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French provincial interior design, furniture and home theming is extremely elegant and high-end—however, it incorporates a country style French inspired rustic element. This combination of stylistic features creates an inviting and cosy, yet luxury feel in your home. French provincial kitchens have a distinct style that combines a graceful fusion of town and country design aspects which create a timeless yet warm interior space. The rise in popularity of French provincial kitchen renovations has been immense over the past few years due to its sheer beauty and practicality.
The history of French provincial design.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, local furniture makers who resided in the South of France began to recreate ornate furniture which was being produced in Paris, in a way that was personal to them. These progressive furniture makers essentially started creating their own pared-back “French-country” pieces from the more affordable materials they had available to them. The look became widespread after World War I when soldiers returned home, inspired by the look of country homes they had seen in the South of France.
What is French provincial design?
The crux of French provincial interior decorating and design is based on the distinct look of furniture used to create that laid-back french countryside feel. This includes design elements such as white-washed surfaces and natural oak with distressed textures to deliver the ideal balance of shabby and chic. French provincial aesthetics may incorporate ornate carvings, special mouldings and decorative wrought iron combined with simple textures and sturdy furniture pieces. The true French provincial design style can be somewhat confusing to recreate, however, ensure you focus on creating a balance of sheer elegance and rustic country styling.
French provincial kitchens boast a beautifully decorated cooking space that feels both homey and classy. Think kitchen cabinetry that resembles traditional French furniture, decorative oven hoods with crown molding or scalloped edging, and charming rustic accents that feel more Parisian shabby chic than rural French countryside.
French provincial colours.
French provincial kitchen colour palettes generally consist of warm neutrals and cooler pops of blue. French provincial homes are inspired by the South of France landscapes, this includes warm golds, earthly grass greens, brilliant cobalt blues, and russet reds. Base colours should be creams and whites.
Other colours you’ll frequently see in French country and provincial style are taupes, soft greys, and ivory. French country style uses natural materials like carved wood, linen, and wool with a rustic fleck. Occasionally a mix of cornflower blues, orange-reds and corn-silk yellow is featured in French provincial interior design too.
Materials and design elements of French provincial design.
Below is an outline of numerous French provincial specific design elements and materials which are commonly used for those wanting to achieve authentic and visually appealing French provincial theming in their home. If you are planning an upcoming kitchen renovation—incorporate some of the below elements to take your design to new heights of beauty and practicality.
- Rustic wood
This is a term that can be applied to any wood as it refers to the condition of the wood, or the way in which the wood has been prepared. Wood can become rustic naturally, or conditioned to appear rustic. French provincial kitchens are usually complete with rustic wood dining tables and padded chairs with vintage upholstery. This rustic vibe can be introduced into your French provincial kitchen through incorporating wooden floors too.
Parquetry is a quintessential feature of a French provincial style home. The most common way to lay parquetry is in a herringbone pattern for an elegant and high-end result. Parquetry is an extremely durable flooring option which is ideal for heavy traffic areas such as your kitchen, halls, staircase, entrance ways and even commercial interiors. Parquet flooring can be made from both solid and engineered wood. Originally, parquet flooring was only made from 100% solid wood. More specifically, parquet wood flooring is usually made from solid hardwood material, which is different in nature from your traditional hardwood flooring. The main difference is that parquet blocks are very thin solid wood pieces assembled together, while hardwood flooring generally stands for floorboards, which are milled or carved out of a tree.
- Wrought iron
This is a hardy material that has been around for thousands of years. It is otherwise known as an iron alloy which gives off a “grain” resembling wood that is visible when it is etched or bent into shape. For French provincial kitchens, wrought iron kitchen cabinet and drawer handles can be classic and aesthetically pleasing—or wrought iron features can also be incorporated in the form of pendant lighting or smaller furniture pieces too.
- Cabriole legs
This is a feature that is immediately recognised as French provincial and can be incorporated in subtle ways into your kitchen renovation. A cabriole leg is one of four vertical supports of a piece of furniture shaped in two curves; the upper arc is convex, while lower is concave; the upper curve always bows outward, while the lower curve bows inward. Most notably, kitchen islands with cabriole legs—make a huge statement in your French provincial kitchen design. These cabriole legs can be introduced through furniture pieces such as tables and dining chairs too. Hall stands, consoles and coffee tables with cabriole legs look great in your open plan kitchen and dining space to create a unified French provincial design.
- Exposed beams
Exposed timber beams are a main design staple in French inspired rustic provincial country homes as they favour old over new. They are designed to draw the eye up and to make the space feel larger without taking up any more extra space. Exposed beams are a classic design element which are commonly made from timber, wood, or faux wood for French provincial style kitchen renovation plans.
Introducing antique furniture pieces, frames or mirrors into your space will make your French provincial kitchen more authentic. Buffets, hutches and kitchen islands can incorporate antique elements to take your kitchen design to new heights. Antique pieces hold great sentimental value and will elevate the French provincial design strategy in your kitchen. Many retailers have replica traditional French provincial antique pieces which make it far more accessible and affordable to introduce these into your space.
An armoire (pronounced ärm-ˈwär) is a piece of furniture in its present form which was devised by the French in the 17th century. It is a large two-door cupboard, usually movable and containing shelves, hanging space, and sometimes drawers. It is a very traditional style piece of furniture that was originally used for storing arms in homes located on the French countryside. Armoires were sometimes sculpted and also painted inside and out and had elaborate hinges.
Today, the armoire is commonly used as a buffet or china cabinet, or general wardrobe and is prevalent in many French provincial style kitchens and home design plans. These are often made from wood and stained darker or white-washed.
- Gold accents
Brass gold and warm tones are favoured by French provincial homes, like the antique mirror and sconces above the mantle in the living area. The gold accents are homely and bring a much desired warmth to the white and grey tones throughout the home. Pendant antique style lighting in a brass gold colour will amplify the French provincial styling in your upcoming kitchen renovation.
- Natural warm tones
Popular colours for a French provincial interior are whites, neutrals, greys, creams, blushes and light blues. Think two-pack ivory cabinets and a neutral splashback with a fleck of grey or cream. Introduce warm wood flooring and pair this back with traditional glass front cabinets. A cream wall colour that is accentuated by a modern downward lighting strategy will add to this cosy kitchen environment.
- Statement kitchen island
Being one of the key features of the kitchen itself, a French provincial inspired kitchen will often have a central island, commonly in a similar shade or finish to the rest of the cabinetry for design cohesion. Kitchen islands that feature classic panelling and marble tops look ideal with white or cream cabinetry. You can offset the white and cream tones with wrought iron features and silver or gold tapware. For something more decorative, incorporate an island bench with intricate turned and fluted columns at the corners for some French provincial flare. Add a wine rack into your island bench, because this is very French and also very practical as most households enjoy the occasional glass of wine.
When choosing the perfect French provincial style benchtop for your upcoming kitchen renovation—opt for stone or timber. These natural elements serve to reconnect the chef with the rural origins of the food that is being prepared. These are longstanding and classic materials that reflect the era in which French provincial design was born. Elaborate, carved corbels are ideal to place under the benchtop or as brackets for open wall shelving. If your floor plan allows, add a rustic dining table in the centre of the kitchen. Hanging pot racks can be mounted over benches and these are a practical and charming way of displaying copper, cast iron or enamelled cookware and utensils. This allows you to bring that rustic element into your French provincial kitchen design in a way that is more subtle and interchangeable. This is ideal if you don’t want to commit to wrought iron handles or a copper kitchen mixer.
Medium-sized square tiles with a feature panel above the cooktop depicting either fresh produce or a scene from the countryside—are your typical French provincial style kitchen splashback options. Ivory, grey tones, white squares or mosaic tiles offer a modern take on the French provincial design theme. These are more minimal and classic options that will allow you to keep your design base more simplified. With a less complicated design base, you will have the freedom to introduce antique furniture pieces or interesting upholstered chairs into your space without clashing with existing design elements. For a more high-end feel, marble splashbacks with crisp white or creamy two-pack cabinetry can really elevate your French provincial kitchen renovation design.
How to identify French provincial furniture?
Parisian furniture of the past was known for being intricately ornamental and quite over-the-top or gaudy but in a classic way. Often it incorporated ornate gilding, traditional molding, and paneling which gave it the much needed French provincial finishing touches. Traditional country furnishings, on the other hand, were far more rustic but they tended to successfully strike a balance between beauty and comfort.
French provincial, as we know it today, combines graceful flourishes with gentle tones to create an elegant and sophisticated look which is highly sought after in many modern settings. This style is no longer restricted to lavish historic abodes but is found in suburban, inner-city and acreage style kitchens around the globe.
Inspired by the warm, earthy colours of the neoclassical era, French Country furnishings usually feel lived-in or worn but in an appealing manner. There is always an emphasis on styling in a French provincial space, so don’t be afraid to keep adding your newly acquired French provincial themed pieces to the space. French provincial furnishings are also quite playful with touches of botanical themes in art, fabric, wallpaper, and accessories. Welcome authentic French provincial kitchen furniture and soft furnishings into your space to complete your kitchen renovation styling.
Why choose BJF Joinery for your French provincial kitchen renovation?
The French provincial styling is a lifestyle that embraces the senses and invokes a real sense of history and community in your space. If you’re wanting to transform your home into a French countryside haven, BJF Joinery are a reliable Queensland based kitchen renovation specialist who can bring your French provincial vision to life in a cost-effective and timely manner.
BJF Joinery, consists of a team of design experts who are equipped to help you with choosing all your fixtures and fittings to ensure your design brief is completely fulfilled. Their team of certified experts ensure all work is safe and compliant and will make your kitchen renovation process smooth sailing from start to finish.