If you were a design-savvy individual back in the late 90s, you might remember the French country aesthetic being an ever-present fixture in home décor magazines, catalogues, and of course, HGTV. If so, let us be the first to say that French country is back—but before you start in with visions of that former trend, know that the new French country is a far cry from what you might remember.
With nary a rooster motif in sight—sigh of relief here—the new take on French country is a refined, often understated look that has more in common with modern farmhouse, shabby chic, and English cottage styles. Far from matchy-matchy, it's an eclectic mix of vintage pieces, well-loved rustic textures, and breezy materials you might already be using in your home. Think: soft linen bedding.
If we've piqued your interest, you're not alone—we expect this trend to gain steam in a big way over the next few months, following in the footsteps of the modern farmhouse and new traditional crazes.
Ready to get a jump on this style for your own inner sanctum? We're here to help you get inspired with some French country bedrooms we love.
If we're honest, part of what we love so much about the return of the French country bedroom is that it's easy to incorporate elements of other styles—and things you might be able to "shop" from around your home—to great effect.
Texture is key in this look, so layering various knits and woven materials in a neutral color palette is a great place to start. And pro-tip: a rustic, vintage chandelier is a great way to fast-track your transition to this style.
Mix Different Eras
A good French country space will have a bit of a collector's look to it, with pieces that have been—or appear as if they have been—accumulated over time.
Regency-era silhouettes can mingle with more modern ones, but make sure you're able to pull the scheme together with a unified palette or shared details that make the composition really click.
Try Some Tufting
Tufted furniture, like the plump, button-accented upholstery you see here, is an easy-to-incorporate tenet of French country style. Luckily, it's also a fairly traditional look that never really goes out of fashion, so it's easy to find tufted pieces from modern retailers if you're not blessed with a massive backlog of vintage wares.
Nailhead trim, in antiqued brass or another patinated finish, is another great detail to incorporate—and unlike tufting, it's relatively easy to DIY in a pinch.
Mix Your Patterns
A good floral print can be an indispensable addition to your bedroom. Some French country design schemes borrow from British countryside and cottage influences by using ditsy prints or traditional garden florals. But, regardless of what pattern you pick, be sure to mix things up with an eclectic array of motifs.
Classic café stripes, also known as ticking stripes, are an easy place to start, as they're versatile and not too overbearing. Layering in a few different patterns helps you achieve that antique-y look and infuse your space with personality.
Opt For Organic
Even if you don't live in a historic home, you can incorporate aged elements into your space to really emulate the character of a vintage French farmhouse. In this space, non-functional wooden beams were installed to evoke a more historic vibe, and reclaimed wood was used to build the headboard.
Leaving furniture finds and woods in a natural or otherwise imperfect state is preferable for this style. Not only does it keep the look from appearing too fussy—which can be a slippery slope, with all the tufting and florals—it also adds lots of depth and texture to the space.
Cull Your Color Palette
We'll be the first to admit that there are certainly French country spaces that incorporate a lot of color. But, if you're just starting out with this style, it makes sense to limit your palette to a strict selection of neutrals—or even all white, as shown here.
Even within the all-white color scheme, there are lots of opportunity for variation. Some whites skew blue, grey, yellow, or pink, and these tones beautifully showcase the colors and the textures of any French country bedroom.
Create Some Collections
Raiding the antique store can help you find the perfect chair or writing desk for your French country bedroom, and it can kick off your newest collection or re-invigorate an existing one.
Grouping antique or collected items together brings some historic charm to your space, layering in items that have stories all their own—and might just start some great conversations, too.
Cluster your collections to give them the best visual impact—and be sure to edit down regularly, especially if you're someone who tends to get carried away easily with a new collection or hobby.
Play With Plaster
Plaster wall treatments and washes are one of our favorite ways to add texture to a space, spanning styles from desert-chic living rooms to farmhouse kitchens to, you guessed it, the French country bedroom.
If you're up to the challenge of using a plaster product, we absolutely love the idea of letting some spots of wallpaper show through as in this space. A vintage floral or even crisp striped option would be ideal—even just letting a hint of it peek through is so charming and unexpected.
Save Room For Softness
This aesthetic is about comfort as much as it's about style. Let softness be one of your guiding principles as you collect pieces for your space. Prioritize upholstery, soft billowing sheer curtains, delightfully worn-in cottons and linens, and plush hints of velvet to create a layered look that's as pleasant to interact with as it is to behold—it is a bedroom, after all.
For every structured wooden piece—new or vintage—that you bring into the room, be sure to add in a down throw pillow or a comfortable quilt to even out the effect and make the space even more inviting.