We could give a dozen reasons why the vintage French country look has been tres populaire for hundreds of years. It’s elegant, but still has an easygoing, lived-in look. The colors are usually subtle and even soothing. It’s full of eye-catching, handmade details, like embroidery, pintucks, appliqués, and fringed hems. French country decorating isn’t gimmicky, so it looks timeless on its own, and blends seamlessly with modern coordinates. It favors linen, one of the ultimate touchable textiles for home decorating. It helps evoke the feeling of sanctuary, creating a haven you can’t wait to come back to—and sink into—every evening. French cottage–inspired style is actually pretty easy to create at home, once you get the hang of a few simple rules.
1. Choose timeless fabrics that feel amazing under your fingers. Think linen, silk, cotton sateen, and soft (never stiff!) woven cottons. These fabrics instantly elevate an interior design, and, with proper care, will last for many years. A linen duvet and decorative pillows are practically de rigueur in this decorating style.
2. Layer lightly. One of the most appealing aspects of French cottage design is its simplicity; in this decorating style, you won’t find tricked-out beds with multiples layers of blankets and quilts, or sofas so stuffed with throw pillows, you can barely fit a cheek on them. Instead it relies on quality basics, with a few interesting visual elements—pops of a springlike hue or unexpected details—to make a statement.
3. Pick easy-on-the-eyes colors. A neutral base with pastel accents—especially lavender, aqua, seafoam, and ballet pink—is a classic approach in French country decorating, but don’t be afraid to go a little brighter. The trick is to relegate more saturated colors—like coral or citrus—to an accents here and there, and keep the rest of the palette subdued.
4. Look for details that have a vintage feel. This is where you can have some boho-eclectic fun. Pleated window panels, ruffled sheets, throws with tassels or fringe, pillows that feature embroidery or crewelwork, needlepoint art, pintucked duvets, beaded pillows, or smocked or ruched coordinates? All of the above, please.
If you need a little inspiration for putting together a French country bedroom design, try these picks from Annie:
- Varana Linen French Blue duvet cover
- Honfleur Linen lounge pants
- Classic Hemstitch White sheet set
- Ibiza Coral throw
- Savannah Linen Chambray French Blue sham
- Stone Washed Linen Natural sham
- Bonaire Linen tunic
- French Knot Coral decorative pillow double boudoir
- Pleated Linen White window panel
- Siena Rose Wool Micro Hooked rug
- Stonewashed Linen White Ruffle shams