Greensboro - The French seem to have the gift of effortlessly creating comfortable, chic, stylish spaces that are redolent of rustic charm. But it’s not always easy to recreate this intangible ‘je ne sais quoi’ while retaining the authenticity and romance that’s integral to the end product. The French have a natural respect for local craftsmanship and quality materials that feed into this effect, as well as an inherent feel for the harmony of the elements that pull together to make a space cohesive and comfy. Here are some tips for the various rooms of a home that can benefit from the French rustic design.
The French prize quality, local materials for their flooring. Natural woods and stone are good choices, as are reclaimed or vintage tiles. Avoid high varnish and synthetic composites which can make the space too brash and overstated. The key is to stick to a slightly weathered, lived-in effect that creates a picture that’s greater than the sum of its parts.
Rustic French chic design is all about making the functional fashionable. Store jarred preserves in plain sight, have veg in open baskets, and consider hanging the best pots and pans out in the open. Think of hanging strands of dried fruits, garlic or chillies on racks or beams for a true sense of rustic style. Tile or stone floors work best, and install warm overhead lighting along with work surface LED lighting for ultimate functionality.
Make the hallway welcoming, with fresh flowers, as much light as possible, and vintage furniture like a porte manteau, telephone table, and umbrella stand in a rendered or natural wood finish.
Punctuate a neutral canvas with statement pieces in rich fabrics. Plump for quality over quantity with furniture, and consider upcycling. Give tired-looking pieces a facelift with simple decoupage or rough rendering and sanding for an authentic finish. Try and keep original features like a fireplace and sash windows if you’re lucky enough to have them. Create warmth with focused lighting like standard lamps.
Creams, pastels, and muted shades like duck-shell blue and dusky aubergine are the best basis for rustic French chic. Keep the tone light and refreshing, not vibrant or garish, and make sure accessories and accents aren’t too contrasting. Vintage patterns and reclaimed pieces are great complements to this color pallet, as are quirky ornaments and simple storage that speaks for itself.