The title of this post says it all. French Country = casual elegance. Despite the obvious nod French Country style gives to classical forms and shapes, there’s something about the natural wood, antiquing, and neutral color palette that keeps a room in this style from becoming too uptight or fussy. So if you’re looking for an interior design style that both looks comfortably inviting and elegantly sophisticated, you’ve come to the right blog post!
What about French Country makes it so casually elegant? I think it has a lot to do with the combination of two elements that you’d think would normally conflict: the classic lines and shapes of details in the furniture and accessories; and the informal, irregular, natural, distressed, antiqued or stripped finish of the very same pieces. Fancy form and informal finish intersect to create the perfect blend that is French Country.
This being said, even the way you stage a room can be French Country in nature. The way you put all the individual pieces of a room together can be inspired by the concept of comfortable sophistication as well. A great starting point for a room, no matter the design style, is selecting the largest piece of furniture to be a statement piece in the room. In the conceptual dining space below that statement piece is the dining table. The table top is plain and simple while the ornamental harp-shaped legs provide lovely visual interest. Despite classic detailing on the table legs, the piece has a natural wood finish; and the legs were cut with an attractive imprecision. The large scale of the leg shape shows a new interpretation on classical form, because you’d typically expect this shape to be represented in a more delicate way. But here it is in this pleasantly and roughly cut natural oak wood.
Another major part of the room, the seating, is up next. It should both compliment and contrast with the details of the table. I love a good mixture of seating with the chairs at the ends of the table acting as accents. The end chairs have some subtle detailing in the legs that ties back to legs of the table. The backs of all the chairs have a classic silhouette, but the unexpectedly casual upholstery give them an unmistakably French Country twist.
The display case is the last major furniture piece. The clean lines, contrasting distressed finish wood and dark metal make this piece a subtly strong supporting actress in the space.
The other décor simply draws inspiration from the major pieces in the space. Here, I’ve forgone wall art and instead set up a vignette with charmingly unique sconces and clocks you might set to the time in Paris, Montreal and your home city.
Place some old world style accessories in a relaxed fashion on the table and in the display case. They don’t have to draw too much attention. They just quietly add atmosphere that makes the room feel complete.
Lastly the overhead lighting! The chandelier is probably the most delicate part of the room; and that’s perfectly fine! Before you decide that this piece is out of place, note the antiqued finish which “casualizes” (if I may make up a word) the piece. The scrolling arms of the chandelier and dainty wood bobbles really make this lighting the glazing on the French tart!
A dining room is both a ceremonial and fully functional space. Use French Country styling to transform your dining room into both a space to be showcased and a space that is comfortable to use. Need some more inspiration? Browse our French Country collection at Kathy Kuo Home. Enjoy!