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Trend talk: French provincial

Posted by Lorraine Lea on Jul 20, '17

Imagine living in a historic and ornate French chateau, or a sprawling country estate just outside Bordeaux.

French locals in the 1700s wanted to emulate the look and feel of these aspirational residences, and began decorating their homes with the same kind of colours, fabrics and finishes.


For those living in the pomp and flourish of Paris, decorative embellishments, lavish furnishings and luxurious fabrics were common place, but as this look was adopted by those in the countryside, a more functional, rustic aesthetic began to evolve.

The modern French Provincial interior is still alive and well today, and is a popular décor choice around the world. There are several things to consider when bringing this look into your home.


COLOUR. Characterised by it’s classic, yet casual feel, the French Provincial look uses a soothing, neutral colour palette with splashes of simple, faded colours. Incorporate a mishmash taupe, ivory, muted grey, egg shell blue and lilac in home decorating. These subtle, feminie hues are timeless, and create a relaxed and calm atmosphere.


ROMANCE. Discreet floral accents in art and furniture are popular features of this style. The key is to keep any embellishments quite simple, with subtle hints of old romanticism. This could mean using a quilt cover with lace detail in the bedroom, a fluttering lace curtain over the window or a lush rug on the floor.


LIGHTING. Lighting is another important attribute of this trend. Use table and hanging lamps in brushed metals, fabric lampshades in soft colours, or even an antique chandelier for exceptional ambiance and impact.


MATERIALS. Interiors in the French Provincial style often incorporate natural elements. Distressed, white-washed timber, long farmhouse dining tables and wrought iron touches stay true to its rustic origins. These materials are both beautiful and durable, and create a look that’s lived-in, yet sophisticated.


ACCENTS. It is the unique touches that really bring this interior trend together. Interesting ceramics in soft neutral colours, fine linens on beds and chairs, and weathered candlesticks all add to the warm and welcoming feel.

When done right, a French Provincial style can feel contemporary, with a touch of old-world elegance.

Topics: bedroom design, Featured Style, decorating trends

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