What colors for a French country home?
So you chose the style you're dreaming of for your home: the French country home decorating style. Very good choice! The foundations of this home decorating style is the color-scheme. And this is not that easy to implement!
I share here the pillars of French country home color palette so you can start decorating the right way. I will also review 2 examples of French country kicthens with good and bad implementation of a color palette. Nothing better than real examples to understand how to choose the colors.
The 3 pillars for a true French country home color palette
Pillar #1: French country home main colors are neutral: it's a mix of white, beige, taupe and grey. These timeless and peaceful colors create an elegant and comfortable atmosphere in your home. Generally the walls are in white, light grey or beige, as well as the main furnishings (sofa, bed...). For a perfect harmony, 3 options:
1) Walls and furnishings in pure white: this monochromatic color scheme is so elegant!
2) Walls in white and your main furnishings in other neutral colors like beige for example: this combination of colors creates a calming and peaceful atmosphere.
3) Walls in taupe or beige and your main furnishings in white: this corresponds to the Provence France home style, renowned for its inviting and soothing atmosphere.
Pillar #2: natural materials like wood and stone are always present in a French country home. Wooden furnishings (tabletop, chairs...) are made with light wood. Indeed, dark wooden furniture is generally more associated to a rustic home style. In French country houses, wooden furniture are also often painted in white or grey: bright furniture make the rooms seem larger.
Regarding stones, some French country houses have their walls made with stones. But if you do not have this type of house, no problem! Now there are options to create an exposed stones wall with decorative stones or even with wallpaper. Only one wall with stones would be enough to reproduce an harmonious French country interior style.
Pillar #3: neutral colors are the fundamentals of a French country interior, but they should be completed with stronger, contrasting yet often faded colors. This second color palette will give character to your interior. For these secondary colors, there are 2 trends:
1) Warm colors like gold, copper, red or pink: copper pans in a kitchen, a golden mirror or red pillows in the living room.
2) Cool colors like purple, blue and green: a buffet painted in mint green in a dining room or lavender dried flowers in a kitchen.
Very important: remind to choose between warm and cool colors in a room: it is not recommended to mix these 2 types of color in the same room. However, you can choose to have warm colors in your living room but cool colors in the bathroom for example, as long as the main colors are neutral.
French country home color palette: examples on kitchens
Now let's review 2 examples of kitchens to visualize how to mix the colors and to identify the best accessories depending on the secondary color palette.
A perfect example of French country kitchen
This kitchen has the white as main color: the wooden walls were repainted in white; the full dinnerware is white; the countertop, windows, chairs and door are also white. Very elegant!
The rustic table brings a second color to the main palette: the brown. Usually for French country homes, rustic tables are repainted. In this kitchen, it was a very good choice to keep the original material: the color is not too dark and is among the neutral color scope. With all the other elements in white, the table shines better like this.
Now let’s see the secondary color palette: no doubt, it’s warm. The copper pans are the perfect accessories when you want to have a warm secondary color palette in a French country kitchen.
Golden accessories are also a very good choice: in this kitchen, the faucet is gold. I recommend to add more accessories in gold like a vase, a chandelier or a tray for example.
And to add a final warm touch, kitchen linens (tea towels, napkins or placemats) in white and red or white and pink would perfectly fit this type of kitchen. French kitchen linens usually have a colored pattern like stripes, little squares or food (ear of corn, wheat...).
How to optimize the colors to have a true French country kitchen?
Let’s look at this other kitchen now: I have to say I’m not that convinced about the color palette, I will explain in detail.
Clearly on this kitchen the intention is to have a secondary palette with cool colors. What we can see is that the color green was chosen and became actually the main color. This is something that you should care about for your French country kitchen: the main colors must be neutral and the stronger colors must be added as secondary colors, with little accessories or details. This kitchen is lovely but I don’t consider it as a French country kitchen, the basic neutral colors are not visible enough.
Moreover, you can see that there is a mix of warm (copper, gold, orangy) and cool colors (green). There are too many colors in this kitchen and given the orangey color of the floor tiles, the secondary color palette should have been a warm one.
Well, now coming back to a cool secondary color palette for a French country kitchen. Still, 2 things are interesting in this kitchen:
1) Painting cabinets in the secondary color is a very good choice. I would recommend to do it only on upper or lower cabinets, keeping half cabinets in white.
2) You can see that part of the rustic table has been repainted in a pastel green. This is a great idea to have two shades of a same color. Also, as the table was just partly repainted, it gives it some chic character.
In terms of accessories, for a cool secondary palette in a kitchen I would recommend some wall décor (paintings of flowers, lavenders for example) and colored serving plates in the chosen color to finalise the atmosphere.
I'll be back soon with more reviews, stay tuned! Meanwhile, read my full guide on French country home decor.