beautiful bones and architecture may be the steepest challenge depending upon your kitchen’s age and style (unless you happen to be a gazillionaire, building new, or are lucky enough to live in a farmhouse in Scandinavia). Are there architectural elements you may be able to add which the rest of the decor will build upon? Ideas are: shiplap, beadboard paneling on walls and ceiling, upgrading doors and trim, plastering walls, removing or adding cabinetry, adding built-ins, and structural changes in the space
2. DON’T FILL YOUR KITCHEN WITH ALL NEW; ADD NORDIC FRENCH AND EUROPEAN VINTAGE & ANTIQUE DECOR…Over time, you can collect pieces for your kitchen that have all the qualities we have been discussing: age, authenticity, purpose, function, and beauty. Hunting for them takes time and is fun! It isn’t something you get done in a weekend
3. ADOPT A PEACEFUL PROCESS TO ARRIVE AT A PEACEFUL INTERIOR… Timeless style and layering takes time and may require help from a designer or shop owner. So much in American life involves hustling and bustling, and if it’s a peaceful, calm, Nordic French inspired look you’re after, it’s not the time to rush.
Go Deeper to Discover
A French Nordic Country look is well established and has enduring appeal for good reason. Its beauty and timelessness derive from its natural connection to the culture and character of France and Scandinavia. No wonder it is not so easily emulated, “scored,” or created outside of those regions. Most of us haven’t the patience, ma cherie!
Nordic French decor and lifestyle reflects an effortless, unhurried, and nostalgic body of cultural ideals and sensibilities. To understand the “why” of this approach, delve deeper into European culture and history to discern what it is that draws you to the aesthetic in the first place.
Timelessness Over Trends
Rather than redecorating every decade (or season if you glance at influencers on Instagram!) as Americans often do, traditionalists in the French or Nordic countryside favor a timeworn look. If it’s your desire to create a similar look at home, antiques and reclaimed authentic materials are your friend! High quality, rugged, longwearing pieces which increase in value over time can become heirlooms. “Buy better and buy less” is in order when you’re after rustic elegance, sophisticated simplicity, and timeless design that feels as though it evolved over years.
The Masterful Mix
You cannot miss the refinement in traditional European country or French Nordic designed homes where a masterful mix of old and newo feel both soulful and interesting. Vintage pottery shares space with a modern light fixture with clean lines over a weathered old farm table set with new linens. Slim steel windows contrast with snowy white painted chairs and cupboards. It’s not easy to score this mix when beginning with a newer kitchen where everything installed is sparkling new. But you can still work at adding cozy, aged, authentic, and natural elements to heighten the character and add charm.
Nordic French Design Essentials
An evolved Nordic French Country look demands restraint and patience.
Let’s face it. In most cases, patina takes time (although we are getting better at faking it, yes?). Collecting takes time. And certainly inheriting treasures takes time. Hunting down the just right piece is easier now thanks to the internet, but choosing the proper mix of pieces to create a cohesive, timeless design STILL takes time.
Thoughts on Refreshing
Rooms develop character over time as the owner progressively collects, upgrades, and thoughtfully edits. Sometimes, when I feel ready for a kitchen refresh, it helps to clear the decks. I can stand back and layer in my favorite items, storing away (or giving away!) what no longer serves. You can’t easily “see” where you are going without doing the subtraction first.
Multipurpose & Flexible
Since most Nordic French and European country kitchens are smallish and cozy, traditional and timeless country style leans more toward practicality. Without spacious pantries, decor pieces must work in a variety of rooms. Out of necessity, they may be moved around to function in various spaces.
It’s easy to see the beauty of investing in fewer yet higher quality pieces which will work hard no matter the room in which they live.
The French love their gardens and bringing fresh flowers inside to decorate the home, arranging blooms quite casually. Just like fresh ingredients for cooking and tasteful decor, fresh flowers have a way of elevating the “everyday.” Europeans are so inspiring in their approach to beautiful daily living, love of food, and regard for fine art.
French Nordic style celebrates: age and tradition, scratches, rust, and signs of wear! Shiny new, stained, or lacquered finishes frequently fall flat when paired with antiques and vintage pieces which have patina-ed beautifully. Even aged rugs work better in such settings.
French country chandeliers can add a layer of feminine romance to French Nordic decor. White fairy lights can even be effective when done right. The finishes of light fixtures tends to be weathered wood or aged metals so antiques always look more beautiful than new examples. The sparkle of crystal from a chandelier can juxtapose beautifully with more rustic and rugged furniture.
Pale & Lovely Palette
I love the pale palette often employed in Nordic French and European country kitchens. Bright whites, faded creams, putty greys, and quiet blues tell a story about: limited natural light, the countryside, understated beauty, and tranquility.
A Light Touch
What does it mean to style effortlessly or with a light hand? I have already discussed over-cluttering shelves with filler, but there is certainly more to it. Nordic French Country style celebrates wrinkles in fabrics, flaws in objects of all varieties, and imperfections related to furniture and finishes. A country house lends itself to more casual living than a house in the city where more formal living occurs.
French Nordic Decor Elements
Yes, Pillows Can Sometimes Belong in the Kitchen! I have a bunch in mine!
Doubles as a wonderful farmhouse Christmas tree decoration!
It Only Looks Old and Expensive!
Beautiful Crocks Old & New
I Adore How Tracie of My Petite Maison Uses Old Food Covers in Her Lovely Kitchen!
She has a special one for sale in her shop!
Simplicity, Clean Lines, and Purpose!
Sometimes in an all-white space, you need something with warmth…
French Nordic Light & Airy Lovely!
Does “Swedish Farmhouse” Tickle Your Ears Like it Does Mine?
Serene White & Nordic French
This lamp caught my eye for its elegance, and it could be incredible on the right kitchen counter…
For a window seat or bench…
Nubby Beautiful Linens That Become Better With Age…
Thanks for exploring this style of design so close to my heart. Visit THIS COLLECTION of Nordic French style posts to enjoy more Nordic French inspiration!
Peace to you right where you are.