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French country furniture is a decorative style that aims to evoke a simple, “country” feel, possibly rooted from the region of Provence in France. This style borrows many of its colors from nature, from flowers to farm fields, as Provence is known for its rich hues and plentiful sunlight. Usually, a house strewn with French country furniture has a cozy, “homey” ambiance.
Aside from its colors, nature also lends its organic materials to French country furniture. A staple material, of course, is wood, especially those types of the lighter colors like beech, cherry, walnut, and oak. For fabrics, toile or canvas can be used for upholstering chair and sofas. Toile is a strong, coarse fabric that echoes the organic characteristic of nature, as opposed to smoother cloths that represent refinement. For a complementing touch, designers can add some lace around the toile to break the monotony of the “unrefined” look with some daintiness.
The simplicity of the color white is also showcased in this type of furniture design. One distinct method in creating French country furniture is “whitewashing,” in which the furniture is roughly coated with white paint without varnishing it. This gives the furniture a has-been, second-hand look that makes it more “country.” The color white may be inspired by the sunny climate of Provence and makes many rooms look brighter and bigger. To accent the whiteness, ornaments with bright colors like lavenders, blue, and green can be placed in the room, echoing the fields of flowers and the blue sky.
To continue with the lighter shades of nature, French country furniture also features metals such as iron and silver. If a homeowner wishes to use only wooden materials, gray-scaled paint can be used to outline, for example, the white sofas. Smaller accents can include iron legs for tables, silver-painted door handles, and cast-iron chandeliers that will add beauty and brightness to the room. Even outdoor furniture on the patio and in the garden can benefit from having iron chairs and tables for an outdoor breakfast or during teatime.
French country furniture is also distinct not just for its color and material, but for its ornate carvings as well. Chairs and tables have carved swirling patterns on the edges, and armoires have elaborate engravings on the front. Door and cabinet handles can also display gentle curves to go along with the theme. French country furniture is usually simple in its structure and color, but accented with intricate and curved designs, a contrast that embodies that characteristic of the French country lifestyle.