The Art of French Dressing

Collection of French fan mirrors displayed on wall Anthropologie

A collection of French fan mirrors from Anthropologie is an interesting display

French Country-style evokes memories of holidays in rural France and the lifestyle many hanker after, simpler and pared back. French linens on beds, sack cloth cushions, delicate lace panels, shutters and sturdy, functional wooden furniture. However, you need not be a slave to replicate every detail to reproduce this style. Add some modern paintings and lighting as successfully married together at La Souqueto  Chambres D’ Hotes

This style is in stark contrast to excesses of King Louis X1V and the ‘Versailles’ heavily gilded ornate furniture and lavish furnishings (with a lifestyle to match!). French Baroque with grand chandeliers, heavy drapes embellished with brocades hung at large windows and around beds in grand palaces.

Ornate French bedroom

Heavily adorned French bedroom

This of course is different to Parisian homes, where space is generally at a premium. Chic, pared down, with a considered use of available square footage. Think of the famous words of Coco Chanel ‘Less is more’ which is true for interiors as well as fashion.

Then, of course, there is the French Chateau, which can be a mix of ornate furniture, chandeliers, Toile de Jouy fabric and wallpaper, distressed painted wall treatments all add to the atmosphere, to simple lime washed walls.

Before investing in gallons of white paint as a starting point, what about colour? Homes in warmer climates use white to brighten their dark shuttered rooms, but can appear ‘cold’ in more northern homes. Think of the fields of sunflowers and lavender, Monet’s use of colour at his home in Girverny.

Perhaps there are elements from the traditional French interior styles you like and dislike. Try mixing the items you like together, oversized chandeliers with rustic wooden furniture. Simple Roman blinds made from French linen edged with a brocade, picking out colours within the room for a cohesive scheme. Do you want to create a romantic French feel to your bedroom (boudoir!) with lace, Toile in greys and blues or French country kitchen?

Chateau La Lartigolle has beautifully and successfully transformed into a chic boutique country house hotel using a mixture of dark and ‘sludgy’ colours on their interior walls as well as wallpaper. They’ve mixed traditional French style with antique, modern and vintage pieces from 1930’s armchairs to 1950’s side tables, wall art from the 1960’s, including Jimmy Hendrix and modern contemporary pieces. The Chateau creates a surprising eclectic mix which is warm, comfortable and very easy to live with. Ideas to inspire and perhaps steal?

Dark red walls old leather armchair with interesting accessories makes a cosy corner

A cosy corner for a quiet read.

Blue Bedroom at Chateau Latigolle

The Blue Bedroom at Chateau Latigolle is calming and understated.

Mixed Vintage furniture in Chateau Latigolle

Mixed vintage pieces create a comfortable eclectic interior

White wall clock modern and contemporary art pop out against a dark grey wall

Mixed styles work well together

Modern art with pearlescent paint refllects light on a dark wall

Pearlescent paint reflects light in a dark corner.

A glass vignette on a table

A glass vignette

A mantle Piece styled with blue glass ornaments books and bust

A beautifully styled mantle piece

Hearth and fireplace style with Venician mirror bust blue glass and Chinese vases

A mixture of styles and arrangements makes a stunning focal point.

Jimmy Hendrix hangs on wall in Chateau Latigolle

Jimmy Hendrix hung on a sitting room wall at Chateau Latigolle

A glass window vignette at Chateau Latigolle

Window Vignette

Grand staircase dressed with chandelier and modern prints

A grand staircase with chandelier and modern prints