French country design window treatments

Written by nina makofsky
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One of the characteristic elements of French country decor is the emphasis on windows, views and natural light. For this reason, many French country interiors eschew heavy drapery in favour of lighter, brighter or more minimalist window treatments. You can give your interior a classic French country look by using vintage French fabrics as curtains.

Lace Curtains

Lace panels give a feminine touch to a French country decor and provide a modicum of privacy while still allowing natural light to stream inside. You can use lace longer or wider than the window itself to emphasise the window. Vintage, antique and handmade lace lends the space old-world charm.

You also can artificially age lace fabric by staining it with black tea: Fill a five-gallon bucket with very hot water. Add 30 bags of black tea and stir until the tea has a chance to steep. Fish out the tea bags with a strainer or slotted spoon. Soak clean lace in the black tea solution for a day and a half. Hang it to dry on a clothesline, but away from strong sunlight.

Toile Curtains

Toile is a trademark fabric of French design, and commonly used on wallpaper, bedding, upholstery and window treatments in French country decor. Toile tends to be thicker than lace or sheer panels; select a white or cream background to keep your interior bright.

You can evoke the French countryside be selecting a traditional toile design featuring animals in silhouette or nature scenes, or add a twist with a modern interpretation of toile, such as a print of an urban scene in chartreuse or periwinkle.

Cafe Curtains

The French bistro predilection for cafe curtains translates well to a French country interior. In general, cafe curtains consist of a simple, unadorned cotton, muslin or sheer fabric in white, cream or a pale hue. Repurposed tea towels or aprons also work well as cafe curtain.

A simple loop in the hem allows you to slide the cafe curtains over a wrought-iron, wooden, brass or copper rod. Otherwise, you can add cotton tabs to the fabric and slide them over the rod. The key to cafe curtains is to hang them halfway down the window frame. This technique leaves the top of the window exposed, affording views of the outside landscape.

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