French Country Living

Douceur de Vivre - The Good Life

French Country living, seen as the good life by the French, is a lifestyle built on traditions - in daily living and in arts and crafts - with cultural roots that date back hundreds of years.

Even though the French are individualistic and free thinking, time honored traditions are respected. Any latest ideas or trends will always be mixed with traditional ways.


It is the love and respect of traditions and natural materials that form the base of French Country's natural style. Even modern French Country decorating is based on these traditions.


Furniture and accessories are made with style and true craftmanship by local craftsmen, in the same traditional way today as been done for centuries, using techniques passed down from generation to generation.


Natural materials are brought into the home in the form of stone, wood, iron and clay, along with textures, textiles and colors drawn from the countryside.


The French love to bring the outside in, therefore French country homes will usually have a seamless flow between house and garden. Fresh flowers casually arranged in glass vases and jugs are found throughout the home, bringing the garden indoors.


French kitchenware as in pots, faience and crockery plus any furniture, armoirs, beds, tables, chairs etc. are either inherited or carefully chosen and rarely discarded.


If an item is no longer required, or its original function is no longer necessary, it will be re-invented for another purpose, even if just for decoration. This concept of re-purposing is one of the prime character traits of Country French decorating.


With French Country living nothing is as it seems on the surface; there is always a hidden depth with more layers. This is what makes the style so charming and appealing. Especially in a world today where things are mass produced and soon discarded or replaced.

Antique washstand and butchers block

Above are two fine examples of re-purposing. In the picture on the left we see how an antique wooden server is modified to fit modern plumbing and basin. On the right an old and very solid chopping block has been put together with a simple buffet making an unusual and functional piece in the kitchen. Both photos are extracts from the book French Country Living by Caroline Clifton-Mogg which focuses on refined urban and rustic French country living.


You may also want to read the definition of French Country style and see how the beauty and simplicity of rustic France met the refined living of the French chateau.

Otherwise you can also find out about the look and feel of French Country decor.

Or perhaps you may want to jump straight to 7 steps to getting you started in introducing this charming style into your own home.

If you can't visualise what your space would look like, how about creating a mood board to help you?

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