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Here’s Everything You Need to Know About French Provincial Interiors

Relaxed, refined and totally timeless, the French provincial 'trend' is actually centuries-old, and is characterised by a neutral palette, mixing functional pieces with antiques and its eclectic-yet-edited aesthetic. And here's how you can create that Southern-French-farmhouse vibe in your space now.

So what is French provincial style, exactly?

The French provincial aesthetic, which might feel extremely fresh, was actually born in the 1600s and 1700s. Believe it or not, the trend that oozes timelessness and class originated because people living in manors in country France couldn’t emulate the ornate, luxury decor that the aristocrats in Paris had.

Instead, they settled for interiors that were relaxed and functional but extremely decadent, and the inspiration behind the look stems from the colourings and textures of the Southern France landscape and the rustic farmhouses scattered across the countryside. Lush, we know.

A truly country colour palette

One key hallmark of French provincial style is the neutral colour palette. Inspired by the natural landscape of the French countryside, earthy tones, creams and whites are seen on walls, furniture and accessories creating a light and airy feel. Think creamy curtains, soft wallpaper, neutral cushions and white-washed timber decor.

When rustic meets refined

Another defining trait of the French provincial aesthetic is its mix of materials and textures and its ability to bring both a rustic and refined look together, effortlessly. Post-French Revolution, many valuable antiques and pieces were stolen from aristocrats and later sold at markets, so people were able to add touches of sophistication to their existing, practical decor. Yes, that means a rustic white-washed table exists seamlessly alongside a unique candelabra. And an elaborate stone ornament can effortlessly sit atop a sturdy, weathered buffet. On paper, it might not make much sense but in practice, it’s a look that oozes warmth and elegance. The best part about this mix-n-match approach? The fact that you can slowly build up the French provincial touches in your home without having to opt for an expensive decor overhaul.

Get curvy with decor

Forget straight lines, the French provincial trend embraces curves in their entirety. Think chairs, lounges, buffets and tables with scalloped curves and cabriole legs that add elegance, warmth and not to mention - the brilliant illusion of space to a room.

Look to linen

As the French provincial trend stems from the countryside and natural environment, it probably comes as no surprise that linen is the preferred material when it comes to manchester. Linen production is a source of pride for the French, with pure 100% French flax linen (made from the flax plant) being renowned worldwide as being of the highest quality.

So where can you inject a little of the French provincial linen element into your own home? Think linen buttoned bedheads and linen bedding, where the natural crumples and texture complements weathered timber in the same way camembert complements chilled champagne.

But linen isn’t just a great addition to your bedding set-up due to its look, it’s also a natural temperature regulator, which means it keeps you cool in the warmer months and cosy in the colder months. Plus, it has moisture-wicking properties (farewell pools of sweat), is durable (twice as durable as cotton or wool) and is anti-static and antibacterial. Choose neutral, earthy shades to emulate to the look.

Natural touches are in bloom

A simple and inexpensive way you can add a little of the French provincial trend into your home? Just add fresh flowers. A basket or rustic vase filled with flowers from your local market - or better still, your backyard - will add that homely feel inspired by nature. Go on, then...

Got decorating on the brain? Turn your tiny apartment into a rustic farmhouse with these 13 decorating hacks.

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