French provincial style takes its cues from country farmhouses that were embellished with luxury finds stolen from the homes and castles of the wealthy during the French Revolution. Let this classic style kick-start your own interior decorating revolution.
It’s a style that blends beautiful, rustic charm, weathered patinas and has the odd chandelier or guilt vase thrown into the mix. “It’s a look that borrows from different areas, from the rustic to the ornate,” says interior designer Karenza Jewell.
We asked our favourite interiors stylists and decorators to suggest their favourite must-have ingredients for you to bring together in your home to create this classic look effortlessly and with authentic style.
“At the base is a neutral palette with subtle warm undertones,” says Dulux’s Andrea Lucena-Orr. “The furniture and accessories tend to be in a similar toning of organic linens, soft textures and natural timbers,” she says.
“Provincial style favoured cabriole legs with their feminine, curved lines, and carved details in the crest at the back of the chair,” says interiors expert Suzie Anderson, whose Moss Vale store is a rustic French provincial treasure trove.
Think natural wear: “Pieces were stripped timber, painted and waxed to a mellow finish,” explains Suzie.
"It's the natural features and the rustic look that resonates so well with the organic, relaxed feel of this palette, which keeps evolving and stands the test of time"Wendy Rennie
“Make your floors stone or natural timber, your walls always a flat paint finish,” says interior designer Karenza Jewell.
Timber and rattan are the go-to materials for furniture, often with muted linen upholstery.
“Linen shouts understated luxury,” says Karenza. “If you love the look but not the creases, go for a man-made linen look fabric instead.”
“It’s a gorgeous look and part of its appeal is that it’s so achievable. The way to make it work is to put your own mark on it”Tahn Scoon
“Porter’s Paints French Wash emanates the look of centuries-old farmhouse walls,” says Karenza.
Plant dyes formed the palette base in early Provençal style. Look for hues with a greyed-off edge.
“The trick with French provincial is not to go too cool,” says Haymes’ Wendy Rennie. “You want the look of white but not the feel of a cold one.”
3 ways to give the look an Australian note
- Consider a masculine vibe, suggests stylist Tahn Scoon: “Throw in an old Chesterfield or introduce contemporary mirror frames for a less ornate look.”
- “Take a feature occasional chair and paint the frame in a colour such as matt black,” says designer Ann King. “Then add a contemporary fabric that has a distinctive pattern repeat.”
- “Think grey-washed floors,” says Karenza Jewell. “These colours lend themselves to our climate, keeping the natural warmth of timber but cool and calm in the soft grey tones.”
Go here for a French provincial decorating masterclass
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