The French Country look is one of the easiest to find in decorative accessories but one of the most difficult to find in actual furniture. It tends to be quite formal, difficult to clean, uncomfortable and even expensive. However, I’m more interested in a modern take on French Country and going with more thematic accessories. While this article is about sofas the same rules apply to chairs.
French Country Sofas from Amazon.com
There is nothing plain about this style.
Find nailhead trim and oversized silhouettes. Tufting is another big detail and we’re seeing these details more prominently instead of all of the bright colors and patterns that used to be popular.
Use Unusual Color Palettes
Gray, blue, and yellow tones can feel quite French country. If you want a solid color fabric try one of these classic colors with a more modern silhouette. You can always change up the throw pillows but it just takes this style out of the 1990s which was when it was really popular and updates it.
Years ago the French Country style was quite heavy on pattern. You would find lots of plaids and florals right on the same piece of furniture! This is fine for bedding or throw pillows, but not for something that you’re going to have for a very long time. Linen is probably the texture that I see the most in designer magazines but it’s pretty expensive and difficult to care for. Look for ornate silhouettes and add in stenciled throw pillows on a light color microfiber sofa. Try a smaller size like a banquette or a bench if money is really tight. The first tip is to look for neutral fabrics in light tones. This is the elegant aspect. Then find a more rustic texture.
When in Doubt Spell It Out
Some of my fav fabrics are very obviously French inspired because of the writing or faux postal marks. This can mimic expensive grain sack or burlap furniture on a budget. However, this is more French inspired than French country. Try a bright turquoise throw over the back of it and pair it with a more cheerful slipper chair in the same style but a brighter color. French country couches should usually be different and mismatched instead of buying an entire living room set.
Find Wood Carvings
This gives it an elegant look but will usually be white washed, distressed, or in a medium wood tone. It’s an easy way to restore those thrift store finds and just lends a more tailored look to the furniture. Again, this is more expensive but it’s also a very traditional style. The cushions shouldn’t be too overstuffed. Try one or two on the bottom cushion and a solid back. Also ornate antique style legs are another popular detail.