This is because it really is so easy to create the look-and-feel. It’s not just easy but super satisfying at the end of the process, having a touch of France at home! The French Provincial design is a fine balance between a warm homely French country feel and French baroque-style finishes.
If you’re reading this, it’s possible you’ve been to the Palace of Versailles, and now you’re back home. Reminiscing. Still awestruck by such beauty and opulence. And you’re looking around you, only to think your home seems pale in comparison.
Well, the good news is you can change all that! And more!
When it comes to the actual décor, I’ve selected product suggestions at different price ranges so you can see what you’re in for.
Hopefully, you have some of the products already lying around, or with a bit of a twist, you can do some remodeling (DIY) on an existing one.
If not, I’ve sourced a few DIY videos to help you create some of the features we’re discussing.
I hope the article inspires you and motivates you to take the first step to an absolutely stunning French provincial style home.
The most famous showcase of the French Baroque style is the Palace of Versailles during the reigns of Louis XIII (1610–43), Louis XIV (1643–1714), and Louis XV (1714–74).
Already by 1684, it became the symbol of the entire French Baroque style.
Kick-start your own interior decorating revolution with must-have ingredients to create the classic effortlessly and authentic French Provincial style.
The palace is full of clues on how to add a bit of baroque to further complete the French Provincial interior, inspired by the 17th and 18th centuries. For instance, the Versailles Palace’s interior is filled with marble, mirrors, bronze, polychrome stone, and gold-plated stucco.
Good advice: Forget about straight lines. It’s all about curves!
Above: Examples of how the old and the new are balanced with the use of color and soft fabric. The result is an elegant and comfortable look-and-feel.
The neutral base, of creams and off-whites, creates a timeless classic look.
Link: Off-whites from Dulux
Think of Provence in the southeast of France. Focus on a monochromatic scheme (one color with shades thereof) of pale lavender, sage green, or soft yellow hues and you have a beautiful calm interior with a summery feel all year long. For instance, use a single base hue (such as Dulux Natural White) and its extended shades, tones (add a darker color, grey or black), and tints.
Powdery shades with a grey undertone create a more modern-day interpretation of the French Provincial style.
The reason for the use of brass gold and warm tones is to bring warmth to the white and grey tones. Examples are an antique mirror or picture frame, strategically placed to catch the eye.
Whatever you do, keep the tones and overall colours warm and neutral, reflecting the French nature and the countryside.
It might not be realistic to add marble floors or a marble fireplace. However, a gilded mirror, a vintage chandelier, European square linen pillow shams, or wallpaper that mimics classic architectural flourishes will add an instantly recognizable French touch to any room.
Go furniture hunting in your local vintage and antique stores.
Or mix the old and the new from a website such as Amazon. It’s not always possible to find actual vintage French furniture. Amazon has traditional style pieces with distressed and gilded details. Include these pieces with your French country-style furniture to create a casual look-and-feel.
Or, embark on a DIY project such as turning a plastic chair into a throne chair!
Or, mix the old and the new from a website such as Amazon.
Known for their quality linen, the French produce pure 100% French flax linen made from the flax plant in the countryside. Take note of how the influence of the countryside comes to play in the French Provincial style.
Balance the luxury from the baroque era with “charming, simple yet elegant interiors found in the French countryside”. For example, it’s used in bedding, in buttoned headboards, in throws, and throw pillows.
Here’s a link for our DIY readers to follow the easy instructions on how to make your very own tufted headboard.
In our Versailles photo gallery, you would have picked up on ornate walls. Again, we take our cue from Versailles.
A toned-down version, without the elaborate gilded moldings, fits in perfectly into our ultimate goal.
Have a look at the DIY video on just how easy it is to give life to a dull wall.
Don’t forget to pay attention to the skirting boards and cornice.
You get the most beautiful moldings to crown rooms or frame an entranceway. Other examples are around a window, or around the top edge of a pedestal.
For instance, in front of your fireplace.
The rug will complement your décor and it will make it easier to mix old and new.
(Yes, it’s expensive. You’d have to cut on some other goodies you don’t really need.)
Again, we take our queue from the palace of Versailles, and this time the Hall of Mirrors. Chandeliers are a key component of the Baroque-era, and subsequently, the French Provincial style.
The above photo demonstrates what we’ve discussed up to now. Namely, how we use cues from the Palace of Versailles in a country-style setting to create an authentic French Provincial interior. For example, the baroque-style mirror, the tufted furniture, soft fabric, and the white door blending with the moulding on the wall.
The combination of beauty, sophistication and elegance is what you want to achieve.
Photo sourced from Intrim Mouldings.
Hang a baroque framed painting on the wall.
Or go more discreet, which is my preference. For instance, place a baroque-style photo frame on a table. Don’t over-do it. You want to add a touch of Baroque. You don’t want to create a Baroque museum. On the contrary, you want to create country-style living with a luxurious flair.
The old rural French homes always had a fireplace.
If you don’t have a fireplace, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I came across a DIY video that I thought is worth sharing. That said, I suggest one slight alteration. Namely, I would change the materials used to create the brick look by using stone cladding.
What I love about this ‘fireplace’ is the hidden storage. Who can say no to that!?
Alternatively, give an existing fireplace an authentic country feeling with stone cladding.
You can go for the all-white cupboards, or play with original wood stained in a slightly darker tone to create a focal point in the kitchen.
Note the use of moldings, the chandelier, natural wood to emphasize the countryside, the framed mirror, and flowers.
We used marble, soft tones of cream and white, and classic white cupboards.
I hope you enjoy getting creative as much as I’ve enjoyed putting together my top tips for creating a gorgeous French Provincial home.