I think I need about a week to recover from hosting Christmas Eve! How can keeping it simple still be so exhausting? This time last year, I was climbing a mountain in Colorado…what a difference a year can make. Hope you tasted some of the magic of the holiday no matter how you spent it. If you can’t travel, today may make up for it since we’ll virtually travel to the French countryside. Enjoy and PIN Old World French exteriors, timelessly tranquil gardens, and even interior design outside of France inspired by rustic elegant sophisticated simplicity. Country French Rustic Design Inspiration aims to ease you into a peaceful realm of beauty as we approach a new year.
Country French Rustic Design Inspiration
Even though a picture speaks volumes in terms of inspiration, I’ll sprinkle in reminders and guidance for emulating this unfussy, seemingly effortless look.
In my Country French inspired courtyard garden above, the key was doing less, not more. In came the pea gravel and simple boxwood, out went busy assorted overgrown shrubs.
I am far too unmotivated to maintain a formal garden with sculpted boxwood like those above, and that’s the beauty of country style…you can be relaxed.
Fantastic old French pots (like the one above) can mean everything to your scheme, inside and out!
French green shutters may not work on every home exterior, but is there a place you can inject a bit of this color somewhere to be suggestive of this romantic country style?
In the new build above, chalky blues and greens were incorporated inside, and the effect is a very fresh liveliness that plays off more rugged materials and design elements.
Pale Colors Are Essential
Notice what happens when soft, pale colors on walls and trim mix with bold metallics and warm wood and stone:
The cool tones with sun-drenched warmer ones create a unique harmony for the eye.
Provence Inspired Inspiration
But what if I love slate blue with candy pink?
Even striking and unusual color pairing has its place!
So often it comes down to allowing the broader tenets of a design style to settle over you and guide you as you make all of those smaller decisions for your own project.
If French green shutters charm you, bring that color into a kitchen with tile or dishes.
If a very warm pink floats your boat, keep your eyes peeled for a vase or lamp with the hue and use it as a pop of unexpected whimsy.
Another option is to buy a paint sample of a pretty color to which you’re drawn.
Buy a small artist canvas from the craft store, paint it with the color, and live with it to notice how it works with your belongings and on your mood.
Colors & Mood
Also notice what images grab you time and time again. Look a little closer.
Is it how two colors (for example, pale yellow and aqua blue) work when they’re together?
Apply the same principle to texture? Does your eye want to keep staring when rustic stone meets a painted wood structure?
Is it distressed finishes or perhaps bumpy old plaster ones that delight you?
Notice how the vibrancy of green dishes and pottery work magic with blue chinoiserie in a pale, understated Old World space (above).
I personally find it challenging to work with sunny gold-yellow washes for walls at home since it can go terribly wrong with flat paint and drywall.
There is simply nothing like authentic, old, stone and plaster, right? The 90s were all about experimenting with faux finishes to mimic the look, and as we all know, plenty of French countryside elements cannot be replicated and can go very very wrong.
French Country Interior Design Inspiration
I have always loved this mix of patterns, prints, and artwork because it conveys the freedom and effortless chic of this design style.
If you watch home makeovers on television, at the end of the episode when the homeowner sees the reveal, you can bet you’ll hear some version of:
“everything matches so well” or “it all matches perfectly” or “everything is tied together so well.”
And it can be calming when things DO feel cohesive.
But matching things or a homogenous look can be dull and lifeless. The French just don’t seem to settle for such a one note look.
Joie de Vivre & Je Ne Sais Quoi
There’s a joie de vivre you can sense inside and out.
It’s a joy that can’t be contrived in a few weeks of design work or renovation.
Because the look evolves over time and relies upon an intuitive realm more than multiple trips to Homegoods and Pottery Barn.
Those shopping trips in the suburbs can help get a decor scheme started, but it’s the living in the space and collecting of treasures that will lead to a more authentic and personal look.
Again, there’s a place for off the rack purchases.
I took an interior design course recently taught by Rita Konig, and she discussed the pitfalls of an interior with too much bespoke everything.
Alternatives to Bespoke Everything
With a hefty budget and lots of time, one can create a truly unique and wholly custom look. However, in addition to not being made of money, most of us are comforted by the familiar and nods to the past.
Is there a particular china pattern or wall sconce or fabric that you simply never tire of?
Even something as simple as hardware can work magic on us…
I have become fond of humble bin pulls for some reason. I like how they feel and function so I used many of them in that second home we renovated.
Expensive, modern, sleek hardware has its place, but when you’re sensitive to the emotion evoked by such details, this sensitivity will guide you well.
Tour Country French Style Spaces
There isn’t a singular way to translate French country or French farmhouse style!
You’re probably familiar with the French farmhouse influences at Patina Farm:
Then there’s a very modern French approach that begins with function and lifestyle:
…as well traditional, more formal approaches to a fancier French country:
French Farmhouse Decor Finds
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
I hope you have soaked up lots of inspiration and more clarity in terms of the ingredients that characterize this design style.
Baskets and rustic wood tables and romantic chandeliers mix with elegant mirrors and linen upholstery. Bringing the beauty of nature outside into the home is also essential, and we didn’t even get to that in this post!
But leaning into the color palette, collected look, and laid back charm is a good start indeed.
Because a Country French feel is so much more than a few Frenchy stripes and toile!
Sage Green European Country Home Decor
We also didn’t get into a discussion about how you need not have spacious rooms for the look. Just look at the cozy factor when the bed occupies a tiny space:
More Inspiration from French Photos & Decorating
Peace to you right where you are.
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