Does your home need a facelift? If you’re craving a comfortable yet graceful feel to your home, a French inspired home might be for you. A French style home is comfortable, but also romantic, charming and elegant. If you are remodeling your home, there are many material and style choices you can make to transport your home to the French countryside, as well as several ‘soft’ style choices and furnishings that can give you a similar feel.
The Exterior of Your New French Home:
If you are building a new home, or completely renovating your home, consider using more natural materials in order to give your home that French look. Stone and limestone brick accomplish this well, but a light colored stucco with stone accents works, too. While the natural materials may be simple, the details are not. Stone columns and ornate stone carvings are great accent pieces for your home’s exterior.
Even if you are not building a new home, there are several ways you can change the exterior of your home to quench your thirst for French-appeal. Replacing your door with a natural wood stained door or your gate and fences to wrought iron pieces is a great way to give your home a French look. That touches on another good point about the exterior of traditional French homes – landscaping is important. Even if you don’t live in the countryside, a well landscaped garden with manicured shrubs and bushes is a nice touch reminiscent of the gardens at Versailles.
The Interior of Your New French Home:
Just like the outside of your home, the interiors of French homes emphasize ornate detail and the use of natural materials. Pinterest and Houzz are great places to get inspiration for French design. For flooring, natural hardwood floors are a must. In the bathrooms and kitchen, use tiles that appear more natural, such as marble or limestone, rather that ceramic or concrete. On the walls, consider speckled-style paint and natural colors, and use ornate crown and base moldings throughout. Arched entryways and doorways are a nice touch, as is a fireplace. If you have a good view from your home (ideally of that well landscaped garden), consider building a terrace. If you have the space, a wine cellar is certainly a nice touch, as the French certainly love their wine. A multi-story great room, or at least a sitting area with a high ceiling, is great for having company and relaxing and carries with it a sense of aristocratic grandeur often seen in French maison architecture.
There are many small features that add a lot to a French-styled home. Lighting in a French styled home is important, and classic French furniture is a must for your living room or dining room. For fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom, avoid anything too modern or overly polished. Wrought iron, oil-rubbed bronze, or old-fashioned nickel are good material choices.
How you decorate your home can have a huge impact on the success of your French transformation, and can be easily accomplished even if you are not completely renovating or building a new home.
An important thing to note going into décor is that, while the home itself uses natural materials, the décor doesn’t have to. Think elegant and beautiful when you think of French décor. Fabrics are important in France, and are a popular accent piece – use draping curtains throughout the house, and metal curtain rods. Bringing cultural elements, such as art and statues, is essential for a true French-home, and is a great way to show off what you are passionate about.
Baroque furniture is another great way to style your home after the French. Avoid modern and simple furniture pieces, instead choosing more elegant and ornate surfaces. French furniture uses wood, generally painted a light-natural color rather than a natural stain, although either is acceptable. Tables with curved legs and small drawers and carvings are best, and chairs should be ornate as well. Mirrors as focal points are also common in French interior design, so mirrors with decorative frames and edges are a great touch.
There are many other small accent elements that you can add to your home to give it that desired French appeal. Throughout your home, use linens that are delicate and decadent for table settings, towels, and bedsheets. Select china and glassware that is ornate and luxurious to complement the furniture. As for simple flooring accents, while carpeting is not recommended, ornate rugs make a great addition to any French room, and help keep your feet warm in the winter.
Simple floral and fruity additions are great to any setting as well. If you have that wonderful garden surrounding your home, keep flowers in vases throughout your home. If not, it still adds a nice touch to buy dried flowers to display in a vase. Since French cuisine is almost as well known as their style, try to display food that compliments your color scheme in throughout the kitchen and family room. Make use of simple fruit bowls and even bottles of wine. It also doesn’t hurt to always have some brie and a baguette ready to go.
Whether you’re building a completely new home or just want to change some small accent pieces, there are many things you can do to transform you house into a French-inspired maison. What tips are you going to implement in your French-Inspired home?
Joie de vivre!