French Provincial Interior Design

French Provincial Interior Design

French interior design has two main interpretations French Classic and French Provincial.  Also known as Shabby Chic.  As the name suggests, provincial French style includes country farmhouse style as well as coastal influences.  It’s known and adored for its elegant, and timeless appeal.

More popular in Australia is French Provincial interior design.  A style initiated by French royalty who wanted to retreat from the hustle and bustle of Paris into the country.  To understand this interior design style, it’s worth understanding a little about Classical French interior design style, because you may, for example, see a dining table called Louis XV Timber Dining Table and not understand the history behind the name. 

Without going into too much detail about the different French royal families, Louis XV (1710-1774) was the King of France in the 1700s.  The 1700s were significant in terms of design because the Cabriole leg part of Rococo style came into prominence in the 1700s during the reign of Louis XV and these design features are still prominent in any French interior design style created today. 

Other key design features of French interior design include, damask,  toile and trompe l’oeil.  These beautiful design shapes and patterns are still part of French interior design today.

All French interior styles are steeped in history and because their origins are royal, they are rich in look and feel and therefore beautiful.  Key characteristics this style include; textiles and patterns, neutral colours, natural materials such as timber, ceramic, stone, feature flooring, and rustic elements.

Textiles and Patterns in French Provincial Interior Design

Without doubt a vital ingredient to this style is the use of linen.  Linen is a glorious natural fabric that instantly communicates casual chic.  It’s comfortable, durable and creates a rustic charm naturally due to is malleable fibres.  Pattern is also an important part of French Provincial interior design such as stripes, damask, and toile.

French Provincial Interior Design

Neutral Colours

For this style you need a mostly neutral colour scheme such as beige or taupe, white or ivory, blues such as duck egg blue or navy, including greys.  In some instances, there are stronger colours such as rustic reds such as claret or yellow, inspired by the sunflower fields of Provence.

Natural Materials in French Provincial Interior Design

You would struggle to find plastic or another artificial material such as polyester in a French Provincial space.  The inspiration for this style comes from the beautiful landscape of the French country side, which is why wood, cotton, linen, stone, ceramics (picture link https://www.homestolove.com.au/french-provincial-kitchens-6332) are an essential part to achieving this style.

Feature Flooring in French Provincial Interior Design

Whether it’s parquetry floors in a chevron or herringbone pattern or a beautiful ceramic tile, the floor remains a strong design element cementing all the other features in the space.

Photo by Deb Kennedy on Unsplash

Rustic Elements in French Provincial Interior Design

It’s hard to achieve a rustic, distressed vibe so popular in French Provincial interior design, without a few proper rustic, distressed pieces.  Pieces that have signs of a previous life such as rust, dents, scratches or are faded.  These pieces will add a certain authenticity to achieve a French Provincial style.  Consider the use of hammered copper, white enamel with blue rim tableware or a shabby chic sideboard.

Distressed chest of drawers

Written by Trish Khoury
Founding Director
Grace Interior Designs for The Design Basics