Thursday, December 31, 2009

Make A Home Look French

Add a Continental feel to your home with French decor styles.

There are two French decor styles: French provincial, more commonly known as French country, and French Empire. These two styles create very different finished effects. French country is a relaxed and rustic, homely style. It creates a family-oriented, farmhouse kitchen feel. French Empire, from the 1800s, evolved from the court of Napoleon and is based on classic Roman and Greek design. It is a far more decorative and formal style than French country. Whichever style you choose, making your home look French is a fairly easy process that will make a real impact. Does this Spark an idea?


French Country Style

1. Split the walls into upper and lower halves, ensuring that the upper parts of the walls are the largest areas. Keep the top parts neutral with shades of gray. For the bottom parts of the walls -- approximately floor to chair rail height -- use either a grayish red or a dusty, chalky blue. Paint woodwork and details in fresh white or soft cream.

2. Add stronger colors to the room with cushions and throws. Use a range of blues, reds, creams, grays and white to tie the color scheme together. Windows in French houses open inward, so curtains are not common; however, fine voiles often hang at the windows instead. Look for a traditional toile de Jouy patterned fabric or striped or checked linens to create your window dressings.

3. Add a large armoire, a key piece when selecting furniture for a French country-style interior, which can be used in any room in the home. A traditional Louis XV-style armchair or chaise longue is suitable for both the bedroom and the lounge. Keep furniture in the kitchen rustic, with rush-seated ladder-back chairs and a large, farmhouse-style kitchen table. Wrought-iron garden furniture is commonly used indoors in French homes. Mix the old and new together to create a well-rounded, comfy-looking finished effect.

French Empire Style

4. Mix lighter tones of earthy, neutral colors with bold, rich colors such as red, green, gold, blue and amethyst. In a small room, keep the main colors neutral and light with one accent wall in deep, rich hues. Walls and ceilings feature extensive decoration and ornamentation, so faux paint effects are a great addition to a French Empire-style room. Add motifs to the room that are reminiscent of Roman and Greek design, such as torches, empire wreaths and the letter "N" for Napoleon.

5. Create a faux paint effect on the floors for a really rich and elaborately decorated interior. Alternatively, stick to neutral colors or dark wood flooring, and add richly patterned rugs in bold colors. Use heavy, rich fabric with bold prints for the window dressings.

6. Search antique shops for furniture appropriate for a French Empire-style interior. This style of furniture features strong geometrical patterns and inlay and brass trimmings with Roman and Egyptian motifs and is very heavy and solid-looking in dark woods. Sofas and armchairs should be soft yellow, green or white, with cushions featuring a bold, bright pattern. Also look for furniture that features Roman and Greek design features. The overall look should be one of great detail, ornamentation and embellishment.

Tags: French country, French Empire, Greek design, Roman Greek, Roman Greek design, decor styles, faux paint