Décor inspired by the charm of the French countryside is an often sought-after aesthetic. And it’s easy to see why. Who hasn’t dreamt up images of rustic furniture, lush landscaping reminiscent of The Secret Garden, and natural wood accents (exposed beam ceilings, anyone?)? However, as Betsy Kasha, founding partner of the Parisian real estate agency Kasha informs us, “French country is not a deliberate or studied décor. It is more the result of a lifestyle.” A whimsical life we all want to lead. Ornate items and unique antiques are often found at Sunday foire a tout (a village yard sale) and then incorporated with more chic pieces at home. “The result is relaxed, interesting, a bit whimsical, and extremely personal,” Kasha explains.
Thinking of bringing elements of the French lifestyle into your own home? Get inspired with a look inside one of Kasha’s properties in Normandy. Inviting gardens, charismatic bedrooms, and irresistibly elegant yet cozy living spaces await. Find out how to introduce these design elements to your own abode, whether you live in the country or in the city. This is how a French designer interprets French country décor.
Think Classic, Not Trendy
According to Kasha, French country décor blends comfort, simplicity, and beauty—all things that will never go out of style. “[It] endures because it is not trendy,” she says. Give your room the feeling and attitude of the French country lifestyle with found objects that complement your traditional pieces. Here, shapely candlesticks and a pitcher that serves as a vase give character to classic leather chairs and rustic wooden elements, which are associated with French décor because, as Kasha explains, most French country houses that were built before the 20th century have a wood beam construction. The design was simply an element of necessity.
Allow the Space to Feel Lived In
Layered rugs and leaning art give this room a casual nonchalance to accompany exposed wooden features and bright open windows. When decorating the bedroom, Kasha focuses on the fabrics. “The iconic colorful striped fabrics from Basque look great in country interiors and are authentically French. I also like the colorful prints of Provence for the table and bedding,” she says. Turn to any of these classic looks for a room with an air of French ease.
Create an Outdoor Sanctuary
There’s nothing more relaxing than spending an afternoon lounging outside in the grass. With the perfect outdoor space and patio furniture, you can host friends for a garden party or plan dinner for the family outside on a warm night. A slow evening outside with a good bottle of wine and even better company exudes a classic French country feeling. All you need are a few seats with decorative cushions and a table for your small bites and drinks.
Re-create the Sights and Fragrances of the Country
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a home in the South of France without flowers and greenery growing on the property. Let ivy roam up the walls of your home’s exterior, and plant fragrant roses and, of course, lavender. Allow the breeze to waft the fresh scents into your home through wide-open windows. It will look and smell just like the countryside.
Display Fresh Flowers
“Arranging a beautiful vase or pitcher with fragrant, freshly cut flowers from the garden is one of the great luxuries of French country living,” Kasha says. This is another design element borne of the countryside lifestyle. Pick your fresh flowers, and proudly display them inside for a decoration that’s effortlessly beautiful and fresh. Plus it’s quite easy to do in any home. Tie the space together with an ornate rug and a colorful, rustic cabinet.
Embrace the Architecture
According to Kasha, “Both natural and painted wood beams work beautifully and add to the informality of a rustic interior. The same is true with old wood floorboards: They provide incredible warmth and give a lovely patina to the room.” Allow the architecture of a space to stand alone by opting for simple pieces of furniture like the chaise and leaning mirror found in this nook. The old wood floorboards add character to the room, but the jute rug provides texture and dimension to the space to keep it cozy and new.
Layer Patterns and Fabrics
“Natural fabrics, such as cotton, linen, and wool, work well in country interiors,” Kasha says. It’s also important to think about the maintenance of these fabrics. She recommends choosing durable materials that don’t require dry cleaning. Less time spent taking care of delicate items will leave you with ample time to enjoy all that country living has to offer. When it comes time to pick a color scheme, Kasha says that any colors can work in a country home, but she tends to choose muted reds, blues, and greens. Complement the colors and fabrics with a modern chair for the perfect mix of traditional and whimsical.