20 Ways to Create a French Country Kitchen

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If you love style that is warm, comfortable, and beautiful all at the same time, you’re likely a fan of French country designs. A French country kitchen is no different – in a place that has historically been the working-horse of the home, the kitchen designed in a French country style evokes a familiar, friendly feeling of traditional and somewhat simple life.

Some elements of a French country kitchen are also found in a farmhouse-style kitchen but don’t confuse the two. While farmhouse is clean-lined and tends toward a bit more contemporary version of rustic, French Country is all about a light and airy feeling that is a little feminine and definitely elegant, even if it’s not formal.

What Are the Main Style Elements of a French Country Kitchen?

It’s about the Countryside

The main inspiration for this style is right there in the name. The design of homes outside of the main cities is less formal and ornate. The style might include traditional features but in a more relaxed way. Often French country style is drawn from the style found in the region of Provence.

It’s Rustic But Still Elegant

French-style is always elegant but the country version adds a rustic twist. Instead of the fussier, ornate detailing and gilded elements found in more urban design, a French country kitchen will include toned-down versions. The overall feeling will be comfortable and lived it, yet have an air of refinement.

Nature Plays a Big Role

A French country kitchen uses plenty of natural materials and generally has a neutral palette. Exposed beams on the ceiling, stone elements – maybe even for the floor – and subtly distressed paint finishes give the entire kitchen a slightly weathered feeling. The accents will come in the form of botanical motifs and textiles that incorporate Provençal graphic prints.

A Warm Color Palette

Whereas farmhouse style uses a predominantly white or off-white palette with few colors, French country kitchens are all about warmth. While the base color may be a shade of white or cream, the rest of the kitchen focuses on warm shades of blue, red, yellow or green. Overall the goal of color in a French country kitchen is to create a warm atmosphere that fits the style

Plenty of Curves Ahead

Skip the more angular pieces associated with farmhouse style when creating your French country kitchen. Chair silhouettes, moldings and accents are generally curving and not linear. Experts say that Louis XVI chairs are the perfect example of French country style and are most associated with it. The rounded seat and back combine a wood frame with a comfortable seat. Remember that while the furniture may be distressed and have an aged feeling, the style is still all about comfort.

Lots of Patterns

The patterns traditionally found in French country homes are a must for a kitchen in this style and are generally used on textiles for the table, for example. Some of the most common ones are gingham, plaid, toile and stripes. Decorations and motifs typically represent elements that you’ll find in the Provençal countryside: roosters, sunflowers, insects, olives and lavender

A Focus on Accessories

Minimalists beware because a French country kitchen will be big on accessories, which tend to span the range of old and new. Antique finds are mixed with colorful pieces and rustic baskets to create a lively but elegant space.

French Country Kitchen Design Ideas

Soft, pale colors are typically used in a French country kitchen, largely because these are colors taken from a provincial landscape. Think warm, soft, muted hues in earthy tones.{found on suemurphydesigns}.

The color palette of a French country kitchen tends to be soft and subdued. Because cabinetry tends to take up the most visual space in a kitchen, using warm surfaces and muted tones on the cabinets is a must for an authentic French country feel.

Crown molding framing the top of the kitchen’s cabinetry is often a component of the French country kitchen, adding a beautiful traditional element.{found on canterburydesign}.

Skirted cabinetry, particularly under the sink, is a traditional country- or farmhouse-style décor detail, and it can be found in French country kitchens as well.{found on faraboverubies}.

It makes sense that a décor style that takes its cues from countrified natural scapes would incorporate natural materials into its design. Stone, brick, and wood surfaces are plentiful in the French country kitchen.

Evocative of the times when large families and guests would gather around, French country kitchens will (whenever space permits) incorporate a large kitchen island. This not only aids in food preparation activities, but it also provides space for bringing lots of people together, guests and hosts alike.

Furniture-type details on the kitchen cabinetry and/or island increase the warmth and comfort of the kitchen itself. Warmth and comfort. These are the essence of what a French country kitchen aspires to have.{found on reaumeconstruction}.

An island is indeed an important component to the French country kitchen. One way to highlight the feature is to make it a different color than the rest of the kitchen. Keep the same warm, muted palette, just add a contrast for visual interest.

Although the French country kitchen has few contemporary tendencies, as far as décor goes, there are still some subtle ways to introduce a more modern feel. For example, using darker woods or painted surfaces on, say, the island combines with the lighter surfaces of the rest of the kitchen in a more modern aesthetic.

A French country kitchen will often, although not always, incorporate a farmhouse- (or apron-) style sink into its design. Even amidst other elegant touches, this simple sink form looks perfectly at ease.

A luxurious detail but one that makes sense with the large-gathering focus of a French country kitchen is the wall-mounted pot filler faucet, installed above the stove. This is a traditional feature that has disappeared in standard kitchens, but it’s quite useful for the family chef!

Traditionally, the hanging of cookware overhead was a purely functional decision. Today, the strategy of copper pots on display in the French country kitchen gets as much applause for its gorgeous form as for its function.{found on montanaaveinteriors}.

Outdoor- or lantern-style lighting is used seamlessly in a French country kitchen, due largely to its rustic, organic, yet hard-working aesthetic.

French country kitchens play upon the history of families gathering around the fireplace by designing stoves and/or other cooking spaces that are reminiscent of fireplaces. This is accomplished in a variety of ways, including the use of brick or stone around the stove, an archway, or decorative hood, for example.

Unique, decorative (and functional!) hoods abound in the décor and design of a French country kitchen. And even if they didn’t…you couldn’t ever go wrong with a gorgeous copper number like this one.

For an automatic warm, country feel, use beadboard (or tongue-and-groove) facings on vertical surfaces. Ideas for beadboard placement include cabinet doors, kitchen island walls, or even the backsplash.{found on deborahgordondesigns}.

They don’t have to steal the show, but iron details (think cast iron or wrought iron touches) in a French country kitchen are a must. Iron appears to be used on much of the lighting here (the pendant lanterns and lighting flanking the kitchen sink), and it finishes off the whole look.

Exposed ceiling beams are not always possible to incorporate into the kitchen decorated in French country style. They are not necessary for a successful warm, stylish look, either, but the exposed wooden ceiling beams are certainly icing on the French country cake!

A warm and welcoming feel is one of the main components of a French country kitchen, although it is a harder one to quantify. Incorporating a variety of textures and textiles while keeping the color palette warm and light is a good rule of thumb.

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