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A French Country Cottage is Warm and Casual

Bonjour! Okay, I don't know any French at all; however I love listening to the romantic language and I especially love the warm tones that we call French Country Decorating. I'm a fire sign and love warm and cozy colors so I'm naturally drawn to this decor style; which is full of warm reds, ambers, gold as well as florals like lavender which grow wild on the roadside.   Don't forget about bright grass green and dark hunter green, cobalt blue and soft ocean tones too! Warm and Casual are the two main elements of this style and can work in just about any home.

French Country emulates the style you might find in a cottage in rural France. Popular elements include rooster motifs, wrought iron furnishings sporting elegant, whimsical curves, and plastered-surface walls washed in butter-yellow paint. The sleekness of a primitive farm table, for instance, could be softened up with a curvy iron chandelier. Rough, exposed ceiling beams and aged terra cotta or brick tiles on the floor complete the look.

Think natural and rustic when decorating. A square or rectagular table, unpolished, with stoneware or mixed matched serving pieces are right in style (absolutley no fine china!).  How about adding some natural elements into your room's accent pieces? A seagrass throw rug, a glass jar of stones, rush seating and don't forget to make sure you add contrasting texture and color. Pale plaster walls and ceilings are punctuated with dark rough wood beams. Colorful Provencal printed fabrics are set off against light-toned natural seating. Lush natural flowers are everywhere...and why not try them in a pitcher or rustic basket instead of a vase?

No room decorated in the French Country style would be without an armoire to store plates, pots and pans, clothing, bed or bath linens, or tableware. The beautiful colors of the French countryside decorate fabrics used in French Country decorating. The traditional fabrics combine well with basic plaids, checks, and stripes in modern homes. Provencal prints combine shades of primary colors with greens, lavenders, and bright orange. Add a luxurious old-world look with tassels, cording, fringes, and other details.

French Country Style Popular Motifs:
Toile fabrics
Woven or Wire Baskets
Colorful Ceramics/Tiles
Carved Wood Pieces

Old, dark or colorful paintings featuring:
Pastoral scenes
Views of the Eiffel Tower
Monet impressionist painting
Riverboats on the Seine

Black is the accent color and a unifying element in Paris rooms. Bring black into your home without making things look dark. Find painted wood furniture, picture frames, fabrics, lampshades and accessories in black or with black trim.

To really bring Paris to your room, use large posters of French landmarks, nightspots, vintage-style tin signs and Parisian buildings. If you can find paintings, etchings, old black and white postcards, or sepia-toned photos of anything French, all the better.

Large clocks are often a focal point in a Paris room. Find a reproduction clock with lettering in French or that shows a French scene. The older it looks, the better! It doesn't have to work. It just has to look great!

I highly suggest that you don't try to match the elements in your room. Furniture and accessories should look old and used, but not shabby...this will add an old-style warmth to the surroundings.

For light fixtures, select wall sconces with black silk shades, crystal chandeliers, and fringed lampshades on table lamps. A gold foil lining on a black lampshade will help to reflect a romantic glow. Add your own beads, fringe, and cording to simple lampshades if you can't find any already embellished.

Round tables should have layers of skirts. Add a plush cushion to an intricately twisted iron benches. Nothing says Paris more than a little bistro table and chairs. Use a large ottoman covered in rich fabric in place of a coffee table.

Velvet, damask, brocade, lustrous silks, and traditional toiles are found in Paris style rooms. Toile is often paired with coordinating color checked fabrics in both large and small scales. Add a luxurious old-world look with tassels, cording, fringes, and other details. Textured linen, weathered leather, paisley designs, and bold stripes can be used.

Furniture should be upholstered with beautiful fabrics, dressmaker details, and have carved legs. Cushions of down provide the slightly rumpled look of comfort and elegance.

Happy Decorating and most importantly, have fun while doing it!  To help out, Sally Lee has just reduced the retail price on this gorgeous Country French Screen...originally listed at $199.99.


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