Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions

Who says a builder-grade home can’t benefit from design ideas inspired by luxurious, costly, bespoke French inspired fantasy properties? Quite often, the inspiration can spark a less expensive and creative scheme for a modest home’s décor. Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions demystifies a few beautiful aspects with potential to become down to earth and accessible.

SW First Star paint color on exterior cornice of SE Showhouse 2021. #swfirststar #exteriorpaintcolors #neutralpaintcolors
Tuxedo at the Park, the 2021 Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Southeastern Designer Showhouse. Builder: Benecki, SOURCE, William T. Baker Residential Design and Land Plus; interiors: overseen by Phoebe Howard and Melanie Turner.

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Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Inspired by Mansions

1. Take Cues from the Mansion’s Sophisticated Paint Colors

In last year’s Southeastern Showhouse, we learned the exterior and interior paint colors used for this beautiful Atlanta manse. The exterior (above) is Sherwin-Williams First Star. First Star reminds me of the stucco color on a San Francisco home exterior:

Magnificent architectural exterior of Parisian hôtel particulier style mansion (2839 Pacific Ave., San Francisco). #frencharchitecture #frenchmansions #parisianmansion
Ideas from this French style home in San Francisco are explored HERE

The bright alabaster white paint on kitchen walls in that Atlanta showhouse is Sherwin-Williams Pure White.

SW Pure White paint color on walls of kitchen, scullery, bar, pantry in Southeastern Designer Showhouse 2022 - Cathy Rhodes Interiors. #swpurewhite #whitepaintcolors
Beautiful showhouse kitchen by Cathy Rhodes Interiors (scullery, bar & pantry by Joyful Designs Studio) #swpurewhite #SEShowhouse22 photo by @dhcphoto; cabinetry by @bellcabinetryanddesign; flooring by @europeanwoodcompany
Thich Nhat Hanh quote about unity, earth, and consciousness on Hello Lovely. #thichnhathanhquotes #unityquotes #earthquotes

That home’s interiors also provided us beautiful inspiration:

2. Warm Candlelight-like Wall Finishes

When you’re after warmth and a cocoon-y backdrop for your furniture, inspiring glimpses from exclusive homes can be a sort of guide.

French kitchen in a Parisian style mansion in San Francisco. #frenchkitchens #elegantkitchendesign #oldworldstyle #frenchcountry

It’s likely you’ll want to commission an artist or finish specialist to get a beautiful aged, somewhat textured, and ethereal look.

Gorgeous French inspired kitchen with limestone floors, old lantern pendant and banquette in breakfast nook - Carolyn Malone. #frenchcountrykitchen #breakfastnooks
Veranda – Carolyn Malone & D. Stanley Dixon

Yet sometimes it can be achieved with patient DIY experiments, limewash youTube tutorials, and books.

There are creatives who deftly demystify these techniques, but if you have never painted a wall or done brush work, bear in mind it is an art.

Domingue Finishes.
Domingue Finishes

You’ll definitely want to avoid outdated sponge painted faux finishing looks that detract rather than enhance. Remember the condo we made over in 2020 where every wall i(including a two story stairway and landing) had been sponge painted to match the wall to wall carpet?

before hallway in the condo we remodeled
BEFORE Hallway

You can still get a warm look on the walls with tranquil neutral warm white paint color to live with as you sock away funds to eventually hire a professional.

From SEGRETO impressions (2019) by Leslie Sinclair. French antiques, plaster finishes and Old World style in a showstopping modern functioning kitchen. #kitchendesign #frenchkitchen #antiques #oldworld #plasterwalls
From SEGRETO IMPRESSIONS by Leslie Sinclair

What can the pros do? Ummmm:

Slow living quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #slowlivingquotes #boundaryquotes #selfkindness

3. Take Cues from the Exterior’s Color Story

While your humble home may not be graced with grand architecture and romance like this, it’s still possible to notice what is working to make it so charming.

Magnificent French country mansion in Hinsdale, Illinois.
Exterior of a breathtaking French chateau in Hinsdale, Illinios built in 2006…certainly breathtaking indeed.

Blue doors with sunny stucco and limestone do have that South of France magic happening. Does the flowering hot pink also float your boat?

Magnificent French country mansion in Hinsdale, Illinois.
Photo gallery of interior design inspiration as well as Sensible Decor Ideas Inspired by Luxurious French Country Mansions.

Because if the tone is giving you all of those trending magenta love vibes, you could bring the color inside or to your porch/entry.

Exterior facade of beautiful French country home with interior design by Jenny Martin Design. #frenchcountryhome #houseexteriors
See ideas for paint colors like this HERE
New Year quote - an inspirational quote to encourage and energize for the fresh year ahead. #newyearquotes #inspirationalquote #encouragement #hellolovelystudio

And we need not have a chateau to add shutters painted a color we love!

Magnificent French country exterior of a Houston mansion by Thomas O'Neill Homes. #frenchcountry #houseexterior #luxuryhome #homedesign
Houston home (renovated in 2013) by Thomas O’Neill Homes…certainly stunning indeed.

If you love French blues and grays, these may help:

And last year’s Softened Refuge color also gives that French blue gray mood.

Softened Refuge Color Collection of paint colors for 2022 by HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams - come find these ideas for tranquil paint colors to soothe!
Learn the names of these colors in THIS.

If green makes your heart skip a beat, this fantasy inspiration may pique your interest:

Rustic and elegant: Provençal home, European farmhouse. Come be inspired by interior design photos with French Green Paint Colors and Serene French Blue-Greens. #greenpaintcolors #mintgreen #interiordesign #paint
Tollens Vert Olivier green painted shutters on Chateau Mireille – see more of this vacation rental HERE
Heartwarming tweet from @jeremycshipp comparing you to a scholastic book fair - Hello Lovely. #lovequote #encouragementquote

4. Pretty Wallpaper to Enliven With Pattern

Wallpaper is everywhere these days, and if you’re toying with the idea but feel shy about the commitment…maybe consider it for a smaller area you won’t be staring at all day. It’s fun to be greeted with pattern in a powder bath, entry, or stairway:

Beautiful mural in entry of historic home in Franklin, TN.
Meeting of the Waters House – a historic home in Franklin, TN

A commitment for sure!

Farrow & Ball Silvergate wallpaper near staircase in an elegant French country mansion in Houston by Thomas O'Neill Homes.
Wallpaper: Farrow and Ball Silvergate BP 879 in a magnificent French Houston home (renovated in 2013) by Thomas O’Neill Homes…certainly rich and elegant indeed.

So it pays to search for a pattern of which you’ll never tire.

Timeless design, sophisticated decor, and exceptional architecture in this space by The Fox Group.
The Fox Group

What has worked for me is to use a pattern I like in a small way (you could line a bookcase or drawers, for example) to see how I enjoy living with it.

Magnificent architectural wonder of a staircase in a French country Houston mansion by Thomas O'Neill Homes. #frenchcountry #staircase #interiordesign #luxuryhomedesign
Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions

Another possibility is to stencil a pattern on a wall – you’ll get an arm workout and if you hate it in a few months, simply paint over it.

Need ideas for beautiful wallpaper options? See these!

Break up and relationship quote on Hello Lovely Studio. #relationshipquotes #breakupquotes

5. Add Touches of Warm Gold

Mirrors, wood frames, art work, trays, hardware…

French country farmhouse bathroom with Sherwin Williams Alabaster paint color on walls. Brit Jones Design.
Brittany Jones – Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions

and lighting with gold adds such a lovely glow. It’s such a French thing in fantasy homes, yet you need not have fancy gold-leafed furniture and chandeliers.

Theresa Sconce
Theresa Sconce,,,certainly lovely indeed.

The thing about adding golden touches is it can be as simple as brass candlesticks, cabinet hardware, or a new lamp.

Modern French dining room with dramatic lighting including Thomas O'Brien Elizabeth sconce in gilded iron. #modernfrench #diningrooms
Thomas O’Brien designed Elizabeth gilded iron sconces on built-ins in a dining room

Find breathtaking examples of French inspired sconces HERE.

Belfast 1-Ligh Wallchiere
Belfast Wallchiere...certainly charming indeed.

Even a sumptuous gold pillow in a sea of grey may make a statement.

My favorite luxurious boutique hotel in Paris: Pavillon de la Reine. #parishotels #maraishotel #boutiquehotels
Le Pavillon de La Reine – Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions

If you have never used this gold leaf product, you will fall in love with it. Use it to change a finish on wood or metal to beautiful gold!

Encouragement quote and personal growth wisdom on Hello Lovely Studio. #personalgrowthquotes #journeyquotes #spiritualjourneyquote

6. White Marble

Where can you add the timeless loveliness of natural stone?

French country white marble bathroom with console sink - Jenny Martin Design.
Jenny Martin Design – Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions

There are small ways to introduce white marble without gutting your bath or kitchen counters.

Beautiful white marble bath with oval window in shower and sconce on mirror - Atlanta luxury home on the market.
Fantasy French Country: Actionable Ideas Now Inspired by Mansions

Your local big box home improvement store may have 12 x 12 white marble tiles on the shelf (the Menard’s near me stocks them, and they’re $5 per piece). I have used them to line a shelf or anything else I can think of that happens to have 12″ of depth!

Black kitchen cabinets and white marble counters with French range and gold hardware.

Another possibility to introduce marble without going in debt? Marble pedestals, trays, lamps, and accents are timeless and will add a layer of luxury to any room in your home.

Winter blues quote about January and winter by Michele of Hello Lovely Studio. #winterquotes #januaryquotes

7. Subway Tile is Still 15 Cents

Did you get a look at the ceiling of the kitchen above? While an expensive French country mansion may be out of reach financially, simple subway tile never is! It is one of the most cost friendly tiles to use, and what a bonus that it will still make sense years from now.

Luxurious white French country kitchen with lantern pendants and white cabinets in a Houston manse by TOH. #frenchcountry #kitchendesign #whitekitchens #elegantdecor

Bonus if you can learn to do the tiling yourself since an inexpensive tile can make a dramatic difference covering a wall to the ceiling.

Luxurious white French country kitchen with lantern pendants and white cabinets in a Houston manse by TOH. #frenchcountry #kitchendesign #whitekitchens #elegantdecor

Go inside this fantasy home:

8. Set a Mood With a Fireplace Mantel Even Without the Fire

I’m not a wood burning fireplace girl since they set off asthma for me, and I’m a bigger fan of the architecture surrounding the box anyway!

Elegant French mantel and crystal chandelier in a Houston mansion with French country design. #frenchfireplace #oldworldstyle #interiordesign #frenchcountry
French country mansions…in case you need a few ideas inspired by luxurious ones.

Did you know you can find beautiful surrounds on FB Marketplace now? I have bought several, and one came from a garage sale! There are all sorts of creative ways to enjoy a fireplace with LED flameless candles and inserts that won’t require the hefty investment of a real working fireplace.

9. Romantic Ambient Lighting in Kitchen

Kitchens always demand extra attention when it comes to lighting, but we often forget about the power of more subtle sources of soft light to help these spaces feel like the true living rooms they are.

Luxurious modern French kitchen with a trio of French lanterns over island and beautiful sculptural range hood. #modernfrenchkitchen #frenchcountrykitchens

When the lighting is right in a room, you just want to linger in the cozy longer!

10. Cozier Pantries

Let’s face it. A walk-in pantry is a huge luxury, and a fantasy for many!

Rustic yet elegant French country butler pantry in a magnificent Houston home by TOH. #butlerpantry #frenchcountry #luxuryhome #homedesign

But if you happen to be designing or renovating a home which will include a butler pantry…

SW Silver Mist painted cabinets in mud room with desk area - Brit Jones Design. #laundryrooms #silvermist
Brit Jones – SW Silver Mist painted cabinets

How about incorporating a cozy little seat for yourself for moments to pay bills, peruse a recipe or compose a grocery list?

11. Elegant Architectural Details on Island

What a difference molding and trim pieces add to a big rectangular bulky island!

Elegant and sophisticated light grey and white kitchen with ceiling beams and herringbone wood floor. #kitchendesign #frenchcountry #customhomedesign #greycabinets

Need a few more sensible ideas for architectural interest? See these.

12. Open Shelving to Break Up a Long Run of Cabinets

No matter the budget for a kitchen design, here’s a detail to note when you want to add more movement and interest to a long run of cupboards.

Elegant and sophisticated light grey and white kitchen with ceiling beams and herringbone wood floor. #kitchendesign #frenchcountry #customhomedesign #greycabinets

But is the staggered cabinet detail outdated and an eye sore? It’s a subjective matter, but my eye doesn’t care for staggered so I erased them from our own kitchen renovation.

Hafez quote about sun and earth and relationships - on Hello Lovely Studio. #hafezquote #hafiz #sufipoets #earthquotes #sunquotes

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing
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4 Comments

  1. January 18, 2023 / 9:37 am

    Good morning Michele!
    Love all of your inspiration! I want to change the paint on my shutters but I fear the whole house will need to be painted.
    Have a wonderful week my friend.

    • Michele
      Author
      January 18, 2023 / 10:30 am

      Morning Elizabeth! Sounds like it may help to sample a few colors – those readymade samples could work or you could make your own on posterboard or wood – to find the right complementary color for the body of the house. Much easier to arrive at a color for shutters that works than doing the whole enchilada!

  2. Rebecca
    January 18, 2023 / 11:27 am

    Love this post. Thanks for sharing.

    • Michele
      Author
      January 18, 2023 / 11:04 pm

      You bet! 🙂

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Let’s SHOP!

White Slipcovered Sofa
French Stripe Seagrass Basket Set
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
White Matelasse Quilt on MY BED
THE BEST Energy Bars!
Trees White Wallpaper Mural
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcovered Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
White Cotton Crochet Bed Skirt
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Rattan Basket With Lid
White Ruffle Bedding
Seagrass Basket Set
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Slipcovered Sofa
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
Tree Mural Wallpaper
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slipcovered Linen Chair
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Laurel Wreath Mirror
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Tray Side Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing