Thursday, August 22, 2013

Decorate My Den In A French Country Style

No matter where you look for inspiration, country style has some common elements. It's comfortable, functional and inviting. That things are imperfect only lends warmth to a country-style den, giving it the air of a place that has been well-used for many happy, peaceful years. French country is further inspired by old-world European charm and that delicate, finely detailed flair of French style. A French country den is a delightful place to spend time, but you don't have to live in a provincial farmhouse to capture it. Does this Spark an idea?


1. Capture the traditional look of stone or plastered walls of French provincial homes by selecting warm-colored paints, like sandy brown or antique white. Add glaze in a wheat gold, earthy clay or other warm color of your choice using a faux paint technique, such as rag rolling (see resources). This brings texture and ages walls instantly.

2. Ditch the carpeting and opt for hardwood floors. The older and more scuffed, the better, as that's part of the provincial charm. Alternately, consider stone tiles or vinyl flooring that looks like wood.

3. Mix basic farmhouse-style furnishings with ornate antiques (or replicas) and be sure they look well worn or distressed, with peeling paint or fading fabrics. Start with the most necessary furnishings and add more later if necessary, as French country style is fairly minimalist and extremely functional. Some excellent choices would be a turquoise settee and bent wood chairs for seating, a crackle-painted wood armoire for storage, and a long, distressed walnut table against a wall for home office space.

4. Group furniture so that each area of the room is defined with a designated function. Set aside an area for your home office and partially block it with a trifold screen for privacy. Place seating around a fireplace for a conversation area and anchor it with a floral throw rug. Create a reading nook in the corner with a cozy chair in front of a bookcase and a wooden bar stool beside it to hold a cup of tea.

5. Dress the windows in treatments featuring heavy linens or patchwork-style curtains that look as though they were sewn from scraps. For a bit more authenticity, install shutters and hang simple toile curtain panels or cheesecloth--tied back or knotted--to soften the shutters.

6. Layer your lighting. Choose a general light fixture that will serve most purposes, such as an overhead chandelier or strong torchiere lamp. Set wall sconces or reading lamps strategically throughout the room for task lighting. A side lamp with an aged, fringed shade and soft, low-watt bulb, or an oil-burning hurricane lamp, create ambience.

7. Accessorize carefully to keep the room from getting cluttered. Add toile or silk woven throw pillows with fringes on the sofa and cushions on hardwood seating. A quilt, tapestry or rusted wrought-iron gate door makes an effective wall hanging. A single, chipped porcelain vase holding dried lavender is all you need to dress up a coffee table and an arrangement of candles on a side table will provide a warm glow to your French country home.

Tags: French country, French country, home office