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Style Guide - French country interiors

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There is a certain timeless elegance that goes hand in hand with French country interiors. In the countryside, time moves more gently and this is reflected in the romantic French country homes where hours are easily spent sipping wine and enjoying good food around rustic tables or lounging on characterful furniture.

The country look takes that flamboyant French style we know and love, and softens it with whitewashed wood and rustic rattan pieces to create something a little more relaxed and harmonious with the outdoor seasons and nature. Below we have some ideas to help you bring a little of this French country romance into your home this summer.

Perfect your colour palette

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Colours in French country interiors tend to lean towards soft whites and muted, washed out pastels. Think sage green, baby blue and that iconic French grey.

These shades are perfect for a classic French country look as not only do they sit together in a palette that’s true to the style, but the tonality of these colours allow for a look that can transition throughout the seasons and allow those pieces of characterful furniture to do the talking.

Little Greene Paint & Paper have the beautiful French Grey to paint your home and also recommend coordinating colours to bring your colour scheme to life.

Add those rustic details

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Natural materials and rustic finishes are key to French country decor. While this is easily achieved by incorporating woven baskets for storage and rattan vintage furniture, these items work best for summer interior styling. To achieve that laidback, rustic finish all year round, we love the idea of using artisanal wall baskets instead.

Hadeda have a gorgeous collection of hand-woven wall baskets to choose from, in bold graphic designs and a range of sizes. Our favourite is the natural sun wall basket which fans out spectacularly into a circle to make a bold statement on your wall.

Explore Hadeda’s full range of wall baskets here or the sun wall basket here.

Bring the outdoors, indoors

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There’s a symbiosis between the sprawling countryside and the interior look and feel of French country homes. No room would be complete without flowers and foliage gathered from the garden and lovingly displayed in the home.

For the kitchen, creating a living herb garden with terracotta pots of your favourite fragrant herbs. Across your home, take every opportunity to display small posies and bunches of flowers on tables and mantlepieces. Don’t overthink the arrangement or vases. Go with bottles or jars as vases and if you’re struggling with space, display single beautiful blooms with a little foliage to add that botanical feel to the home.

For a floral solution that’s long-lasting, choose dried flower arrangements and bunches of dried lavender for a typical, French country feel.

Read our journal post 8 Cotswolds florists delivering beautiful flowers to find a local Cotswolds florist that can help bring some blooms into the home.

Vintage, romantic linen

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Beautiful linen is very important in France, with it often passed on through generations, lovingly ironed and looked after by each new owner and stored in a classic armoire.

If you don’t have any inherited linens, there are plenty of places to source gorgeously soft bedding, tablecloths or fabrics for making your own. For something more contemporary, look for French grey, pale blue and baby pink and check out local designer, Sarah Hardaker for sourcing the perfect fabric. As one of the UK's leading fabric and wallpaper designers, Sarah's designs ooze that Provence style which blends in so seamlessly in The Cotswolds.

If you’re after classic undyed, perfectly kept vintage linen, antique shops are the way to go! Chipping Norton is a wonderful spot for antique shopping, check out our Area Guide to find out more.

Find characterful, antique furniture

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Antiques are crucial for creating that French country aesthetic, and The Cotswolds is home to an abundance of antique and vintage shops that are a treasure trove of perfect accent pieces.

Personality and panache are key to traditional French style as well as choosing furniture that stands the test of time. Antique pieces tend to repurposed or modernised to fit a particular taste but the furniture will typically feature sweeping curves, crests and swirls. In the countryside, think of everything as a little less polished. High shine is replaced by bleached or matte painted wood, and everything is softened with natural textiles.

If antique shopping and modernising your own furniture isn’t quite up your street, Cotswold Luxe is a local favourite for sourcing pieces which have a sense of grandeur to them. The chandeliers are one of a kind and their collection of furniture have all those ornate traits of antique pieces but have been updated to work in the modern home.

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