If you’ve scrolled through Instagram and Pinterest for design ideas, you’ve likely come across the French farmhouse style look.
While the rise of the Cottagecore Trend might be taking the design world by storm right now, French farmhouse style is a timeless look designer always turn to. Here’s a quick refresher of the style and what sets it apart.
What Is French Farmhouse Style?
It’s the perfect blend of rustic elegance with a focus on French farmhouse decor. The style originated from the cottage homes and vineyards located in the South of France, which are known for their rustic charm and chic approach to French country farmhouse decor.
Think lots of weathered woods, from architectural elements like wood beams, doors, and flooring to furniture that is salvaged, washed, or has that ‘chippy’ paint look. There’s also a mix of ornate decor and elegant pieces that feel like they were collected over time, which can sometimes give French country-style rooms a vintage eclectic look.
But it’s all rooted in the idea of furnishings that have a bit of patina and rooms that have aged beautifully over time. This timeworn appeal is the foundation of the French country style, which has a very defined elegance about it.
French Farmhouse vs. Shabby Chic
French country style has similar elements to Shabby Chic Style, with a vintage, aged, and timeworn look, but the two are quite different.
French Country style has a strong emphasis on antiquity and vintage charm, with pieces that either age nicely over time or are already aged. In French farmhouse interiors, you won’t find modern replicas or distressed furnishings that are made to look old and aged.
Expect to see: Carved wood pieces, curvy legs, and chairs, lots of ornate accessories.
Shabby Chic style began as a trending look in the 1980s, then it got revived in the early 2000s. The result is a boom in mass-produced ‘shabby’ furniture that was made to look purposely distressed and aged. It came to define this look, which is also more fashion-inspired and glam.
Expect to see: Simple wood pieces, textured details, and fringe, plenty of vintage-style accents.
How to Get a French Farmhouse Design
Explore some of the timeless furnishings and design elements that are always signature to French farmhouse style look below!
Distressed & Whitewashed Woods
You’ll always find aged and raw wood furnishings in French Country style spaces. From distressed or whitewashed wood cabinets, benches, and dining tables to decorative accents like candleholders and bowls, weathered wood pieces in all shapes and sizes are the foundational French country decor that make up the look.
Ideas to Try
- Add timeworn French chairs. Louis XVI-style dining chairs (yes, inspired by the famous King Louis the 16th of France) are not only great in a dining space but also as side chairs that can be pulled into any room. They’ll add instant French flair to a room.
- Bring in a sideboard. Whether you use it as a bar, a console, or as storage for dining room essentials, a weathered wooden cabinet is a statement piece that lends major French country elegance.
French farmhouse style often nods to nature in the form of florals and botanicals, from flowers to herbs to wild greenery. This is reflected in the French country decor mix as art prints, dried or real flowers, and even faux greenery that brings a touch of the lush outdoors in.
Ideas to Try
- Curate botanical studies. A wall decorated with a coordinating series of botanical prints is the easiest way to infuse your space with French ease and elegance. You can try hanging a pair, a trio, or a collection; the key is grouping them closely together.
- Expand with lush elements. You can extend the organic element and lushness of botanical art to faux greenery and plants that add major sculptural appeal—with none of the real-plant maintenance.
Natural Materials & Textures
When it comes to French country style that’s specific to the South of France, there’s a huge emphasis on natural materials, such as linens, woven basketry, burlap, natural fibers, and other beautifully tactile accents. Mixing these textures with natural woods truly brings this style to life.
Ideas to Try
- Lay down a large fiber rug. The best way to play up texture is to ground your French country room with a natural-fiber rug that covers the majority of your floor space. It will bring focus to the neutral furnishings on top while also adding an instant relaxed vibe.
- Look for relaxed textiles. Linen pillows, burlap table runners, and light wool upholstery are key finishing touches with huge impact. They’ll usher in a soft ambiance and add to the French country aesthetic of the space.
Neutral & Pale Blue Color Palettes
The primary palette with any French country-style interior is neutral tones that are always layered with notes of soft blues. Think signature blue-and-white toile, ceramics, gingham pillows or a pale blue floral rug for jumping-off points to working this timeless palette.
Ideas to Try
- Try an overdyed rug. These beautiful rugs are perfect in French country-style spaces, thanks to their gentle washed colors and traditional design. Not to mention, they’re extremely soft on the feet so you get both comfort and classic elegance.
- Pile blue-and-white bedding. This is a classic color combination you find in bedding and linens in French farmhouse interiors. Whether it’s indigo-and-white sheets or beautifully block-printed linens, this bedding palette will transport you to a charming hotel in the South of France.
Antique Forms and Silhouettes
Inspired by the modern rustic charm of Victorian farmhouse style, antiques and vintage-style pieces are staples in French farmhouse interiors. And they’re usually more ornate and sculptural—you won’t find sleek furniture nor a lot of straight lines. Consider a classic roll-arm sofa, weathered-wood floor mirror, or an aged-wood pedestal table found at a flea market.
Ideas to Try
- Hang an ornate chandelier. Take the time to hunt down an ornate or vintage chandelier that is an instant focal point in your space. It’s a common accent in French country style rooms that is also timeless and even practical.
- Work in vintage nesting tables. There’s no shortage of these compact tables at flea markets and antique shops. Pull in a set made with aged wood or antiqued metal for elegant mini surfaces that add character, Old World charm, and French flair to spaces.
Bold patterns take a back seat in French farmhouse-style rooms. It’s all about soft florals, vintage overwashed rugs, romantic botanicals, and simple patterned checks and stripes. You can’t go wrong with a mix of these neutral patterns and prints.
Ideas to Try
- Blue-and-white stripes are key. This is a quintessential pattern in French country-style interiors. And it’s never too much—layer this print everywhere, from pillows to throws to upholstery and right down to your placemats!
- Mix trad and modern patterns. Keeping to a neutral (or blue-and-white) color scheme, mix patterns in the bedroom and living room! Think blue-and-white floral pillows with gingham with painterly printed bedding, which add up to a rustic-romantic French look.
Comfortable Light Upholstery
French country decor is rooted in comfort through and through. And it starts with plush upholstery that’s light and inviting, from deep armchairs and padded headboards to down pillows and bedding. Casual, chic, and neutral are the name of the upholstery game.
Ideas to Try
- Pull in a crisp armchair. A perfectly scaled and deeply plush armchair (or two!) is a must in French farmhouse interiors. They not only lend warmth and comfort, they also provide a traditional formal touch and will help balance out all the wood elements.
- Combine simple neutral upholstery. Keep to classic upholstered pieces in a neutral palette for a look that’s relaxed and at ease. Try a fitted slipcover sofa, or one that’s skirted and has some give to the fabric, alongside a linen armchair, and a muslin bench.
Shop This Look
In addition to botanical prints and vintage art, gilded mirrors are quintessential French farmhouse wall decor. Hang a decorative gold-accented mirror or lean an oversized floor mirror with a window-pane frame—the perfectly imperfect look is always what you’re after.
Ideas to Try
- Show small reflections. Just as you would arrange botanical prints for a gallery wall, swap them for a series of small antiqued mirrors for a bright focal point. Be sure to mix vintage mirrors in different shapes, sizes, and finishes that nod to the rustic French look.
- Go for old and oversized. One designer trick we love is filling a stretch of empty wall space with a large oversized floor mirror that reflects light, gives the illusion of space, and makes for a sculptural statement piece that lends French farmhouse elegance.
Browse our gallery for more farmhouse design ideas!