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What do French country kitchens look like?

Does this suit your French country tastes?
Does this suit your French country tastes?
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If you're trying to imagine a French countryside, think of Provence: valleys teeming with fruit orchards, wooded hills brimming with oak and pine trees, the quaint villages full of ancient stone and brick, and of course, you can't forget the expanse of lavender fields that bloom in June and July.

These are the elements that influence the color palette of a French country kitchen. Walls are often neutral colors (think off-whites or beiges and taupes) because the typical French country kitchen would have walls made of stone and clay. If you're a lover of color, have no fear. These rooms are far from boring. Exposed beams offer a rustic touch, and accent colors range from bright yellows and blazing reds to cobalt blues, bright greens and deep purples. Floors are rustic and aged, created with materials like ceramic tiles or flagstone. Wood floors are also common, and parquet patterns give it an Old World look.

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French country is casual and comfortable, so think charming but without formalities. Furniture would be handcrafted, made of wood with simple details, and lighting fixtures are typically brass or iron with simple designs. Rustic is the name of the game with this decorating style, so any signs of age only add to the charm of the room.

 

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Casual and airy is the way to go.
Casual and airy is the way to go.
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The décor of a French country kitchen is where the character of the room really comes through. These kitchens are fun and cheerful and not at all stodgy. Floors are covered in hooked or braided rugs made of brightly colored geometric or floral patterns. Simple Roman shades with floral and striped patterns adorn the windows, and an oversized farmhouse table crafted from pine and lined with long benches is where families gather to eat and socialize. Storage is often at a minimum, so no French country kitchen would be complete without a wooden armoire overflowing with dishes and linens.

Along with a pot rack hanging from the ceiling that holds a large collection of pots and pans, you're likely to find stacks of baskets and planters overflowing with leafy green plants and an abundance of collectibles that fill every nook and cranny. Roosters are the consummate symbol of country living, and you'll also find lots of flowers, grapes and fleur-de-lis patterns. These designs can be found on everything from fabrics and dishes to decorative ceramic tiles or colorful statues. It's not unusual to find arrangements of dried flowers in old pitchers or baskets, either, and if you really want to inspire the feeling that you stepped in right out of the countryside, hang your flowers and herbs upside down from the ceiling to dry them out yourself.

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Sources

  • "I want that French Provencal Look!" eco-furniture.com, 2010. http://www.eco-furniture.com/guide/frenchProvencal.php
  • Pittel, Christine. "A French Country Kitchen in California." Housebeautiful.com, 2010. http://www.housebeautiful.com/kitchens/dream/french-country-kitchen

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