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Creating Interiors Inspired by French Country Style

Design inspiration can be found almost anywhere, from picturesque walks to periods of history like the Renaissance, or even in the heritage of a particular country such as Scandinavia, Italy, or France.

While some interior schemes subscribe to one quintessential ‘look’, we often blend aspects of design styles to create variation and intrigue. Provençal is one of the styles that we regard most highly, and love to reference in our interiors. Understandably, Provençal design is sometimes thought of as being the aesthetic of the Provence region of France, however, the term is a reference to the word ‘provincial’ and is the original interpretation of French-country style. It does indeed capture the spirit of Provence, but not of Provence alone.

This aesthetic embodies beautiful light, soft colours and textures, all combined to create a feeling of contentment and ease. A classic Provençal palette is one that uses hazy pastels. Easy whites dominate, punctuated with brushstrokes of soft sage, blush and powdered blue. Ceilings are never forgotten and are typically treated in the same dulcet shade as the walls.

But these gallic-inspired interiors are not solely a softly-spoken tale, they are built around rustic elements such as rough-plastered walls and worn wooden floorboards. French-country interiors are superb at opening our eyes to wall alternatives such as rendered and whitewashed finishes, or painting with lime-based distempers in pale yellow ochres, blues or greens. The result resembles that of a watercolour.

Provençal style furniture may come in aged iron, antique and highly polished walnut (the preferred timber for Provençal style), or it may be painted using light or bright colours, and distressed. Often, it is a combination as the result is not supposed to feel too put-together, but rather one that has grown organically and sporadically.

The entire aim of a Provençal interior is to recall the atmosphere of a quiet French province and its relaxed way of living. Most typically, straw-seated chairs, armoires, scallop-edged textiles and crisp white bed linen are seen within a provincial French home.

There are numerous smaller touches associated with Provençal style that are shared with many other aesthetics. Examples include a focus of florals, natural motifs and pleasing, natural fragrances that float from room to room. It is when these elements are combined with the right hues, textures and the materials that a true Provençal interior is achieved.