When it comes to the French, we all want to know how to inject some of their je ne sais quoi into our own lives. From fashion to interior design, their inimitable style is enviable. Even their cuisine is highly coveted; Julia Child's global success proved that.
Speaking of cooking, we'll never stop trying to emulate the French's effortless style in the kitchen. From creating rustic, provincial farmhouses to elegant and downright luxurious culinary spaces, the French have a knack for styling eye-catching looks that are functional, timeless, and uniquely their own.
Below, find 20 gorgeous kitchens inspired by French sensibilities. Scroll through to get inspired by the French's use of architectural elements, refined eclecticism, and clever storage, then borrow their ideas for your own home.
Hang Your Pots and Pans
Suspending your pots and pans serves three purposes: It frees up much-needed cabinet space, keeps your cookware in arm's reach, and imbues a kitchen with a charming country feel. We love how this pot hanger is strategically installed above the sink, making it easy to air-dry the cookware after a good scrubbing.
Create a Cozy Dining Nook
A cozy spot to nosh on a croissant and sip an espresso, this dining nook makes the most out of a previously unused corner via a built-in window seat and a pedestal table. The clean lines of the black light fixture and the picture frames are contrasted beautifully with the curves of the woven-seat chairs.
Bring In Butcher Block
This massive kitchen island merges form and function with its butcher-block top and charming, periwinkle-hued base. Because of its durability, butcher block serves as a resilient foundation for perfecting new recipes à la Julia Child, and its natural woods read as a warm tone in the kitchen. Bonus: Butcher block can be sanded and refinished when it starts to look a little worse for wear.
Opt for Backless Stools
In a French flat, square footage is often at a premium. Backless, streamlined stools such as these can be tucked away under a counter, promoting the flow of foot traffic and preserving unrestricted sightlines between the living room and the kitchen.
Install an Apron Sink
An essential element of a French country kitchen, a porcelain apron sink achieves an on-trend look when paired with black fixtures. This French kitchen appeals to modern sensibilities with its coordinating black sink faucet, cabinet hardware, and pendant light.
Lean Your Artwork
Take your artwork off the walls and lean it instead. With the art so openly accessible, it gives off an effortless, casual feel that's so often associated with French décor. Here, a vintage-style painting serves as an unexpected focal point and conversation starter while mirroring the gold-and-green tones of the cabinetry.
Retain Architectural Elements
In French décor, original structural elements are not only retained, they're celebrated. Take, for instance, this French-inspired kitchen: Its decorative molding offers old-world flair while functioning as a hood surround for the cooktop. Note how the gray paint scheme complements the marble backsplash and the steely metallic hue of the kitchen's appliances.
Mix and Match Your Seating
Take a cue from French kitchen design and find perfection in imperfection. In this rustic kitchen, mismatched stools enhance the room's casual, come-as-you-are feel. The paver-style flooring, wood-paneled walls, and ring chandelier combine to create a space that's stylish without being precious.
Dazzle With a Chandelier
A little eclecticism goes a long way when styling a French kitchen. Try mixing high and low elements to create tension and interest through your décor. Here, the rusticity of reclaimed wood shelving stands in striking contrast to the uptown aesthetic of a vintage-style chandelier.
Roll in a Cart
Turn to double-duty furniture to free up floor space where it's needed the most. A rolling kitchen cart, for example, can serve as an everyday dining table or as a serving station when you're playing host or hostess. Since it's equipped with wheels, you can easily scoot it out of the way when it's not in use.
Focus on Utility
Stunning in its simplicity, this well-edited kitchen favors purpose over superfluity. The exposed beams and shelves offer structure and storage, respectively, while also imbuing the kitchen with vintage character and charm. Accented by gold hardware, the midnight-blue cabinetry is a modern touch in an otherwise cottage-y space.
Add Counter Lighting
Layered lighting adds warmth and dimension to any room, French kitchens included. A simple table lamp such as the one pictured above can illuminate a dark corner while hinting at your design style.
Feature Fruit As Décor
When piled into a decorative bowl, fresh produce takes on a whole new life as a decorative element. Channel that fresh-from-the-French-farmers'-market feel by stacking colorful fruits and veggies into your favorite vessel (bonus points if you incorporate a freshly baked baguette into your tablescape).
Choose Checkered Tile
Like French fashion sense, black-and-white checkered tile is always in style. Enlist oversized checkered tile for your flooring, or install it as a backsplash for a classic look that transcends time.
Break the Rules
Despite their classic tastes, the French aren't afraid to take risks. Follow suit by being open to new ideas and following your design instincts. As long as the permanent structures (e.g., the flooring and the cabinetry) in your kitchen are timeless, you should be able to try out new trends in lighting, hardware, and wall décor without too much regret.
Bring the Outdoors In
Few things can give a kitchen a lived-in vibe quite like fresh flowers. Do as the French do and pop by your favorite florist for a bright bouquet on your way home from work, or clip some branches from your own backyard to create a chic arrangement in an instant.
Embrace Your Kitchen's Quirks
Instead of hiding the radiator away under a cover, the designer of this inviting kitchen chose to leave it exposed, in all its gilded glory. A single shelf with knob hooks holds aprons, dish towels, a painted portrait, and other items that prove that this well-loved kitchen isn't just for show.
European style abounds in this chic and modern kitchen. Featuring a minimalist color palette, the space sticks to a decidedly linear design with its clean lines and deep basin sink. We imagine that the bulk of the kitchen's extras are stowed behind the sleek white cabinetry.
Make It Your Own
The French aren't afraid to take design risks—and they're not afraid to show off their personality, either. Take ownership of your kitchen and your role in its design by painting the cabinets your favorite color, displaying a family heirloom, or some other bold means of personalization.
Stick With the Classics
When in doubt, sticking with the classics will help you achieve a French kitchen aesthetic. Retro-style appliances, penny tile, stone countertops, and a crisp, clean color palette never go out of style.