French Farmhouse Decorating
5 Key Elements

Farmhouse decorating, I am sure you will agree, needs to focus on relaxed and family orientated living...a comfy place where you can sit down, relax, put your feet up and not worry if your glass is going to leave a ring on the polished side table. French farmhouse decorating therefore is no different; the French of course just do it with style, comfort and a few unique elements of their own.

Scroll down to find a few of key elements which I have put together for you. On a general note, just keep your décor simple and fuss free with light and airy spaces. Simple though doesn't mean functional and stark, so remember to introduce plenty of comfort.

Farmhouse Decorating

1. Colors

Whites, reds and blues are a must for rural farmhouse decorating, but don't forget to introduce a few earthy colors for warmth.

Plenty of white is essential for achieving the French farmhouse look - from cool chalky white washes to warm and antique creamy whites. The French use various shades of white as a color and not as a neutral to decorate.

2. Furniture

Farmhouse furniture is simple yet elegant and focuses on easy laid back living. Wash furniture in an antique white or very pale gray. Allow the wood grain to show through and lightly distress to emulate original old pieces, which have gently worn over time exposing hidden layers.

Wrought iron furniture like the distressed antique day bed in the above image adds an instant French feel.

3. Fabrics

Use French mattress ticking - navy blue or beige stripes is a good choice - to make cushions and bolsters. Red and blue gingham can be used for gathered curtains in front of open cupboards and for tablecloths. Homespun fabrics consisting of loosely woven linen, hemp or wool are still as prized today as ever before and remnants are very sought after to make cushions.

Because French farmhouse decorating doesn't really have much pattern in the fabrics, interesting braids and edgings can be used for borders to add interest.

4. Linen

Keep sheets and pillow covers white. In rural France they are often embellished with the most delicate cross stitched monograms in red, unlike the more elaborate embroidered monograms found on linen in the French country manors.

In the kitchen use white linen and red or blue striped, or gingham prints. I have also seen white damask tablecloths with a red floral border woven into the fabric. Last but not least, no French kitchen would ever be without an abundant supply of vintage 'torchons' - white linen dish towels with a red stripe woven down the length on either side is the most common, although other colored stripe patterns are also used.

In French kitchens torchons are often seen piled high in a wicker basket within easy reach for the cook's convenience.

5. Kitchen Décor

French Farmhouse kitchens are usually the main living area and the hub of home. For this reason a large, well-scrubbed pine table will double up for preparing food, dining and a place to gather for daily activities.

Wooden benches around the table are often preferred to chairs as they can seat more in a large family.

Blue and white china with simple painted designs is a must if you can. The French display china in their quintessential kitchen armoire, along with many other everyday practical utensils. Actually, they love to display just about everything in their kitchens and wirework containers along with baskets are also popular choices for storage.

Do not worry if you cannot introduce all of the above elements into your farmhouse decorating at once, as even one or two essentials will bring a French ambience to your décor. A good start would be to introduce plenty of white plus striped and gingham fabric to make cushions, curtains and table linen. A wicker basket piled with torchons and a thick wooden chopping board in the kitchen will also add an instant touch of French farmhouse decor.

Happy decorating!

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Recommended Shopping Find

I thought I would search the net for some French Farmhouse accessories and I was surprised to find that Amazon, believe it or not, have a number of items that will enhance your French decor.
I was impressed with the French Country inspired table runner below, which is a good copy of antique European hemp or linen grain sacks.
The striped pattern (which was once used to identify local farmers) is weaved into the cloth like the original and not printed on the fabric like other copies I have seen.

Grain sack table runner
Vintage Inspired Grain Sack Runner
Only 6 left in stock---order soon.

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