French country decorating ideas for a dining room

Written by j.e. cornett
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French country decorating ideas for a dining room
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

French Country style, influenced by the historic homes of rural France, is a favourite decorating theme in American homes as well. Typified by rustic elements -- such as mismatched furniture, earthenware dishes and bowls, light, soft fabrics and natural accents such as fresh flowers -- French Country style is timeless and enduring. While most small French homes do not feature a dining room, the French Country style nonetheless lends itself well to casual dining room decor.


One of the hallmarks of French Country design is the combination of painted and varnished finishes on furniture, a design element that makes finding furniture for your French Country dining room simple. Combine a varnished table with an assortment of painted chairs in soft bottle green, cream, yellow or black. Ladder-back, keyhole-back or Napoleon chairs give your room a country feel. Cast-iron chairs with ornate designs are also an option with a French flair. Open hutches, armoires or shelving in the dining room allows you to display dinnerware or other china in the style of French decor. Use painted furniture in soft colours or black combined with varnished wood pieces.

Fabrics and Walls

Painting a dining room for a French Country decorating scheme is easy. The two most common colours for French Country walls are cream and soft yellow, the colour of plaster used on rural French walls. The popularity of yellow and cream is undoubtedly due in part to their versatility when it comes to wall and fabric colours. Favourite colour combinations include red and yellow, blue and yellow, cream and blue, cream and red, green and cream, and green and yellow.

The fabrics in your French Country dining room should be light, casual and simple. Light, sheer curtains that allow plenty of daylight are a staple of French Country style. Use simple panels in thin cotton, linen or any soft, natural fabric. Mix solid panels with patterned valances or vice-versa for whimsical, organic style.

If you choose to use a tablecloth, a printed cloth with a plaid, floral, or small ditsy print works best. Cloth napkins should be used as well.


The accessories you choose for your French Country dining room should be simple and unobtrusive. Pottery pieces, such as earthenware jugs, stoneware dinnerware and serving pieces accented with copper vases, urns and other pieces, are good choices for French Country decor.

Fresh flowers and fruit make rustic centrepieces that would be at home in rural France. A bowl filled with apples or a simple vase with a few handpicked flowers makes an ideal table decoration.

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