As the Nobel Prize-winning French writer Frederic Mistral once stated, “When the Good Lord begins to doubt the world, he remembers that he created Provence.” Truth be told, there is something about this French southeastern region’s rolling lavender fields, olive groves and vineyards that makes its way into rustic interior designs time and time again without growing old.
To complete your own traditional farmhouse design in the French way, here are our top tips for capturing that timeless Provence style.
Landscape as inspiration
When it comes to mastering the right colour palette in your French provincial home, look towards nature. Warm sunshine hues, deep oceanic tones and rich earthy shades all come together to paint a picture of the pastoral, no matter where you live.
For more minimalist interiors, opt for matte creams and ivory washes as a base colour, then add splashes of fresh grass, sunny gold, russet red and sky blue in the form of accents and contrasting decorations. If you’re planning to use brighter colours like mustard yellow, lavender, or peony pink, be sure to restrict them to small areas to avoid them overpowering your design.
A countryside-inspired interior scheme can only be harnessed with the use of natural building and decorative materials. Some perfect examples of this concept can be seen at this charming Provencal villa in Cannes, with its earthen ceramic tiles and natural wooden floorboards blending to create a rich multi-tonal floor running throughout the property. Woven mats bring raw outdoor fabrics into the living room, while the sun-drenched terrace is furnished with a rough-hewn farmhouse table, wicker furniture, and potted plants.
These natural elements are typical of French provincial homes, which often blur the lines between outdoor and indoor spaces. Expect plenty of freshly cut wildflowers throughout these country homes, especially bowls of lavender, towering sunflowers and rosy poppies that instantly brighten up a dining table.
Aside from its colour scheme, the farmhouse style is as much about homely touches and creating a lived-in family space. This means compiling comfy pieces of mismatched furniture and opting for a mix of old and new. In the Provencal Cannes villa mentioned above, you can see wicker seating combined with classic velvet-backed chairs and creamy modern couches.
This juxtaposition of traditional and modern styles is characteristic of French provincial homes, in that it brings together comfortable functionality with a touch of old-world elegance. Provincial furniture is usually simple, sturdy, and stately. Pick up an antique armoire or buffet to try out this look on a smaller scale.
Homely farmhouse accessories
Personalised accessories contribute further to the lived-in quality of a farmhouse design. Delicately embroidered linens and pillows are often used to add some intricate detail and homely décor to bedrooms and dining tables, as well as hearkening back to a simple 18th-century country lifestyle.
The farmhouse style also layers textiles with traditional prints. Look for botanical or nature-inspired designs, from twisting vines to the iconic rooster. Toile is the fabric of choice for French provincial homes, but you will also see simple starched white linens, floral fabrics, and gingham accents.
You don’t have to travel to Provence to enjoy all the sensibilities of the French countryside. The farmhouse style is enduringly popular because of its simplicity and lived-in elegance, while warm colours and natural materials bring a breath of lavender-scented fresh air to any home.